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The Best Adjustable Dumbbell Comparison Buying Guide: What You Need to Know About Adjustable Dumbbells

So, you want to get a great workout; but can’t afford a fancy gym membership, home gym, or an expensive variation of dumbbells- what do you do? Luckily there are more cost-effective ways to get your exercise without spending a ton of money on exercise equipment. All you really have to do is buy the best adjustable dumbbell, and add weights as you need them.

The fact of the matter is, adjustable dumbbells come as close to providing an all-in-one workout experience as any other piece of equipment. Whether for upper body, lower, or rotational core work, there’s little one can’t do with adjustable dumbbells. The added value to these items is that they take up less space than trying to purchase an entire set of 5s to 100s.  Great for small apartments and full-blown garage gyms alike, read below to get a grip on what the best adjustable dumbbells look like this year.


The Best Adjustable Dumbbell Comparison Buying Guide

Best Overall


Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Rating: 94%

Our Top Five Recommended Adjustable Dumbbells



Weight Range




Best for Beginners Bowflex Select Tech 552 Dumbbell
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

52.5 Pounds


Best Budget Pair of Adjustable Dumbbell Kit - 100 lbs each
One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells Kits – 100 lbs Each

200 Pounds


Best for Home Gym
Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells

50 Pounds


PowerBlock Elite 90 Adjustable Dumbbell
PowerBlock Elite 90 Adjustable 50 to 90-Pounds per Dumbbell Set

50-90 Pounds


Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells

10-90 Pounds


Why an Affordable Adjustable Dumbbell Might Be Just What You Need

They’re incredibly easy to use, and while every model is a little different, they give you dials, knobs, or locking screw options to higher weight increments without having to buy an entirely new dumbbell (like the weight between 25 lbs and 30 lbs).

Adjustable dumbbells are some of the most convenient pieces of workout equipment out there because they maximize your comfort and needs in a way that gives you the option to grow. Plus, they fit spectacularly in practically any room environment (such as your basement, living room, attic, bedroom, or office. You can just fit them into a small corner so they’re not in your way, and get fit while watching some TV in your free time.

What to Look For in Adjustable Dumbbells

When you’re choosing these kinds of dumbbells, you’re going to have a lot of choices. Some of the first things to consider about these types of products are the designs and weight variations. Many brands offer 5 lb increments, and others offer 2.5 lb increments.

You’ll also want to consider the brand. Popular brands like Bowflex, PowerBlock, Iron Master, Performance Fitness, StairMaster and Bayou Fitness are usually the most popular brands on the market, and all have their benefits and perks.

In this review on the Top rated Adjustable Dumbbells You Can Buy, We’re Going to Start With the Most Affordable Options and Work Our Way Down to the Premium Adjustable Dumbbell Models.

Before You Choose the “Top Rated Adjustable Dumbbell”, Consider:

The overall space you have for your adjustable dumbbell set

Compared to professional lifting sets, adjustable dumbbells are miniscule, but they can still be sizable for a small home. It can be tempting to pick a set that’s huge or full of accessories, but you need to be able to store it easily or it’ll get tucked into a storage unit.

Maximum weight

Usually, weight sets max out at 50 or 100 pounds. Think about how strong you’d like to be, not how strong you are right now; otherwise you’ll outgrow your weight set. Most adjustable dumbbells come in 5, 2.5, or 1 pound increments, so you’ll be able to meet your fitness needs, no matter which variety you pick (as long as it’s not too light).

How easy the dumbbells are to adjust

While it sounds pretty obvious to “buy high quality adjustable dumbbells,” it can be harder than you might think. While it’s sometimes smart to cut corners on costs, most of the time you should always choose the ones that are the easiest to use. If you’re on a tight budget, go for the spin lock type (with screws) but remember that you’re spending time putting everything together, and then taking everything apart.

To Stand or Not to Stand?

You probably hadn’t considered how to store your new adjustable dumbbells, but you should! Some varieties use shelving to help keep your new weight set out of the way. Other sets don’t; which can be inconvenient to store (unless you can put them in a basement or on the floor).

Warranties and Guarantees

Probably the biggest consideration that you should make (besides the cost) is whether your adjustable dumbbell purchase comes with a high-quality warranty. Many warranties cover every aspect of a product’s malfunction (including parts, labor, or anything else that could go wrong).

Generally Adjustable Dumbbells come in Three Varieties:

1. Dial a Weight

These types of models generally allow you to select the weight that you want to lift right from the dumbbell. These designs are convenient in that they leave the weights you don’t need in the holster. They’re usually the most expensive style of adjustable dumbbell, however.

