The NÜOBELL Adjustable dumbbells offer excellent adjustment speed and a traditional look and feel. They’re available up to 80 lbs in 5 lb increments and take up virtually no space in the gym. They’re also available in multiple colors with an optional stand for storage.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
When the NÜOBELL Dumbbells hit the scene in 2020, they garnered instant attention for their functionality and speed.
I’ve always maintained that adjustable dumbbells are a product of tradeoffs:
- You can get quick changes, but often at the expense of a traditional dumbbell feel.
- You can get a traditional feel, but often at the expense of speed.
- You can get both, but often at the expense of durability.
The SMRTFT NÜOBELLs offer excellent speed and the traditional look and feel, but how does their durability stack up?
In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the NÜOBELLs. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare them to other popular options, including PowerBlocks and Ironmasters.
Let’s dig in.
NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells
I’ve owned and used the NÜOBELLs since they were first released.
In my opinion, they’re some of the best home gym dumbbells you can buy.
I love their design, look, and overall performance. They’re fast, easy to use, and take up practically no footprint.
However, they have some plastic components that simply aren’t as durable as steel.
In testing these alongside numerous others, there are some legitimate concerns, but unlike less expensive options with predominantly plastic construction, these are noticeably higher quality.
Let’s take a look at the specs and then get into the review.
- Materials: Steel and Plastic
- Starting Weight: 5 lbs
- Max Weight: 50 or 80 lbs
- Weight Increments: 5 lbs
- Handle Diameter: 32mm
- Dimensions: 15.5″ OR 17″ L x 7.5″ H x 7.5″ W
- Colors: Black, Tactical Green, or Ash Gray
- Warranty: 2 years (options to increase to 3 and 5)
The NÜOBELL design is appealing compared to most adjustable dumbbells because it looks and feels like the traditional dumbbells you’ve probably used. Dimensionally, these are 15.5″ long x 7.5″ wide x 7.5″ high. A typical 80 lb rubber hex dumbbell is around 16″ long and 8″ wide/high.
The design is ideal for home gym owners, and especially those who value speed and a true dumbbell feel.
In the following sections, I’ll cover each feature in detail.
The most notable quality of the NÜOBELL plates is that they’re mostly made of steel. Most adjustable dumbbells, especially in this style, use plastic plates that are more prone to breaking. The NÜOBELL plates are well-machined, consistent, and bring an old-school vibe to newer tech.
However, they aren’t without durability concerns of their own because of the plastic connectors. Each plate has dovetail connectors that join adjacent plates. I’m impressed with the mechanism and how well they fit, but hard plastic in impact areas can pose issues.
With round dumbbells, one thing to consider is how much they roll. The last thing you want to do is chase around a rolling dumbbell between sets, especially in a garage where you may have a sloped floor. One benefit of these connectors is that the bottom has a ~2″ flat edge that limits roll and brings them to a stop.
Lastly, these plates have a smooth face, making them much more comfortable than most adjustable dumbbells. Compared to Bowflex SelectTech 552s, Core Fitness Dumbbells, and even Ironmasters, NÜOBELLs feel better on the legs when resting or prepping for a lift.
Handle and Knurling
One of my favorite features of the NÜOBELLs is the handle. As someone who loves barbells, I strongly prefer a straight handle with grippy knurling on dumbbells. Many adjustable dumbbells have contoured handles with rubber or plastic coatings. I’m not a big fan of the contoured shape, and nothing beats knurled metal in terms of grip.
For that reason, I appreciate the handle on the NÜOBELLs. The knurling has a volcanic pattern with a nice overall texture. It has a balanced grip that’s neither passive nor aggressive, which I think is perfect for a dumbbell. If you watch my video review above, you’ll notice the knurling looks a bit different (more passive). They’ve since enhanced the texture, which I prefer.
While the Performance NÜOBELLs come with a steel handle, SMRTFT also offers an upgraded Matte Black version with an aluminum handle for better rust prevention.
Regardless of the version, the handle has a comfortable 32mm diameter, which is consistent with many fixed dumbbells. The handle length is a little on the shorter side at 4.25″ but should accommodate most hands. However, you may want to consider other options if you have very large hands.
