HomeBest of 20248 Best Adjustable Dumbbells in 2024: Top Picks for Your Home Gym

8 Best Adjustable Dumbbells in 2024: Top Picks for Your Home Gym

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A set of adjustable dumbbells is one of the most versatile and efficient things you can add to a home gym. They take up considerably less space than traditional fixed dumbbells and are much less expensive.

But not all adjustable dumbbells are built the same, so it’s important to understand the different types and specs.

We’ve tested every type of adjustable dumbbell from some of the biggest names in the industry. We’ve used them for all sorts of exercises, including chest presses, rows, curls, carries, snatches, and more. Here are some of the main factors we considered (more below):

  • Durability: Are the materials built to last? Will they break if you drop them (we tested that).
  • Speed: How quickly can you change the weight? Are they suitable for drop sets?
  • Weight Capacity: How much weight do they offer, and what are the increments between?
  • Size: How long are the dumbbells? Do they restrict your movements at all?

In this article, I’ll share our picks for the best adjustable dumbbells based on real experience. Whether you’re an advanced lifter or just someone looking to stay fit at home, this article has you covered.

What are the Best Adjustable Dumbbells?

We found the NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells to have the best blend of performance, speed, and weight capacity. We loved how quickly you can change the weight and that it goes up to 80 lbs in 5 lb increments. The shape feels like a traditional dumbbell for a balanced experience on every movement.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

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Best for Heavy Lifting: Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells

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Easiest to Use: PowerBlock Dumbbells

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Best Cast Iron: Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

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Best for Beginners: Bowflex SelectTech 552

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Best Loadable Handles: Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbells

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Best Budget: NordicTrack 55lb Select-a-Weight

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Best Ultra-Budget: Yes4All Adjustable Cast Iron Set

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Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall: NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

Best Overall
NÜOBELL
The NÜOBELL is a high-end adjustable dumbbell with a fast handle adjustment and several color options. You can purchase in 50 or 80-lb versions with an optional stand for storage.
Key Specs
  • Weight Range: 5-50 lbs or 5-80 lbs
  • Weight Increments: 5 lbs
  • Replaces: 16 Sets of Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: 15.5″ L x 7.5″ H x 7.5″ W
  • Adjustment Type: Handle Dial
  • Adjustment Speed: 5-10 seconds
  • Warranty: 2 Years with 3 & 5-Year Options

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Summary

The NÜOBELLs are my top pick overall. These adjustable dumbbells have a great, easy-to-use design and come with several solid features, including knurled handles, steel plates, and multiple color schemes.

The most compelling benefit of the NÜOBELLs is how fast you can change weight. These dumbbells use a clever handle dial that you twist left or right to increase or decrease weight. Compared to some dial systems that require you to adjust on each end, you can adjust the NÜOBELLs twice as fast.

Testing the NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

As you twist the handle, a steel rod threads through the corresponding number of plates and offers a satisfying click that ASMR fans will love. You’ll find a call-out window on each handle assembly showing your weight selection, making these virtually foolproof. As if they belong in a GEICO commercial, the NÜOBELLs are so easy a “caveman could do it.”

Another of my favorite features is the straight, knurled handle. Unlike many adjustable dumbbells that use contoured and/or rubber-coated handles, these provide excellent grip.

Using the NUOBELLs

Also unlike many in its class, NÜOBELLs use steel weight plates. Well, mostly steel, anyway. Their smart dovetail design is great for creating tight tolerances, but the plastic connectors open up possible durability concerns. As a rule, you should never drop these dumbbells. Doing so can cause damage and will void your 2-year warranty.

You can buy NÜOBELLs in two variants: 5-50 lbs and 5-80 lbs, each in 5 lb increments. That means you’ll be replacing up to 16 pairs of fixed dumbbells. With prices starting under $600, they’re competitively priced with other high-end adjustable dumbbells.

If you’re looking for the best mix of speed and a traditional dumbbell feeling, these offer the best bang for your buck.