2. Spin Lock

Most adjustable dumbbell models use weight plates that are held together with a lok, and you just add the amounts of weight that you want to the dumbbells, then locking the weight in place.This might sound like a lot of work, but that’s why spin lock models are often the most affordable adjustable dumbbells you can buy.

3. Selector Pins

Selector pins let you dial a weight to add or remove plates when you lift, but you have to pick the amount of weight you want. Everything else is left behind in the dumbbell holder. These models are often located right in the middle when deciding on adjustable dumbbell models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much space does one need for adjustable dumbbells?
A: The great thing about adjustable dumbbells is they take up the space of one set.
Q: Can workout apps be used in conjunct with these?
A: Yes, a growing number of app programs include dumbbell routines.
Q: What body parts are best worked with dumbbells?
A: Actually, any body part can be drilled with dumbbells.
Q: Can adjustable dumbbells break?
A: Yes, and users should be careful not to drop them on their ends. The metal discs and buttons which control weight selection can become damaged if banged upon the ground.
Q: Why are adjustable dumbbells so expensive?
A: Because they replace so many actual dumbbells. If you break it down by the poundage they're actually a real deal.
Q: Can you gain muscle with just dumbbells?
A: Absolutely. Just about any barbell movement can be replaced by dumbbells.
Q: Is it good to use dumbbells every day?
A: While dumbbells can be used to work any muscle group, almost all movements will require the hands and forearms. We'd recommend one take care not to over-work those muscles as tendonitis can develop quite easily there.
Q: How do adjustable dumbbells work?
A: Users manually select the desired weight to use from an available range. Weights can be adjusted either by dial or button.

1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Bowflex is well known for having high quality product designs, and this model is no different. The problem is that it’s easily grown out of- making it great for beginners and women who aren’t looking to build a ton of muscle. This is because It only builds up to a weight capacity of around 52.5 pounds.

The Bowflex SelectTech’s claim to fame is that it combines 15 weights into one, giving you a unique dial that lets you change things up on the go. This is better for many who find taking weights on and off all of the time bothersome. Plus, it comes with a complete 2 year warranty on all plates and parts, for a little over $399.

If you’re just starting out, or you’d like to have a dumbbell model that works well for endurance training, the Bowflex model could be just what you need. Because it’s so lightweight, you can use it for hundreds of workouts, no matter how muscular or trained you are in lifting. Because it’s lightweight and ergonomic, you don’t have to worry about hurting yourself or really “bulking up”.

If you’re really new to lifting, you’ll also appreciate Bowflex’s Free SelectTech workout DVD that comes with your purchase. Right now, they’re one of the hottest adjustable dumbbell discounts, selling on Amazon for about half of their suggested retail price.

It’s important to mention that this model wasn’t designed to take a lot of abuse. Rather, it was designed to be used from a squatting or seated position where you sit the weights on the floor. Even if you are in a professional gym, you aren’t supposed to drop the weights on the floor.

The biggest perks of this dumbbell set include:

Some cons to consider include:

  • These aren’t the sturdiest weight set out there, but you would kind of expect it with all of the adjustability.
  • They aren’t really built for people building muscle, just people toning and cutting muscles with endurance routines. Realistically, there are only a few exercises that you’d need 50 pounds or more for (such as lawnmowers or chest presses) UNLESS you were focusing on weight lifting, so it isn’t a major concern.

2. One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells Kits – 100 lbs Each

This particular set of adjustable weights was built specifically for the strongman in you. You’ll feel extraordinarily tough pressing these hunks of metal into the sky. Plus, they’re extremely affordable, $359.79 for the set, and what you’ll find is that it’s the largest amount of weight offered in most models.

While the paint isn’t sturdy as you might expect and some of the higher priced models; it really doesn’t matter for someone who’s looking for a set of weights they could probably use until the day they die.

As you might also expect, this set of dumbbells is pretty cumbersome to use, and you probably won’t be changing it much between sets. That being said, the turning mechanism is solid (even though you should check and make sure that everything is tight before you start another set).

This could save you a ton of money over other, more expensive models, as long as you’re okay without having a bunch of features. Sometimes models have features that are just too good to pass up.

Simply put, you’ll never find a set of adjustable dumbbells this is Affordable as this set. You might want a better model for easier use, and you might even want to buy a smaller lift bar- but you can afford to make these purchases and more, accessorizing this affordable set of adjustable dumbbells to your heart’s content. They’ll still be some of the best weights you can get for the price (but they might not be for everyone).

