We all have different fitness journeys. Some start off doing circuit workouts at home, like those that are easily accessible on the internet, and gradually learn to love going to the gym and see a trainer. When I was starting out on my fitness journey, I was definitely one of those people! My family used to have a set of adjustable dumbbells and a treadmill.
That was enough to tire me out at my fitness level then.
This was especially helpful when I couldn’t afford a gym membership at all. I moved out of my family home and took those dumbbells with me, hoping it would be enough and I wouldn’t have to go to a gym.
Turns out, those dumbbells were an investment as it lasted me very long until I finally got a gym membership.
Sometimes, you just have no time to go to the gym. The hassle of the commute just makes you less and less motivated to go the more that you think about it. You lose your time and energy especially after a long day of work, and by the time you’re home, you have no time left to do anything but sleep.
A home gym might help you get the convenience that you need to motivate yourself. Arguably one of the essentials is having a set of dumbbells. If you need to save some space and can’t afford the long rack of dumbbells that a gym has, adjustable dumbbells are a great alternative. No more excuses; you have all you need in the comfort of your own home!
If you’re looking to invest in adjustable dumbbells to avoid the monthly cost of a gym membership just like I did, I compiled the best adjustable dumbbells that might be helpful to you.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells For Home Gym Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Bowflex SelectTech 552||Bowflex||Check Price on Amazon|
|PowerBlock Elite Series||PowerBlock||Check Price on Amazon|
|NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Speed Weights||NordicTrack||Check Price on Amazon|
|Merax Deluxe||Merax||Check Price on Amazon|
|Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells||Bayou Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Bowflex SelectTech 552
Don’t want the hassle of adding and removing plates on every exercise? Bowflex decides you won’t have to do this anymore with what I personally think is a really cool and new system. The most prominent feature of SelectTech 552 is that to change weights, all you have to do is turn the dial on the sides of the dumbbell.
Another cool thing about this, especially for beginners, is how little the increments are. For the first 25 pounds, you can go up by as little as 2.5 pounds, and beyond that will be 5-pound increments.
If you have only just begun using dumbbells or you’ve escalated to higher weights, you know those awkward stages of only having weights that are too heavy for your strength level or too light to give you any kind of challenge.
These dumbbells range from 5 to 52.5 pounds. You might also find that the grips are comfortable, especially with the rubber grips. You also get a two-year warranty on weight plates and parts. Definitely something to expect for the price!
They are definitely not the cheapest dumbbells out there, which is kind of a bummer, especially if you’re trying to cut costs by not going to a gym. Because of its design, too, some users have complained about how long the bar is. It sometimes gets in the way of some workouts, and you would have to adjust so that you won’t be banging the dumbbells together.
What have others said about these adjustable dumbbells?
“I loooove these dumbbells. I can easily move these dumbbells around the house if I decide I want to move from the garage to the TV room. Perfect for someone like me who wants to catch up on so many tv shows!” Adrian O
#2 - PowerBlock Elite Series
You might already be far in the game of weightlifting and you want heavier plates. You might also just want to have the option of getting heavier weights in the future and you want to invest in something that will last you for longer. The PowerBlock Elites offer that option for you.
You can avail of their expandable type of dumbbell set, which is able to give you more weights when you need it. When you buy their expansion weight kits, you’ll get 20 more pounds, which you can avail of twice.
So you are able to have a set of dumbbells that weigh 70 or 90 pounds. Definitely a great option for those who don’t want to change dumbbell sets in the future.
Without those expansion weight kits, the PowerBlock Elites go up to 50 pounds. You select the weights you want by using the selector pin that you move while the dumbbells are standing in their holders. This makes for a convenient switching, though not the most convenient way.
You can only get 10-pound increments this way, though. Selector pins are also known to get loose over time. In order to get 2.5-pound increments, you simply switch the handle to open so that the adder weights inside the lower tubes release.
This is also great at storage because of how minimalist and small it is. The handles are straight and are padded for extra grip. Users have also raved about how durable these dumbbells are. Overall, you won’t go wrong with these, but you are definitely going to have to take your wallet out.
What have others said about these adjustable dumbbells?