The NÜOBELL cradle holds the dumbbells and allows for the weight adjustment. Although the rails are built with aluminum, everything else is hard plastic, which I’m not a big fan of. My biggest concern is coming in too fast from a hard set and crashing into the plastic frame, causing damage. However, this is mainly limited to the full 50 or 80 lbs since anything less will be protected by the outer steel plate.
Operationally, I like that these cradles include adjustment “triggers.” When you place the NÜOBELLs in the cradle, two small pieces slide into the handle assembly, unlocking the ability to adjust the weight. This is a critical safety feature so that the weight can’t adjust outside the cradle or while in use.
Adjusting the NÜOBELLs
The biggest selling point of the NÜOBELLs is how quick and easy it is to adjust them. Unlike some others that use separate dials, having the mechanism directly in the handle is a time-saver. Not to mention it looks better.
If you look inside the handle, you’ll find a steel thread that twists to “catch” the appropriate number of plates. It’s a simple mechanical operation that works flawlessly. However, you must ensure that you correctly position the dumbbell in the cradle.
If you rack it at an angle, the thread won’t be lined up properly, which may force you to re-rack and/or reset to 5 lbs. Thankfully, these dumbbells are quite forgiving, so they’ll self-correct even if you’re a little off.
Because of how quickly you can twist the hand and change the weight, NÜOBELLs are great for drop sets and super sets. You’ll also find a convenient weight window on the handle to show your weight selection and a corresponding +/- letting you know which way to turn the handle.
Lastly, if you like ASMR, you’ll love the NÜOBELLs. They produce a satisfying click that you can hear and feel – don’t be surprised if you find yourself fidgeting with them for this reason alone.
The overall build quality of the NÜOBELLs is quite good because of its mostly steel construction. I’m impressed with the plate machining and the tight tolerances. The tight fit limits rattle and unnecessary lateral movement, which should result in a longer plate life.
I’m also pleased with the handle and knurling consistency. While I would prefer a full steel shaft, it’s impossible with this threaded design. However, the steel rod still provides plenty of rigidity.
The biggest downside and question mark for NÜOBELLs is the plastic. While it has less plastic than most others, it’s still a weak point relative to steel.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT drop the NÜOBELLs. Not only will you void your warranty, but you’ll be putting too much stress on the plastic components. I would argue that you shouldn’t be dropping dumbbells anyway, but it’s especially true with these.
I also recommend that you carefully insert them back into the cradle every time. If you’re coming off a hard set and are fatigued, wait a moment before inserting so you don’t come crashing into the cradle.
With proper care, there’s no reason the NÜOBELLs shouldn’t last you years.
These are the best-looking adjustable dumbbells on the market, in my opinion. I love the rounded profile, and the colors look great.
I go back and forth on which color scheme I like the most. It’s hard to beat the all-black, but I’m also a huge fan of OD/tactical green that SMRTFT offers. I also like the contrast between the black connectors and the green/gray options.
The NÜOBELLs come standard with a 2-year warranty, which is consistent with some and lower than others. They seem to have taken the Bowflex approach with 2 years and options to increase. For the record, these are much more durable than the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells.
If you want to increase the warranty, you’ll need to pay $29.99 for 3 years or $69.99 for 5 years. Keep in mind that the warranty doesn’t include drops or commercial use.
Further Reading: Which is better: Adjustable or Fixed Dumbbells?
The NÜOBELLs receive positive reviews at numerous outlets. Owners love how easy they are to use and that they feel like traditional dumbbells.
As you may expect, the biggest concerns are the plastic connectors and cradle. A few reviewers have shown breakage, which may or not be due to misuse, drops, etc.
NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells vs. PowerBlock Dumbbells
PowerBlocks are one of the most well-known and recognized adjustable dumbbells on the market. They have a long reputation as a durable, space-friendly option, and with multiple versions, there’s something for nearly every budget.