Pros

  • Very fast and easy to use
  • Looks and feels like a traditional dumbbell
  • Straight knurled handle
  • Available in multiple color schemes
  • Steel plates increase durability compared to most dial systems

Cons

  • Plastic connectors aren’t as durable as steel
  • Stand costs extra

Read Our Full NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells Review


Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Heavy Lifting: Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells

Best for Heavy Lifting
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are ultra-durable and ideal for those who want to lift heavy. Their all-steel construction looks and feels like a traditional dumbbell, and you can load them up to 165 lbs.
Key Specs
  • Weight Range: 5-45 lbs or 5-75 lbs with 120 and 165 lb add-ons
  • Weight Increments: 2.5 or 5 lbs
  • Replaces: 24+ Sets of Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: 14.5” L x 6.7” W x 6.7” H
  • Adjustment Type: Plate-Loaded
  • Adjustment Speed: < 45 seconds
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Summary

One of my biggest regrets in my home gym journey is selling my original set of Ironmasters. I first bought them in 2016 but later sold them when I invested in a full set of fixed dumbbells. Although I love my full dumbbell set(s), Ironmasters can easily replace them (and more). I’ve since repurchased them and am a happy owner yet again.

These dumbbells nearly took top honors on this list. The only thing that held me back was their adjustment speed, despite ‘Quick-Lock’ in their name. Since these are plate-loaded, you have to manually add or remove weight plates on both sides. Although they’re still relatively fast, they’re noticeably slower than other mechanisms, making them less than ideal for drop sets and super sets.

Testing the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells

However, what they lack in speed, they make up for in durability. You won’t find a single piece of plastic on Ironmasters. They’re completely constructed with steel, making them the most durable adjustable dumbbells on the market. The end caps thread directly into the handle and lock down will full confidence. Unlike other spin-lock or threaded options, there’s zero concern about these coming loose while training.

While I never recommend dropping dumbbells of any kind, you can with Ironmasters. As an added benefit, the square plates will prevent your dumbbells from rolling. Garage gym owners with sloped floors will definitely appreciate this. Even though square plates are unconventional, these truly feel like traditional dumbbells.

The knurled handle feels great in the hand, but it’s fairly long for an adjustable dumbbell. On certain lifts like chest or shoulder press, the extra length can cause minor balance issues under heavy loads.

Using the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells

Ironmasters are available in 5-45 and 5-75 lb sets. However, they have two expansion sets that can take them to 120 and 165 lbs. Furthermore, they have a heavy handle kit to add 20 lbs to any set. I highly recommend it because it doesn’t add any length to the dumbbell. In addition to also offering 2.5 lb increments as standard, you can purchase 1.25 lb microplates for fine-tuning.

An underrated benefit of Ironmasters is that they also make some of the best adjustable kettlebells, which use the same plates. So, if you like kettlebell training too, you can invest in one ecosystem and get the best of both worlds.

If you don’t mind a slower adjustment speed, there isn’t a more durable, traditional-feeling adjustable dumbbell set on the market than Ironmasters.

Pros

  • Outstanding durability with all-steel construction
  • Feels like a traditional dumbbell
  • Expandable up to 165 lbs
  • Square weight plates prevent rolling
  • Straight knurled handle
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not as quick to adjust as others
  • Longer handle may cause balance issues on certain lifts at heavier loads
  • Stand costs extra

Read Our Full Ironmaster Dumbbells Review


Easiest Adjustable Dumbbells to Use: PowerBlock Dumbbells

Easiest to Use
PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlocks are the easiest adjustable dumbbells to use, thanks to their patented side pin technology. They don't require a special docking station, and their square design prevents rolling.
Key Specs
  • Weight Range: 5-50 lbs with 75 and 90 lb add-ons
  • Weight Increments: 2.5 or 5 lbs
  • Replaces: 20+ Sets of Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: 11.75” L x 6” W x 6” H (Varies Based on Series)
  • Adjustment Type: Side Pin
  • Adjustment Speed: 5-10 seconds
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Check Price at PowerBlock Check Price at Amazon

Summary

PowerBlocks are the most recognizable adjustable dumbbells out there. They’ve been around for decades and have a truly unique shape and design. I’ve owned and used nearly every PowerBlock model, including their Elite, Pro, and Commercial series.

The best feature of PowerBlocks is how quickly they adjust using a patented side loading pin. When you’re ready to change weights, you simply pull the pin out and place it on your desired weight. There’s a powerful magnet that keeps it secure and convenient call-outs or colors for quick weight identification.

