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Try These 7 Adjustable Dumbbell Weights to Level-Up Your Home Workouts

try-these-7-adjustable-dumbbell-weights-to-level-up-your-home-workouts
Try These 7 Adjustable Dumbbell Weights to Level-Up Your Home Workouts

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Working out from home comes with a whole lot of stuff. And, when you’re tight on space, this often means looking for ways to organize and minimize your equipment. Enter the ultimate space-saving workout solution: adjustable dumbbell weights. These customizable dumbbells not only save precious floor space in your home gym (or living room… or office—no judgment from this New Yorker), but they make increasing and decreasing weight a breeze. Typically priced at over $200 per pair, it’s fair to get hit with a little sticker shock. But when you consider the fact that most adjustable weights cover a range of 5-50 pounds in just a single set, buying a pair is actually a pretty cost-effective way to go.


Experts In This Article

  • Miriam Alicea, CPT, CES, certified personal trainer and correctional exercise specialist, as well as a trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City.

Of course, there are some considerations to keep in mind before buying a set. To learn more about what customizable dumbbells can do, we scoured the web to find seven pairs that are worth the splurge.

In This Article

  • 01

    What are adjustable dumbbells?

  • 02

    7 best pairs of adjustable dumbbells

  • 03

    Who should try them?

  • 04

    How to choose

  • 05

    FAQs

The best adjustable dumbbell weights, at a glance:

  • Best trainer-approved: Core Fitness, Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set, $370
  • Crowd favorite: Bowflex, SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, $429
  • Best with virtual classes: ProForm, Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbell Set, $299
  • Most versatile set: Lusper, Free Weights Dumbbell Set, $130
  • Best for lighter weights: PowerBlock, Sport 24, $200
  • Best for heavy weight: Bowflex, SelectTech 1090, $650
  • Best budget-friendly: Yes4All, Adjustable Dumbbells, $50

The concept of customizable dumbbells isn’t new. In fact, I grew up with an old-school steel set in my household—you know, the type where you screw on the plates and keep them locked in place with what is essentially a steel chip clip? Luckily, today’s adjustable dumbbells offer a much more compact design and allow you to seamlessly transition between loads, and in turn, sweat faster and harder.

If you work out at home, having the ability to change the weight of your dumbbells is pretty game-changing. “Adjustable dumbbells are a great space- and money-saving alternative to a full rack of dumbbells (of varying weights) for home gyms,” says Miriam Alicea, CPT, CES, trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City. “These weights allow you the option of having just one set of dumbbells which can range from 5-50lbs. Most dumbbells can be adjusted by pressing a button or rotating a dial (or handle) to get you to the desired weight.”

Shop 7 of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

core fitness dumbbells, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best trainer-approved: Core Fitness, Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set — $370.00

This compact pick comes at the recommendation of Alicea. “The two main advantages of Core Fitness dumbbells is that they’re one of the smallest in size and one of the most affordable on the market,” she says. “They adjust within seconds with a simple turn of the handle. And, although bulkier than a typical dumbbell, they maintain a ‘traditional’ dumbbell shape.”

The design makes it easy to change the weight with one hand—all you do is place the bell in the base, then twist the grippy, contoured handle to adjust the load to your liking.

Weight range: 5-50 lbs (per dumbbell, in 5-pound increments)

Adjustment mechanism: Twist handle while docked in cradle

Dumbbell dimensions: 14.5″ L x 7.9” W x 7.2″ H (at max weight)

Storage base: Yes

Warranty: 2 years

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Easily adjustable
  • Not too bulky

Cons:

  • Can only adjust weight in increments of 5 lbs

bowflex selecttech 552, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best weight range: Bowflex, SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells — $429.00

Increasing your load in increments of five may not work for every lifter (or every move). That’s where the versatility of the Bowflex SelectTech comes in—this crowd-favorite adjustable dumbbell is one of the most customizable on the market. “The Bowflex Select’s advantage is providing smaller weight increments (2.5 pounds, for the first 25 pounds),” says Alicea.

Like the Core Fitness pick above, adjusting the load is a breeze. All you have to do is turn the dial on the end of the dumbbell (while docked in the cradle) and select one of the 15 different weight options. However, because there are more options, this is a slightly bulkier pick.