“These are a great addition to my home gym, and they’re not that bulky too. Super quick weight changes! Definitely recommended to my friends.” Paul E
#3 - NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Speed Weights
NordicTrack definitely takes another path in adjusting the amount of weight that you want. Just like the PowerBlock Elite, it has a selector pin that you have to lift then slide to the weight you want then release. It snaps back to lock in whatever weight you need.
Although this isn’t the most intuitive and some users have issues in not having the plates locked, a bit of adjustment such as fixing the pin in more securely might help. The plates might fall off if you don’t keep this in mind. To address that, NordicTrack says they would be glad to replace any faulty plates.
The shape of the plates is also unique! Because of its octagon shape, you won’t have to worry about hitting any corner, unlike square-shaped plates. It also won’t roll away when you put it down which happens with circular plates. This is something that annoys me a lot, so I really like this feature a lot!
The metal weight plates are actually covered in plastic. These are, of course, going to be durable, but you might find that you miss the satisfying clinks of metal. On the other hand, you might even like this better because of how much easier it is to change weights without having to worry about the loud noises metal makes when it hits the ground.
This dumbbell set goes up to 55 pounds, and you can go up in increments of 2.5 pounds and 5 pounds, depending on what you want. You simply push and rotate a button to adjust that weight for you. Overall, this would be a good choice for those who use lower weights and would like a more compact dumbbell set.
#4 - Merax Deluxe
Already a heavy lifter? The Merax Deluxe seems to be the best option for you. It doesn’t bother with the usual 5-pound beginner weight and goes straight to 11 pounds as its minimum weight. In fact, the weight range is from 11 to 71.5 pounds per dumbbell. Much higher than any of the other dumbbell (starter) sets listed here.
Say hello to the dial system again! The Merax Deluxe has this feature with increments of 5.5 lbs. I believe this is because some other dial-type adjustable dumbbells require you to adjust both sides of the dumbbell to get an even weight.
In this dumbbell set though, you can adjust either side and get an even weight. You need to adjust only one side, which makes it a much quicker process.
Because of the dial system, you might be bothered by the length of the handles. Because it is 16.4 inches at every weight setting, it might get in the way of some exercises.
You can also buy a metallic stand in addition to the dumbbells if you want! Because these dumbbells are made of steel, you can expect them to be durable. You might want to be careful with dropping them, though, as the mechanism may break.
This is the case among other adjustable dumbbells except those where you simply slide the plates manually. This is more of a warning though, so you don’t have to worry too much.
For a better grip, the Merax Deluxe has rubber handles. They have also made it convex. The style is also something to be talked about. Personally, these seem to have the sleekest design among those on the list.
The weights shown are also in kilograms, so just print out a conversion chart if you want!
#5 - Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells
The Bayou Fitness dumbbell set makes use of the pin mechanism. A metal locking pin can be slid along the weights until you reach your desired weight. The weight ranges from 10 to 50 pounds, with a weight increment of 10 pounds.
If you’ve been using dumbbells for a long time, you know that 10 pounds are a big jump! You might be able to go around this problem by only adjusting one side. That’ll make for an uneven weight, though. It really is more ideal to have an option for smaller increments. If you buy the 25-pound set, though, which ranges from 5 to 25 pounds, you’ll find it in 5-pound increments.
You might also be bothered by the handles of the dumbbells. Just like other dumbbell sets, the handles seem too awkwardly long especially when you have lighter weights on. This makes it seem more flimsy and less stable than you might prefer.
You might like the construction of these dumbbells, though, as it is made of chromed steel plates. This will make for a durable set. You’ll also find less plastic, which makes it feel like a more standard dumbbell set. I don’t know about you, but I find that it motivates me more to feel the metal in my hands! It makes me feel stronger, though that comes down to personal preference.
You might also love how compact this is, saving space for other equipment you might need in your home gym. If you’re working out in the small space of your garage, you may very well like this set.
My Number One Pick
What Should I Look For In Adjustable Dumbbell Sets?
Not all adjustable dumbbells will cater to your needs! Of course, you want to figure out first your preference. Keep in mind how much you already lift or if you’re just starting out.
Adjustment mechanisms are how the dumbbell set adjusts and changes the weights. Usually, you will find that the adjustment mechanisms only happen on the storage tray that the dumbbell sets come with. This is also for your safety, so this isn’t much of an issue.