Testing the PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells

All-in, you can change the weight in just a few seconds, making them extremely quick. You also don’t have to dock them in a special cradle to make the adjustment, which is why I think they’re the easiest adjustable dumbbells to use.

The rectangular PowerBlock shape is iconic but also unconventional. This dumbbell doesn’t look or feel like a traditional dumbbell at all, so if that’s important to you, I recommend other options. The handle “cage” can be awkward at first and takes some getting used to, but it’s a balanced system overall.

Chest Press with PowerBlocks

PowerBlocks are available in multiple versions with expandable and non-expandable options. I highly recommend expandable options unless you never plan to lift more than the fixed max. Pro, Elite, and Sport EXP (expandable) models can go up to 90 lbs, while the more expensive Commercial series can go up to a whopping 175 lbs. Their weight capacity and small increments are certainly among their biggest benefits.

At numerous price points, there’s something for just about everyone in the PowerBlock lineup. They all come with an impressive 5-year warranty, and they’re generally some of the most durable adjustable dumbbell sets you can buy.

Pros

  • Extremely use to use with fast adjustments
  • Available in several models for different budgets
  • Expandable up to 90 and even 175 lbs
  • One of the most compact designs on the market
  • Very durable with a strong warranty
  • Square plates prevent rolling

Cons

  • Unique boxed design may limit range of motion on certain exercises
  • Some models use contoured, non-steel handles
  • Stand costs extra

Read Our Full PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells Review


Best Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbell Set: Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

Best Cast Iron Set
Snode Adjustable Dumbbells

The Snode AD80s are the most durable quick-change adjustable dumbbells on the market. They're made of cast iron, are easy to use, and come with a great warranty.

Key Specs

  • Weight Range: 10-80 lbs
  • Weight Increments: 10 lbs Standard w/ 2.5 or 5 lb Options
  • Replaces: 8 Sets of Dumbbells standard or 31 Sets with Optional Magnets
  • Dimensions: 18.1″ L x 6.7″ W x 6.7″ H
  • Adjustment Type: Single Dial
  • Adjustment Speed: 5-10 seconds
  • Warranty: 2 Years with 3 & 5-Year Options


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Summary

The Snode AD80 adjustable dumbbells have a similar design to the NÜOBELLs but with more cast iron and some differences in weight increments.

The best thing about the AD80s is their build quality. The dumbbells are made almost entirely of cast iron and include fewer plastic components than other quick-change options. Snode designed these dumbbells to be “drop proof,” and they even include drops in their warranty.

Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

I tested this claim by dropping these dumbbells from 32″ high (max height for warranty) several times at every weight. While I still don’t recommend dropping them regularly, I was impressed with the results. Everything looked and performed exactly as it should, and I’m more confident in these under heavy use than others in this class.

The AD80s range from 10-80 lbs, but one downside is they come with 10 lb increments as standard. This makes them less versatile out of the box compared to NÜOBELLs. However, Snode offers a set of fractional magnet weights to provide 2.5 and 5 lb adjustments. It’s not a perfect solution, but it gets the job done.

Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbell Review - Are they Bomb Proof?

The dial system is easy to operate and takes only a few seconds to adjust. The handle has a 35mm diameter and has a fairly passive knurling. Although I prefer something more aggressive, it’s a nice handle system that contributes to a traditional feel.

If you want an easy-to-change adjustable dumbbell set with great durability, the Snode AD80s are my top recommendation.

Pros

  • Ultra-durable cast iron construction
  • Traditional look and feel
  • Quick & easy adjustment mechanism
  • Straight, knurled handle
  • Compact design
  • Optional magnet add-ons for smaller increments
  • Warranty includes drops (from 32″)

Cons

  • 10 lb standard increments
  • Stand costs extra

Read Our Full Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbell Review


Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Beginners: Bowflex SelectTech 552

Best for Beginners
Bowflex SelectTech 552

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells use a simple dial system and go up to 52.5 lbs. They're well-priced and include a better warranty than most in its class.

Key Specs

  • Weight Range: 5-52.5 lbs
  • Weight Increments: 2.5 or 5 lbs
  • Replaces: 15 Sets of Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: 16.9″ L x 8.3″ W x 9″ H
  • Adjustment Type: End Dial
  • Adjustment Speed: 10-15 seconds
  • Warranty: 2 Years with 3 & 5-Year Options


Check Price at Amazon Check Price at Bowflex

Summary

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is one of, if not, the most-sold adjustable dumbbell set of all time. They have well over 20,000 reviews on Amazon alone, largely due to their affordable price, ease of use, and focus on targeting beginners and casual lifters.

