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For those looking to begin a home strength training routine, adjustable dumbbells are one of the best investments you can make. Dumbbells are a staple when it comes to home gym equipment, allowing you to load up your squats, lunges, deadlifts, and arm exercises, while taking up less space than a barbell and weight plates. With adjustable dumbbells, you’ll be able to quickly choose from a range of weights, without needing to have over 20 individual dumbbells lying around.
Currently, there are lots of options on the market, and choosing the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming. So ahead, we’ll break down our favorite picks on the market today to help you make the best decision for your own weightlifting needs and goals. Whether you’re looking to tone, build strength and muscle, or improve your sports performance, you’re sure to find a pair that suits your needs.
Our Picks for the Best Adjustable Dumbbells:
- Best Overall Adjustable Dumbbell: Bowflex SelectTech 552
- Best Runner Up Adjustable Dumbbell: Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set
- Best Square Adjustbale Dumbbell: Powerblock USA Elite Series
- Best Value Adjustable Dumbbell: Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best High-End Adjustable Dumbbell: MX Select Selectorized/Adjustable Dumbbell
- Best Adjustable Dumbbell for Heavier Weights: Merax Deluxe
- Best Adjustable Dumbbell for Quick Changes: Nuobell
Bowflex has been a household name since 1986 sincefor good reason – it makes high-quality home workout equipment that’s designed to last.
These Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are no different, and their high quality, versatility, and price point place them at the top of our list. We also love the 2.5-pound increments, as many other sets use bigger weight increments, often 5 pounds.
There are 15 weight settings for each dumbbell ranging from 5 - 52.5-pounds, making them well suited for all fitness levels. You’ll enjoy a comfortable rubber grip, unlike the metal knurling that some companies use, and which many users find harsh.
You’ll also receive a one-year JRNY membership (valued at $149), which allows you to access on-demand workout classes. You can stream trainer-led strength workouts from your phone or tablet, and follow along with your dumbbells.
If you regularly use weights over 52.5-pounds, you’ll need to find a heavier option, but for everyone else, this is our number one pick for adjustable dumbbells.
If the Bowflex price point is a bit too high, these adjustable dumbbells from Core Fitness are a fantastic runner-up at $100 less.
Each of these can be adjusted from 5 - 50-pounds, which is only 2.5-pounds lighter than the Bowflex’s option. The dumbbells have 10 adjustable positions, which is slightly less than Bowflex’s 15, but this shouldn’t matter for most users. 10 different increments per dumbbell still provide a large range of settings.
We love Core Fitness’s TwistLock Technology, which allows you to quickly adjust the weight with one hand. It’s a sleek, subtle adjustment mechanism that doesn’t stick out or make the grip awkward, and mimics the feel of a traditional, non-adjustable dumbbell.
If round dumbbells aren’t your cup of tea, the USA Elite Series from Powerblock is the best alternative. For most exercises, there won’t be much of a difference, but if you perform exercises where the dumbbells are on the ground, like elevated push ups or renegade rows, the square shape prevents the dumbbell from rolling or slipping.
The downside to the square design is that your hand fits inside the dumbbell. For exercises like an overhead tricep extension, where you may need to hold the plates instead of the handle, the square design may be challenging.
The best feature of Powerblocks is their ability to add on expansion weight. The default set includes up to 50lbs, but for an extra cost, you can increase the maximum weight of each dumbbell to 70 or 90 pounds (the expansion to 70 pounds costs $179, and expanding beyond that to 90 is another $179). Not all users will need 90 pounds of resistance, but for those that do, Powerblock is one of the only adjustable dumbbells that’s heavy enough.
If you’re on a stricter budget or don’t plan to use your dumbbells very often, the FLYBIRD adjustable dumbbells may be a great choice for you. These dumbbells are sold individually, so you can purchase a single dumbbell if that’s all you need for your goals as well.
The FLYBIRD adjustable dumbbell ranges from 5 - 25-pounds of resistance, so if you’re regularly using loads above 25 pounds, we’d suggest choosing different weights. For beginners, this lower weight may be just what you need.
At $89 a dumbbell, a pair will run you nearly $200, and you may eventually outgrow the 25-pounds of resistance. However, if you’re on a budget, or just want to have an adjustable dumbbell as a plan B when you can’t make it to the gym, the FLYBIRD dumbbell will meet your needs without breaking the bank.
The MX Select Adjust Dumbbells are not cheap, but they’re an excellent addition to your home gym.
While many other adjustable dumbbells have different types of handles — padded, inside the dumbbell, etc. — we like MX because its handles are designed to match the most common dumbbells you’ll find in commercial gyms. You don’t need to worry about how to modify your grip or change the exercise.