Weight range: 5-52.5 lbs (per dumbbell, 2.5-pound increments for first 25 pounds, 5-pound increments after that)

Adjustment mechanism: Turn dial while docked in cradle

Dumbbell dimensions: ‎17″ L x 8″ W x 9″ H

Storage base: Yes

Warranty: 2 years

Pros:

  • 15 weight settings in one
  • Smaller adjustment options may be more beginner friendly
  • Slightly heavier max weight (52.5 lbs)

Cons:

  • Larger size
  • Pricier option

proform rapid strike dumbbells, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best slim adjustable dumbbells: ProForm, Rapid Strike Adjustable Dumbbell Set — $299.00

Of all the picks on this list, ProForm’s Rapid Strike adjustable dumbbells look and feel the most like a regular dumbbell, especially because the length of the bell increases only when you add another plate (which isn’t the case with the Bowflex set above).

Because they have a slimmer profile, they’re a little more limited in their weight variety. The lowest weight is 10 pounds (which may or may not be an issue for you) and they’re designed to be adjusted in increments of 10 pounds. You could adjust only one side to create an uneven load but then they might feel a little lopsided. However, that might not be a big deal for goblet-style lifts.

Weight range: 10-50 lbs (per dumbbell, in increments of 10 pounds, or 5 pounds lopsided)

Adjustment mechanism: Pull tab to adjust in dock

Dimensions: Changes based on weight (max length is 17″)

Storage base: Yes

Warranty: 2 years

Pros:

  • Slimmer profile for lower loads
  • Easy tab-style adjustments
  • Lower price point

Cons:

  • No weight lower than 10 lbs
  • Designed to be adjusted in increments of 10 lbs (can do 5 lbs, but will be lopsided)

lusper weight set, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Most versatile set: Lusper, Free Weights Dumbbell Set — $130.00

Unlike the three options above, this set from Lusper doesn’t require an easy adjustment system or a dock. Still, if you’re not opposed to changing out the plates or having free weights lying on the floor, the versatility makes it a worthwhile adjustable option for any home gym.

The set includes four 2.75-pound plates, eight 5-pound plates, two dumbbell bars, one barbell bar, and two kettlebell handles (which can also be used as push-up grips on the floor). By screwing on the plates, you can create a wide variety of weights (up to 32 pounds per dumbbell). Plus, the ability to configure the plates into a barbell and kettlebell means you can add even more variety to your workouts.

Weight range: 6.5-32 lbs (per dumbbell), 14.5-54.5 lbs (barbell), 4.75-22 lbs (kettlebell)

Adjustment mechanism: Manual screw-on

Dumbbell dimensions: Changes based on weight

Storage base: None

Warranty: 12 months

Pros:

  • Can be used as a dumbbell, barbell, or kettlebell
  • Offers lower weight options
  • Kettlebell handles can be used as push-up grips

Cons:

  • Requires more effort to change weights
  • Not as compact as other options
  • Lower max weight

powerblock sport 24, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best for lighter weights: PowerBlock, Sport 24 — $200.00

As the name suggests, the PowerBlock Sport 24 offers up to 24 pounds of load per dumbbell. They use a unique block-shaped design and a magnetic pin system to easily change the load. The eight different weights are color-coded, so all you have to do is follow the key on the top of the bell, slide the pin to select your load and lift the bell out of the cradle. And, in addition to offering a variety of lower weight limits, it also has one of the smallest overall footprints on our list, making it easy to tuck away.

One thing to consider is the block shape—even though the weights are lighter, the corners may take a little getting used to. However, on the pro side, the rubber handle is easy to grip and the flat edges make it so you can also hold these weights from the sides. A few folks even said they perform some moves by holding one weight vertically like a kettlebell.

Weight range: 3-24 lbs (per dumbbell, in 3-pound increments)

Adjustment mechanism: Sliding pin with magnetic lock

Dimensions: 10” L x 5.5” W x 5.5” H

Storage base: Yes

Warranty: 5 year

Pros:

  • Lower weight limits
  • Smaller footprint
  • Easy pin-style weight adjustment

Cons:

  • Unique shape may take some getting used to
  • No weight heavier than 24 lbs per bell (might not be a con for some)

bowflex 1090, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best for heavy weight: Bowflex, SelectTech 1090 — $650.00

Wanna go heavy? This Bowflex option takes the design of the SelectTech 552 (above) and adds some serious weight. Each bell ranges from 10-90 pounds (!!) and features the same cradle and dial-style adjustment method.

While this option is definitely a great pick for those who want more than 52 pounds per bell, they’re also a much bulkier set and not ideal for those with smaller frames.