As one of the early adopters, Bowflex gained a lot of traction in the adjustable dumbbell space with its dial system. It’s intuitive and simple to operate, going from 5-52.5 lbs in 2.5 and 5 lb increments. The one downside is you have to adjust the dial on both ends, but it’s still a very fast adjustment.

Testing the Bowflex SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

There’s also the fact that you can load one side of the dumbbell differently from the other. This can cause balance issues if you’re not paying attention, but it’s actually effective if you want to overload a particular point in the strength curve (not as much a consideration for beginners).

As you turn the dial, a metal gear picks the appropriate number of plates. Unlike most dumbbells that select from the inside out, the SelectTechs go from the outside in. This means that no matter what weight you pick, you’ll have the full dumbbell length in your hand.

Using the Bowflex SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

As a beginner and budget-friendly option, you’ll find a lot of plastic, bringing into question its overall durability. As long as you’re not dropping them, there isn’t a lot of concern over them physically breaking, but some reviewers have pointed to the dials jamming over time.

Bowflex offers a 2-year warranty with options to extend to 3 or 5 years. This is better than others in this class, and the overall price is quite good. Again, I recommend these for beginners or casual lifters just looking for a good home workout. Advanced lifters and those looking to lift heavy should consider other options.

Pros

  • Easy-to-operate dial system
  • Affordable price makes it great for beginners
  • 2.5 and 5 lb adjustments allow for good progressions
  • Includes storage trays
  • 2-year warranty is better than most in its class

Cons

  • Not as durable as steel options
  • Length doesn’t change regardless of weight
  • Lower weight capacity than others

Read Our Full Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbell Review


Best Loadable Dumbbell Handles: Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbells

Best Loadable Dumbbell
Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell
The Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell is ideal for those wanting to maximize space and get a barbell-like experience. These dumbbells are durable, inexpensive, and can handle up to 200 lbs.
Key Specs
  • Weight Range: 6.6″ of Sleeve Length
  • Weight Increments: Varies
  • Replaces: Varies
  • Dimensions: 20.5” L (Varies Based on Series)
  • Adjustment Type: Plate-Loaded
  • Adjustment Speed: < 30 seconds
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Summary

Loadable Dumbbells are essentially miniature barbells that you can use for dumbbell movements. They take up little space, provide a traditional feel, and can be loaded heavy. The Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell is the one I recommend because of its price and performance.

Think of a loadable dumbbell as an Olympic barbell with a shorter shaft and sleeves. Everything else remains the same, which strength training purists will love.

Testing the Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell

This Bells of Steel dumbbell has a 28mm shaft, which is consistent with others in the class and comfortable for most users. The knurling is grippy but not aggressive due to its volcano knurl pattern. The black zinc coating doesn’t feel as good as stainless or bare steel, but it looks nice and does a reasonable job of preventing oxidation. It’s also very cost-efficient.

The sleeves measure 6.6″ long, giving you plenty of space to load plates. The Bells of Steel Dumbbell can handle up to 200 lbs, depending on the type of plates you’re using. There are two things to keep in mind with loadable handles like this. The first is that they only accept Olympic weight plates (2″ center). The second is that plates don’t come with the handles, so you’ll need some on hand to use them.

Using the Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell

True to its barbell roots, another nice feature of loadable dumbbell handles is that they have rotating sleeves. While not helpful for all movements, it’s nice to have for dynamic exercises like dumbbell snatches. You’ll also want to make sure you have high-quality barbell collars to secure your plates.

If you want maximum space savings and don’t mind a longer setup time, loadable dumbbells are a great choice. The Bells of Steel version is less than $150 for a pair and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Feels more like a traditional dumbbell
  • 28mm shaft diameter with good knurling
  • Spinning sleeves are great for dynamic movements
  • Most compact option available
  • 6.6″ sleeves and 200 lb weight capacity
  • Outstanding price with free shipping

Cons

  • Weights not included
  • Requires external collars to secure plates
  • Slower to operate

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells: NordicTrack 55 lb Select-a-Weight

Best Budget
NordicTrack 55 lb Select-a-Weight Dumbbells

The NordicTrack Select-a-Weight Adjustable Dumbbells are affordable, easy to use, and loadable up to 55 lbs in 2.5 or 5 lb increments.