PowerBlocks have a very unique design unlike anything else you’ll find. The biggest benefit is how quickly you can adjust them. Using a color-coded pin system, you can pull the pin and position the weight in seconds. However, they’re still not as fast as the NÜOBELLs.
They also lack the traditional look and feel of a dumbbell, which takes getting used to. Dimensionally, they are fairly similar, but the hand position is one of a kind. Most PowerBlock models have contoured handles, which benefits the NÜOBELLs, in my opinion. That said, PowerBlock and other third-party manufacturers offer knurled steel replacement handles for some models.
While I prefer the NÜOBELLs for their speed and traditional design, PowerBlocks have other advantages. First, they are expandable to a larger weight capacity of 90 lbs. In the case of my Commercial series PowerBlocks, they can expand to 175 lbs.
Second, they’re more durable and have a better warranty (standard 5 years). Some people have had their PowerBlocks for decades, and they’re still fully functional. Lastly, they can be less expensive depending on the model and expansion options.
I’m a fan of both NÜOBELLs and PowerBlocks. If you value max speed and a traditional design, I recommend the NÜOBELLs. If you still want great speed and don’t mind the unique design, it’s hard to beat the PowerBlocks for their proven durability and performance.
Further Reading: PowerBlock Review
NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells vs. Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells
Ironmaster Dumbbells are another high-quality option and are best for heavy lifters and those looking for maximum durability.
The biggest difference between the NÜOBELLs and Ironmasters is how they adjust. Despite “Quick-Lock” in the name, Ironmasters are one of the slower dumbells to change. Each handle includes two threaded end caps that secure the plates on each side. When you’re ready to change, you have to pull the end caps off, manually load the plates, and resecure. In short, NÜOBELLs are significantly faster.
However, another big difference is durability, and Ironmaster is the clear winner. These dumbbells are built like tanks and are made for abuse. You can drop them without concern, and they come with a lifetime warranty compared to 2-5 years on the NÜOBELLs. There are no plastic pieces anywhere on Ironmasters.
Furthermore, you can load Ironmasters much heavier than NÜOBELLs. While the standard set goes up to 75 lbs, you can purchase expansion sets that go to 125 and 165 lbs.
I love that both sets have straight, knurled handles. While the Ironmasters have unique square plates, they still maintain a traditional overall feel. They also come with a stand and are less expensive than NÜOBELLs.
Overall, Ironmasters are outstanding if you’re willing to sacrifice adjustment speed. They aren’t good for supersets or drop sets, so if that’s something you want, I recommend the NÜOBELLs. However, if you want the ability to load heavy and never worry about durability, Ironmasters are the way to go.
Further Reading: Ironmaster Dumbbells Review
Pros and Cons
As a NÜOBELL owner since 2020, I think they’re among the best adjustable dumbbells overall.
Their speed is largely unmatched, and I love the traditional look and feel. The straight, knurled handle is a winner in this class.
While I also like the steel plates, especially their smoother ends, I wish there was less plastic. Even though I haven’t experienced any breakage, some reviewers have. Durability shouldn’t be a big issue as long as you don’t drop them, but I recommend upgrading to the longer warranty if you have the extra money.
Compared to other high-end adjustable dumbbells, the NÜOBELLs are slightly more expensive. I suggest ranking the most important factors for your needs. If speed and traditional design are near the top, the NÜOBELLs are a great choice.
FAQs about NÜOBELL Dumbbells
Are NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells Worth it?
NÜOBELLs are worth it if you value adjustment speed and the feel of a traditional fixed dumbbell. Used properly, NÜOBELLs should last years and perform well because of their steel plates and adjustment mechanism. They're an excellent option for most home gym owners.
How Much Weight Can the NÜOBELL Dumbbells Hold?
You can buy NÜOBELLs in 50 or 80-lb versions. Each one starts at 5 lbs and is adjustable in 5 lb increments.
Are the NÜOBELLs Durable?
The NÜOBELLs are primarily built with steel, making them durable adjustable dumbbells. However, they include plastic connectors and a plastic cradle, so you should never drop them. Their 2-year warranty lags behind some, but you can increase the warranty up to 5 years.