The dumbbells include a sturdy storage stand and easy adjustments, designed for maximum safety. Weights range from 10 - 55-pounds in 10-pound increments, allowing you to start light and grow with the set over time.
For serious lifters who are moving some heavy weights, we suggest the Merax Deluxe adjustable dumbbells. Each of these can be adjusted from 11-71.5-pounds with the turn of a dial, providing enough resistance for even the strongest of lifters.
Because these dumbbells are so heavy, Merax designed a dumbbell stand with locking wheels, so moving these around the room is a breeze, even with over 140 pounds of weight on the stand.
While other brands, like Powerblock, provide weights that reach 70 pounds, this is one of the few that doesn’t require large expansion kits which drive up the price. Many users may also prefer the round shape of Merax dumbbells more than the square shape of Powerblock, which can be limiting for certain exercises.
NÜOBELL is designed for ease of use and a quick, easy weight change. The ergonomic handles match most dumbbells you’d find in commercial gyms, making these adjustable weights a fantastic option for those who regularly switch between gym and home workouts. Many users don’t like padded grips, or ones that are different from traditional dumbbells, and find these feel exactly like commercial dumbbells.
This set of weights features some of the fastest adjustments we’ve seen. All you need to do is rotate the handle until you see your desired weight, and you’re ready to go — no need to mess with gears, pins or various weight selectors.
The only drawback is that many users report these dumbbells may crack or break if you drop them often. In general, if you want any weights to last a long time, you should avoid dropping them, but for those that do find themselves dropping dumbbells to the ground, these will likely break sooner than later.
Why Buy Adjustable Dumbbells?
If you have a home gym or are in the process of building one, adjustable dumbbells are a no-brainer addition that will save a ton of space. Weight training is a proven way to build lean muscle and strength, and dumbbells provide a variety of weight options.
With most adjustable dumbbells ranging from 5-50-pounds of resistance, you’re easily replacing 10 pairs of dumbbells. You’ll also save money in the long run, as buying a new pair of standard dumbbells everytime you need a heavier weight can quickly add up.
With free weights, you’re able to improve your strength, cardio, and even mobility, as you’re not limited by machines and can perform any movement with additional weight.
How Adjustable Dumbbells Work
While various brands use different mechanisms, they all boil down to the same core function — you’re able to adjust how much weight is attached to each dumbbell, usually by rotating a dial, turning the handle or moving an adjustable pin. When you need to quickly change weights for various exercises, you’re able to do so in a matter of seconds.
What to Look for in Adjustable Dumbbells
With a large selection of adjustable dumbbells on the market, here are four key factors we suggest considering when choosing a pair.
Weight Capacity and Increments
How much weight are you usually lifting, and generally speaking, how strong are you?
If you’re a beginner to intermediate lifter, you may prefer lighter weights with smaller increments. Jumping from 5 to 10 pounds may not seem like a big deal, but for isolation exercises, or those newer to lifting, the jump may be too big, so you’d want to consider a brand that moves in 2.5 pounds increments, like the Bowflex SelectTech 552s.
Stronger lifters may find that 50 pounds isn’t enough resistance for many exercises, so if you’re regularly lifting more than 50 pounds per arm, you’ll need to find a brand that either includes heavier weights or allows you to purchase expansions (like PowerBlock).
How often do you need to change weights, and how much time do you want it to take?
If you’re regularly changing weight between sets, you may want to choose a pair that features fast adjustments, rather than taking time to physically change the weight. With Powerblock, you’ll need to set your weight down and change a pin setting. This is still easy, and no big deal if you’re not in a rush, but this sort of adjustment isn’t as quick as something like NÜOBELL, which features extremely quick adjustments with the turn of the handle.
While adjustable dumbbells are almost always cheaper than buying a full set of traditional dumbbells, they’re still an investment. Think carefully about your budget, and how often you’ll be using these dumbbells.
If you regularly train at home, it may be worth spending a little extra now to invest in a heavy set that lasts. However, if you still train at a regular gym, and your adjustable dumbbells are mostly for an occasional home workout, you can probably get away with a more affordable set.
Finally, look at the grip, and figure out which feels the most comfortable. Do you prefer a dumbbell that feels like a traditional gym dumbbell, or are you okay with a padded grip, or even the non-traditional shape and feel of something like Powerblocks?
Personal preference plays a big role here, so make sure to choose a grip you’ll look forward to using.
While most adjustable dumbbells function very similarly, there are a wide range of options to suit any fitness level, budget and preference. Once you’ve figured out your needs, you’re sure to find something on this list that will suit your needs.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.