Key Specs

  • Weight Range: 5-55 lbs
  • Weight Increments: 2.5 or 5 lbs
  • Replaces: 15 Sets of Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: 19.4” L x 11.4” W x 8.5” H
  • Adjustment Type: Slide Tab
  • Adjustment Speed: 10-15 seconds
  • Warranty: 90 Days


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Summary

The NordicTrack Select-a-Weight system is another easy-to-use adjustable dumbbell set at a great price. It has a few notable features that aren’t typical at this price point, making it one of the best budget-friendly sets you can buy.

One of my favorite things about this system is that it includes a straight knurled handle. Although the knurling isn’t as refined as higher-end models, the grip is better than the rubber-grip handles you’ll generally find in this class. I also much prefer the straight design vs. contoured.

Testing the NordicTrack Select-a-Weight Adjustable Dumbbells

In terms of adjustments, the NordicTrack Select-a-Weight uses a sliding tab on the top of the dumbbells. When you’re ready to change the weight, pull the orange tab up and slide it to the desired weight. While it’s not as fun to use as the “clicky” dial on others, it’s fast and very simple to operate.

Another feature I love is that it offers 2.5 and 5 lb increments. However, this requires an extra step, making them slightly longer to set up than Bowflex and others. The primary outer tabs adjust the large weight plates, which offer 10 lb increments. The inner tabs, which work similarly, allow for the smaller adjustments. Overall, the Select-a-Weight system replaces 15 pairs of dumbbells and goes up to 55 lbs.

Using the NordicTrack Select-a-Weight Dumbbells

I generally like the traditional look and feel of these adjustable dumbbells, but they’re among the longest you’ll find. Depending on how you’ll use them, this can limit range of motion on lifts like presses. However, unlike Bowflex, they don’t have a fixed length, which is a big benefit.

Like others in this class, there is quite a bit of plastic on these, so long-term durability is something to consider. You definitely never want to drop these. I’m also not overly impressed with their 90-day warranty. Still, for the money, these are a solid set for budget shoppers and beginners.

Pros

  • Excellent price for budget shoppers
  • Straight knurled handle
  • Fast adjustments with 2.5 and 5 lb increments
  • Includes storage tray
  • Fast tab-style adjustments

Cons

  • Not as durable as higher-end options
  • Longer design may limit range of motion
  • 90-day warranty is lower than most

Best Ultra-Budget Adjustable Dumbbell Set: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

Best Ultra-Budget
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

The Yes4All adjustable dumbbells use standard weight plates and can hold up to 200 lbs. The set includes the weights and offers an optional adapter to convert the dumbbells into a barbell.

Key Specs

  • Weight Range: 4-200 lbs
  • Weight Increments: Varies
  • Replaces: Varies
  • Dimensions: 14” L x 1” H
  • Adjustment Type: Plate-Loaded
  • Adjustment Speed: < 45 seconds
  • Warranty: 1 Year


CHECK PRICE

Summary

Weird name aside, the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells are a solid option for those looking for a basic cast iron set. These work similarly to loadable dumbbells like the Bells of Steel ones above but with some key differences.

The first is that these dumbbells use standard weight plates instead of Olympic plates. Standard plates have a 1″ hole opening (vs. 2″) and are more affordable. The nice thing about the Yes4All dumbbells is that they have numerous pre-built sets, which include all the plates you need.

Testing the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

These dumbbells are capable of holding up to 200 lbs, which is uncommon for most standard handles in this class. Also unlike Olympic handles, these come with a threaded spin-lock design and include the necessary collars. However, spin locks are more prone to loosening, which may require adjustments between sets.

Using the Yes4All Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbells

Another unique feature of these particular dumbbells is that they offer an optional adapter that can convert your dumbbells into a barbell. This is an affordable and space-friendly way to increase your training variety. Now, you shouldn’t expect Olympic barbell performance, but it’s a nice feature for beginners and casual lifters.

Price-wise, these are some of the most economical adjustable dumbbells you can buy. You can save even more money if you already own standard plates.