The Biggest Pros of this model are:

  • The size and weight limit are perfect for people looking for weight lifting sets. It’s unlikely that the average guy would ever grow out of these affordable dumbbells.
  • The design is sturdy and reliable. You don’t have to worry about the bar breaking on you, even if the product is affordable.
  • Free, fast shipping. Most of the people who purchased this product received it in just a few days (although some received several packages instead of just one), and shipping is completely free (through USPS).

Some Negatives about these Adjustable Dumbbells would be:

  • There are a few add-on costs you might not have considered. Some people sprayed the iron down with spray paint to prevent chipping, while others bought shorter bars that were easier for smaller people to use.
  • There’s no rack with this model, so you’ll have to figure out how to store the weights.
  • The locking mechanism gets loose after use. You have to double-check and ensure everything is screwed together tightly.

3. Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells

The Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells offer a durable steel construction and push-button weight selector. With weight ranges from 10 to 50 pounds at 10-pound increments, the dumbbells are offered via the ProForm lineup and match up well with the iFit workout app. For a more detailed look, read our review here.

Colored black, the units measure 20.16″ x 16.93″ x 12.17″ and slide into fitted holders. With a patented quick-lock design, the dumbbells feature premium grips. A relatively new addition to the ProForm lineup, the Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells match well with other equipment and are often used as part of a value combo pricing-wise.

Purchase includes a trial iFit membership as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. Reviews to date suggest the dumbbells are quite well made and easy to use. The fitted holder does a great job at limiting the opportunity to accidents.

Pros of the Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells:

  • Good-looking units and easy to store.
  • Good lock system that doesn’t break easily.
  • Included iFit package.
  • Manufacturer does offer a money-back guarantee.

Cons of Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbells:

  • The weight selection is not as great as rivals.
  • A new product, the unit is a bit pricey relative to peers.
  • A new product, we haven’t seen longevity reports yet.

4. PowerBlock Elite 90 Adjustable 50 to 90-Pounds per Dumbbell Set

PowerBlock Elite created one of the most high quality set of dumbbells that you can find, and they’re available in a wide variety of styles ranging from 2.5 to 50 pounds, expandable up to 70 and 90, with a design that feels great, is very secure, and replaces over 28 pairs of dumbbells. One of the things that really sticks out about this model is the durability, most reviewers said they’re well worth the price because they fill a huge void in any lifter’s arsenal.

Unfortunately, the design is kind of funky with 4 pillars around your hand and wrist. it’s kind of difficult to switch weights when you’re looking for smaller increments, and most users recommended using 10 pound intervals to reduce the time that it takes to change weights. That being said, they’re some of the most well-built dumbbells you will find on the market, and they set the standard that most professionals judge an adjustable weight set by in reviews.

They’re made in America, built to withstand the test of time, and look incredibly high tech when you’re lifting them. If you had these dumbbells in your hand one thing you would notice is house move and effortless the operating mechanism is, and how easily the additional plates are added in to make your job of lifting that much easier. It really doesn’t get much better either, the shape is contorted enough that it’s comfortable to lift, seamless to engage, and highly enjoyable to lift.

One thing that reviewers mentioned was making sure that nobody dropped the package. It was noted that the design is very heavy and everything is shipped together, so when they received it, they thought nothing of damage to the box. When they added the expansions, they realized that the dumbbells were bent out of shape and wouldn’t fit right when they were added. The comment was made that flexible crossbars on this model wouldn’t have bent (so make sure you aren’t regularly dropping them).

Pros of the PowerBlock Set of Adjustable Dumbbells:

Cons of PowerBlock:

  • The heavier model is pretty expensive, topping out at under $600. If you’re serious about lifting, the price might be right for you.
  • Kind of awkward to lift and operate regularly, making other models a little more appealing.
  • Some exercises are kind of difficult with the square-like design (such as skull crushers for your triceps), and you had better make sure the magnetic pins are in place, holding back the weight.

5. Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells

Considered the big brother to the 552s, Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells offer additional weight and options. With a dial’s turn, one can quickly adjust resistance from 10 pounds to 90 pounds of weight. One set of dumbbells now offers the same options as using 17 different sets. Priced at $799, each unit  measures just 17.5 x 10″ x 10″ and it’s easy to see why folks with limited space like them.

Purchase of the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells come with a warranty of three years for parts. An additional 5-year protection plan can be purchased for an additional $69.

Pros of the 1090s

  • They make for a very compact home gym setup.
  • A wide variety of possible exercises (30+) is offered.
  • They replace up to 34 dumbbells.
  • Neither assembly nor maintenance is required.
  • Up to 90 pounds per unit.
  • Great warranty.

Cons of the 1090s

  • A little pricier than their counterparts.
  • The weight dials have been known to break.