Weight range: 10-90 pounds (per dumbbell)

Adjustment mechanism: Turn dial while docked in cradle

Dimensions: 17.5″ L x 10″ W x 10″ H

Storage base: Yes

Warranty: 2 years

Pros:

  • Easily adjustable
  • Great for heavy-weight workouts
  • Compact

yes4all weights, one of the best adjustable dumbbell weights

Best budget-friendly: Yes4All, Adjustable Dumbbells — $50.00

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, no-frills, get-the-job-done pair of adjustable dumbbells, this Amazon set will do just fine. The bells are made from cast iron plates, a steel bar, and use the old-school steel collars that you screw onto the ends. You can choose between a 50-pound or 60-pound set, and each includes eight plates, two 14-inch bars, and four steel collars. The plates themselves are a little misleading—while they don’t add up to the exact weight on their own, the steel bars and collars make up the difference.

Note that to get a heavier load you’ll need to stack several plates on together, which can make these a little bulkier and time-consuming compared to some of the easy-adjust options above. They also might clink a bit if you don’t screw the collars in all the way, but for $50 that may not be a big deal.

Weight range: 6-50 lbs (per dumbbell)

Adjustment mechanism: Manual screw-on

Dumbbell dimensions: 14″ L

Storage base: None

Warranty: 1 year

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Durable steel and cast iron design

Cons:

  • Requires more assembly to adjust
  • May clink if not tightened all the way

Who should try adjustable dumbbell weights?

If you’re looking to strength train at home or make your bodyweight workouts more challenging, adjustable weights might be just the ticket. According to Alicea, “Adjustable dumbbells are great for home gyms, small spaces, and for someone looking for a variety in loads without having to spend the extra money on several sets. Purchasing a full set of individual dumbbells can typically get pretty expensive, very quickly.” For example, you can buy a set of 20-pound dumbbells online for around $50.

“These dumbbells allow for great variety in your workouts and progressive overload,” adds Alicea. This is true for beginners and veteran lifters alike!

How to choose a set

  • Weight range: Make sure the weight range works for your goals, even if you’re just getting started. If the max weight of the set is too light for your goals, you might end up spending more money on heavier weights.
  • Your size: Some designs are bulkier than others, which may make a difference if you have a smaller frame. When interviewing our friends with adjustable dumbbells, some said that the overall size of the dumbbells (at any weight) limited the type of movements they could do.
  • Storage type: If you’re working with limited space, it’s worthwhile to prioritize one of the models that sit in a compact base (versus a set with loose, interchangeable plates).

What are the disadvantages of adjustable dumbbells?

According to Alicea, some of the disadvantages include the available weight increments and the overall size of the dumbbells. “The typical weight adjustments are 5 pounds, which can sometimes feel like too big of an increase for some users,” she says.

And, while adjustable weights certainly save space, they’re definitely not small. “Another major disadvantage I would say is the overall size of the dumbbell, which tends to be much bigger than a traditional dumbbell,” says Alicea. “This can limit the exercises you can perform and the range of motion in which you can move.” When I asked around among my friends, a few people who owned (or had previously tried) weight-adjustable dumbbells said this was the case—they were too wide and clunky for their smaller frames, especially for movements where you bring the weights toward one another (like a chest press). If that seems like it might be an issue for you based on your size, you might be better off with an adjustable kettlebell.

One last note: a friend noted that you don’t want to drop most types of adjustable weight dumbbells (such as Bowflex, ProForm, and PowerBlock, as it can damage the adjustment mechanism.

FAQs

Are adjustable dumbbells good?

Customizable dumbbells are a great space-saving solution for anyone who doesn’t want multiple sets of single-weight bells lying around their workout space. The quality and ease of use vary by brand (we think all of the picks on our list are worth checking out!) and the bulkier shape of some sets may take some getting used to. If you’re not sure if they’re going to work for you, check out the return policy to make sure you can send them back if you don’t love them.

Can you build muscle with adjustable dumbbells?

Absolutely! A set of customizable weight dumbbells lets you cater the equipment to your goals and increase the load as you get stronger. Just be sure to note the maximum weight for the set (most cap out at 50 pounds) to ensure it works for your weightlifting goals.

Can you add weight to adjustable dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbell sets that use a dial, sliding pin, or rotating handle to change the load are not designed to add on additional plates, so they’ll cap out at the set’s designated weight limit. However, sets that use plates and a screw-on collar may be able to take more weight if you buy heavier plates.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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Written by Living Smarter

Living Smarter is a leading well-being lifestyle development striving for excellent user experience by providing quality information about trending supplements on the market.

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