Pros

  • Available up to a staggering 200 lbs
  • Includes cast iron plates
  • Optional adapter converts dumbbells into a barbell
  • Durable steel construction
  • Straight knurled handle
  • Very affordable for budget shoppers

Cons

  • Spin locks can loosen more easily
  • Not comfortable when resting on legs
  • Length doesn’t change regardless of weight

Compare our Top Picks

Compare our selection of the best adjustable dumbbells below based on key specs. Scroll right to see more.

NÜOBELL
NUOBELL Dumbbells Table
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Ironmaster
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells Table Image
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PowerBlock
PowerBlock Dumbbells Table Image
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Snode AD80
Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells Table Image
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Bowflex
Bowflex SelecTech 552 Dumbbells Table Image
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Bells of Steel
Bells of Steel Loadable Dumbbell Table Image
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NordicTrack
NordicTrack Select-a-Weight Dumbbells Table Image
See More
Yes4All
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells Table Image
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AwardBest OverallBest for Heavy LiftsEasiest to UseBest Cast Iron SetBest for BeginnersBest Loadable HandleBest BudgetBest Ultra Budget
Dimensions15.5″ L x 7.5″ H x 7.5″ W14.5” L x 6.7” W x 6.7” H11.75” L x 6” W x 6” H18.1″ L x 6.7″ H x 6.7″ H16.9″ L x 8.3″ W x 9″ H20.5″ L19.4” L x 11.4” W x 8.5” H14” L x 1” H
Max Weight80 lbs165 lbs90 lbs80 lbs52.5 lbs13.2 lbs55 lbs4 lbs
Weight Increments5 lbs2.5 or 5 lbs2.5 or 5 lbs10 or 2.5 or 5 lbs2.5 or 5 lbsAny Olympic Plate2.5 or 5 lbsAny Standard Plate
Adjustment TypeHandle DialPlate-LoadedSide PinSingle DialEnd DialPlate-LoadedSlide TabPlate-Loaded
Weight MaterialSteel & PlasticSteelSteel or UrethaneIron & AlluminumSteel & ABSSteelSteel & PlasticSteel
Warranty2 Years + ExtendedLifetime5 Years2 Years + Extended2 Years + ExtendedLifetime90 Days1 Year

Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

They’re Affordable

Adjustable dumbbells are much less expensive than traditional fixed dumbbells, making them an excellent choice for home gym owners. Where a full set of basic fixed dumbbells from 5-50 lbs can cost over $1,000, a 5-50 lb adjustable dumbbell set can cost less than $500. The cost savings are much greater if you buy heavier and/or nicer fixed dumbbells.

They Take Up Less Space

In addition to costing less, adjustable dumbbells take up considerably less space than fixed dumbbells. With storage, a 5-50 lbs fixed dumbbell set will have an approximate footprint of 48″ L x 24″ D x 35″ H (or more). On the other hand, a 5-50 lb set of adjustable dumbbells will only take up approximately 15″ L x 14″ W x 7″ H. Even with an adjustable dumbbell rack, you’ll save a lot of space, making them an ideal option for home gyms and small rooms.

They’re Easy to Use

Although nothing can beat the convenience of fixed dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells are still easy to use. Depending on the adjustment mechanism, you can change weights in seconds, making it easy to perform super sets, drop sets, etc.

Further reading: Adjustable Dumbbells vs. fixed


Types of Adjustable Dumbbells

Types-of-Adjustable-Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells, perhaps more than any other piece of gym equipment, are all about tradeoffs. They typically fall into one of three buckets:

  1. Quick changes at the expense of traditional feel
  2. Traditional feel at the expense of quick changes
  3. Both at the expense of durability

I’ve summarized the most common types of adjustable dumbbells below to give you a better sense of what to expect.

Weight Dials

Example: NÜOBELL | Ease of Use: Excellent | Speed: Excellent | Durability: Good | Weight Capacity: Good | Price: Good

Weight dials were popularized by Bowflex and have become one of the most common mechanisms on adjustable dumbbells. Some will have individual dials on both ends of the dumbbells (e.g. Bowflex), while others will have a single dial in the handle system (e.g. NÜOBELL). I find the handle dial is faster to use, but both are user-friendly and quick.