Different adjustment mechanisms are safer. What you’d prefer, though, are easy and quick weight changes, so these mechanisms are definitely crucial to your dumbbell workout experience.
- Manual Adjustments
Some adjustment dumbbells come with plates that you have to manually slide into the handle and keep in place with a lock. This is definitely the slowest mechanism of the 3 I’ll talk about. This might be a bother, especially if you have high intensity and quick workouts that need quick transitions too. The good thing about these separate plates is that they can come in lower increments. You have the option of increasing your weights however you want.
- Locking Pin
The locking pin mechanism is common in adjustable dumbbells. Usually, all you have to do is slide in a pin that will secure the weights that you need and leave on the storage tray that you don’t. This is probably the quickest way to change weights, although it still depends on the brand. You might find online that some brands do not implement this pin mechanism well. The plates might come off because it isn’t secure on its own. Users have to make sure they are locked in well.
- Weight Dial
The weight dial is also common in adjustable dumbbells. You simply have to turn the dial to the amount of weight you desire.
Some brands have their adjustable dumbbells in such a way that you have to adjust both ends of the dumbbell. Although this is slower, this also gives you the option of having smaller increments by adjusting only one side, though this will give you an uneven weight. Other brands have dials on both ends but you need to only adjust one end.
Assess first: are you a beginner? Or are you craving heavier weights? Adjustable dumbbells are usually designed for beginners as they start at lower weights (5 pounds). The maximum weights are not that high too (50 pounds), especially if you’re one that is used to heavier weights.
Other brands will give you the option to increase weights as you get stronger. The manual adjustment mechanism is also great in this regard because you can just buy lighter or heavier plates to match your strength level. The other mechanisms will fail there and usually have limited weight ranges.
Some adjustable dumbbells are bulkier than others. Some may come with stands that might be helpful for you. I personally don’t like bending over much to put down my dumbbells, so I find a higher surface. Stands may help with that.
People can agree that it is definitely an upgrade to the rack of fixed dumbbells that most gyms have. If you travel a lot and want a gym on the go, adjustable dumbbells are great for you.
Some brands do a worse job than others in adjusting the length of the handle with the weight that it carries. You definitely don’t want a longer handle for lighter weights. It’ll make it harder to grip.
Speaking of grip, other brands also increase how well you can grip the handle by adding rubber to it. They also can change from the straight handle to the convex handle, which molds to the shape of your hand. It really all depends on your preference. Some users will complain about a certain way the handle is made while others praise it greatly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adjustable Dumbbells
Q: Is there a difference in adjustable dumbbells and regular (or fixed) dumbbells?
A: You won’t really see a difference in the functionality other than how you can easily adjust the weights. Both types of dumbbells will work great! Adjustable dumbbells just try to keep things more compact for home gyms.
Q: I’ve been lifting for a long time, will having this still help me?
A: Of course. If anything, it might be even more useful to keep you in check. You’d have no excuses as you have your own gym at home. You just have to find adjustable dumbbells with a greater weight range.
Q: Why shouldn’t I just go to the gym? Wouldn’t that cost less?
A: The prices you’ll see in most adjustable dumbbells are really surprising, but you’ll get what you pay for. Adjustable dumbbells are usually very durable, so investing in these will give you a mini-home gym for longer. Some users have even had theirs for a decade! Of course, going to a gym is definitely ideal, but if you want to save, you’ll find that dumbbells will be a better option.
When it comes to adjustable dumbbells, you’ll definitely whip out some money, but you might find that this will be a good replacement to going to the gym. The convenience of a home gym cannot be bought.
Dumbbells are just one of the gym essentials you may need. You can protect your hands by wearing gloves or the same goes for your feet by having the right workout shoes. If you’re starting to pump out a lot more heavier weights, check out the review that I’ve done on weightlifting belts.
Investing in these must be given some thought, though. Definitely do your research and check reviews online. If you have stores near you, go and try them out. It’ll all depend on your personal preferences, your fitness levels, and the types of workouts you usually do. In the end, you’ll be happy to see how much stronger you’ve gotten.
I hope your chosen set of adjustable dumbbells will help you out. If you have your own suggestion, let us know below! We’re all in it together to spread information on bettering ourselves everyday!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.