Dial systems can range in price from very affordable to expensive. Budget options typically include a lot of plastic components, making them less durable than the pricier steel versions. Most dial dumbbells max out at 80 lbs, giving them less capacity than others with varying increments from 2.5-10 lbs.

Plate-Loaded

Example: Ironmaster | Ease of Use: Good | Speed: Fair | Durability: Excellent | Weight Capacity: Excellent | Price: Good-to-Excellent

Plate-loaded dumbbells are the most traditional adjustable you’ll find. They can range from ultra-affordable spin-locks with standard plates to high-end, versatile options like Ironmasters.

One of the biggest benefits of this style is that they’re generally the most durable because of their steel construction. For example, loadable handles are mini barbells with high-quality construction. They also allow for the most loadable weight of any adjustable dumbbell – up to 200 lbs in some cases.

On the downside, they’re the slowest to use since you have to load each side with individual plates. They also may require separate collars, which could be an added expense.

Weight Pins, Tabs, & Slides

Example: PowerBlock | Ease of Use: Excellent | Speed: Excellent | Durability: Great | Weight Capacity: Great | Price: Good

While less common, these types of adjustable dumbbells blend speed and performance. PowerBlocks are the most recognizable in this class, using a unique side pin mechanism. Others include NordicTrack Select-a-Weight and Pepin Fast Series Dumbbells.

This style has the widest price range, from budget-friendly to well over $1,000 (in select cases). As such, durability can fluctuate, although they’re generally some of the strongest out there. They’re also among the easiest to use and are great for drop sets and super sets.

With weights hitting and sometimes exceeding 90 lbs, they’re plenty heavy for most users.


How to Pick Adjustable Dumbbells

Ranking the Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when buying an adjustable dumbbell set:

Maximum Weight

It’s important to consider how much weight you’ll need now and in the future. Hopefully, as your training progresses, so too will the amount of weight you can lift. In other words, if you can lift 50 lbs today, you should look at dumbbells with a maximum weight of more than 50 lbs.

Most adjustable dumbbells go up to around 50 lbs, but some will go heavier. In addition to the max stated weight, look to see if there are expansion sets or add-ons. Ironmasters and PowerBlocks are two examples of adjustable dumbbells that can grow with you.

Weight Increments

While maximum weight is important, you should also consider the weight increments. Ideally, you’ll find a set with 2.5 or 5 lb increments so you can fine-tune your weight. I’ve only selected dumbbells with maximum plate jumps of 5 lbs for this list.

The reason this is so important is because it opens up more exercises and allows you to influence your intensity more easily. Take the front dumbbell raise, for example. Let’s say you can perform 10 reps at 10 lbs and are ready to move up. A 10 lb plate jump is likely too big, so you’ll have to perform fewer reps at 20 lbs or more reps at 10 lbs. With smaller jumps, you can manage your effort more efficiently and see better results.

Adjustment Mechanism

Adjustable Dumbbells have various mechanisms to change the weight. The most common include dials, pins, and good ole threaded ends. The most important considerations with the adjustment mechanism are speed, feel, and durability.

Further reading: How do Adjustable Dumbbells Work?

Size

Although all adjustable dumbbells are space-friendly, especially compared to fixed dumbbells, some are larger than others. It’s important to consider the overall size because it can impact balance and range of motion. For example, fully-loaded 165 lb Ironmasters are great for dumbbell rows, but using them for chest press (not that many will) is unwieldy.

Make sure to compare apples to apples when researching dumbbell dimensions. For example, how long is the 5-50 lb NÜOBELL compared to the 5-50 lb PowerBlock Elite?

Materials

Most adjustable dumbbells are made with materials that include steel, plastic, rubber, urethane, and/or nylon. As you may expect, higher-quality materials result in better long-term performance. In my experience, the more steel, the better.

Handle Type

Adjustable dumbbells can come with different handles, including steel, rubber-coated, straight, contoured, etc. Knurled steel provides the best grip and is typically found on higher-end models. They also feel most like a traditional dumbbell. Contoured handles claim to be more ergonomic, but many users find them awkward and even uncomfortable.

Durability

Not all adjustable dumbbells are built to the same durability standard. Some, like the Ironmasters, are capable of handling virtually anything you can throw at them. Others with plastic components, like Bowflex, are more prone to breaking or degrading over time.

While I don’t recommend anyone drop adjustable dumbbells, ask yourself how you plan to use yours. If you’re a heavy lifter, focus on high-quality dumbbells with mostly steel construction. If you’re lifting more casually or are just starting out, it’s safe to pick something less likely to survive an earthquake.

Warranty

Warranties are typically commensurate with durability. Dumbbells made mostly with steel are more durable and generally have longer warranties. Most high-quality adjustable dumbbells have warranties of at least two years. Handled with care and used properly (e.g., no dropping), they should well exceed that. However, some companies also offer warranty extensions of up to five years.

Additionally, consider reputable companies with strong track records and positive user experiences. Don’t worry, all on this list passed the test.

Price

A high-quality adjustable dumbbell set can cost up to $800, but depending on the brand, expansion sets, etc., they can exceed $1,000. While this is significantly less expensive than fixed dumbbells, it’s still an investment. On the other hand, you can find good adjustable dumbbells for $300+ and loadable handles for less than $100.

If you’re a serious lifter, I recommend investing in a quality set that will last and perform for years.

Further Reading: Dumbbell Price Comparison


Honorable Mentions

  • Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells – I’ve reviewed Pepin Dumbbells and like them overall. They’re similar to Ironmasters in that they’re loadable, durable, and greatly expandable. They didn’t make the main list because the end caps can loosen more easily than Ironmasters, and they’re more expensive. However, they’re a great option if you live in Canada.
  • Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells – The Core Fitness Dumbbells also use a handle dial system similar to NÜOBELLs. They’re a nice budget option, but they didn’t make the top list due to their 50 lb capacity and soft, contoured grip. They’re also not as well made as NÜOBELLs, making them less durable in the long run.
  • AtivaFit Adjustable Dumbbells – The AtivaFit Adjustable Dumbbells were designed to compete with the Bowflex 552. In some ways, I like them more – they have a higher weight capacity and steel plates. However, their weight range is odd up to 66 lbs. These are a solid budget choice if you want heavier weight, but the larger increments kept them off the list.
  • Rogue DB-15 – The DB-15s from Rogue could easily make the list. They’re excellent loadable handles with the same build quality as the popular Rogue Ohio Bar. They offer plenty of weight capacity and come in two finishes, including stainless steel. However, they didn’t make the list because they’re twice as expensive as Bells of Steel before shipping.
  • Gungnir Dumblers – Another amazing product, the Gungnir Dumblers, are by far the most premium loadable dumbbells. Their sleeves include a patented SlideLock, eliminating the need for external collars. With a stainless steel shaft, electroless nickel sleeves, and incredible machining, they’re simply outstanding. But at nearly $550 for a pair, they’re out of the price range for most.
  • Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells – The Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells also use a handle dial design and are very affordable. They go up to 55 lbs but with inconvenient 11 lb increments. Although the price and compact design are nice, the limited weight options kept them off the list.
  • Kensui AdjustaBELL – The Kensui AdjustaBELLs are ultra-budget versions of the Pepin Dumbbells. Seriously, these are crazy inexpensive. They have some nice features, including the ability to use standard and Olympic plates, but they’re made of hard nylon. In addition to a lower weight capacity, their durability is far less. I recommend these for casual lifters on a tight budget.

FAQs About Adjustable Dumbbells

  • How do Adjustable Dumbbells Compare to Fixed Dumbbells?

    While fixed dumbbells are extremely convenient and great for all exercises, adjustable dumbbells have two key advantages. First, they're significantly less expensive, making them a great option for all budget levels. Second, they take up much less space in your gym. That said, fixed dumbbells are more durable and easier to use. In my opinion, an adjustable dumbbell set is the best option for most home gym owners because of the cost and space savings.

  • Can I Perform the Same Exercises with Adjustable Dumbbells as I can with Fixed Dumbbells?

    Yes, adjustable dumbbells are versatile and can be used for virtually all the same exercises as fixed dumbbells. However, some larger or oddly shaped models may not be suitable for certain exercises since they can limit range of motion.

  • Are Adjustable Dumbbells Safe to Use?

    When used correctly, adjustable dumbbells are very safe. Always ensure your plates are securely fastened before lifting and avoid dropping them.

Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.

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