- Build the Ultimate Home Gym With Adjustable Dumbbells
- In Depth Best Adjustable Dumbbells Reviews
- ListofFit Best Pick: PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
- Considerations When Buying Adjustable Dumbbells
Build the Ultimate Home Gym With Adjustable Dumbbells
Dumbbells have been a staple of the gym since the beginning of lifting. In fact, the history of the dumbbell can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece, which used a rock carved into a dumbbell like shape for lifting weights.
Go into most gyms today and you will see that they have expansive sets of single-weight dumbbells that can be used to do a great number of strength training exercises including curls, butterfly, presses, and raises among others. Dumbbells truly are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can find in the gym.
While the gym may have the space for such a wide range of single-weight dumbbells, those of use looking to build a gym in our basements and garages will likely need to have a solution so that we can get the wide range of dumbbell weights without taking up the same amount of space.
If you find yourself in this camp that I described above, then you should seriously consider buying a set of quality adjustable dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells allow you to adjust the weight on each dumbbell so that you use them for a greater number of exercises. Think about it, you don’t use the same weights for curls as you do raises, right? Now you can do both exercises without having to buy multiple sets of dumbbells.
Based on the versatility and quality of today’s adjustable dumbbells, we feel that anyone wanting to get in their lifting at home should make these a priority purchase.
- Width: 14"
- Max Weight: 3 Dumbbell Size Options-50 Pound, 70 Pound, 90 Pound
- Summary: Our best adjustable dumbbell selection. Not as bulky as adjustable dumbbells that use a dial mechanism to adjust weight. Feel solid while in use.
- Price: Ranges from ~$300 for 50 pound pair to ~$600 for 90 pound pair.
- ListofFit Rating:
(4.6 / 5)
- Width: 16"
- Max Weight: 52.5 pounds per dumbbell
- Summary: A solid pair of adjustable dumbbells that are easy to adjust. Only downside is that these are the widest dumbbells on our list and can be a bit awkward.
- Price: ~$280
- ListofFit Rating:
(3.9 / 5)
- Width: 13.5"
- Max Weight: 45 pounds per dumbbell
- Summary: A great alternative to the PowerBlock Elite's for those who want a dial driven pair of adjustable dumbbells. Maximum weight may not be enough for more advanced lifters.
- Price: ~$280
- ListofFit Rating:
(4.1 / 5)
- Width: 15"
- Max Weight: 50 pounds per dumbbell
- Summary: We like the more classic steel plates found on the Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells. The 10 pound increments are large than other dumbbells and offer less versatility in the weight combinations.
- Price: ~$280
- ListofFit Rating:
(4.1 / 5)
1. Powerblock Elite Dumbbells
Materials: (4.8 / 5)
Width: (4.5 / 5)
Value: (4.3 / 5)
Weight Capacity: (4.8 / 5)
Overall: (4.6 / 5)
The Powerblock Elite Dumbbells have some unique features that set it apart from some of the other adjustable dumbbells on our list. For one, the Powerblock Elite come in three different weight sizes: 50 pounds, 70 pounds, and 90 pounds.
Not only are there two maxiumum weight options, but they also come with expansion packs that will expand the weight capacity of your dumbbells from 50-70 pounds and 70-90 pounds. So, if you find that you need more weight than you did when you bought these you can easily add more weight in the future to meet your updated needs.
The value of these is a bit of a mixed bag. The 50 pound maximum weight version are priced around $300, which is comparable to the Bowflex Selectech. However, the 70 pound version of the Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells are a full $200 more than the 50 pound version, which we feel is a bit much. From 70 pounds to 90 pounds it is a more reasonable $100 for the upgrade.
As far as performance is concerned, these dumbbells work very well. They are 2 inches shorter in terms of width than the Selectech, which is a significant advantage. These adjustable dumbbells also get high marks for being very stable during use. You will not get much unwanted vibration when using the Powerblock’s. The rectangular shape of these takes a bit of getting used to, but after awhile you forget that they are shaped differently.
If you like what PowerBlock has to offer, check out how they used their technology to improve the kettlebell.
2. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex has really stepped up their game with Selectech line of adjustable dumbbells.
Their 552 dumbbells are able to adjust from 5 pounds, all the way up to 53.5 pounds. For the first 25 pounds these dumbbells adjust weight in 2.5 pound increments. At the end of the day, this adjustability can do the work of 15 different sets of single-weight dumbbells.
The Bowflex Selectech uses a unique dial system that allows you to select your preferred weight. After you have your weight dialed in simply lift the dumbbell and get to work.
Bowflex claims that with these Selectech Adjustable Dumbbells you can do up to 30 exercises, with 80 different variations. While we don’t know for sure the accuracy of these claims we do know that there is little doubt that these dumbbells are useful for a large number of different strength training routines.
At around $275, the Bowflex Selectech’s are certainly not cheap. However, they are a good value because of the space they save and the fact that you’d likely spend more money on traditional dumbbells if you had to buy 15 individual sets that make up one pair of these Selectech Adjustable Dumbbells.
The only significant downside to these adjustable dumbbells is the width. These things are very wide at 16″ a piece. This does feel a bit awkward, especially when using them for lighter weights. Still, we feel that this does not take away from the great value and versatility that these provide.
If you are a fan of Bowflex, they also have a highly rated weight bench.
3. Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells
Our third selection for the best adjustable dumbbell set is the Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells.
As far as adjustability, the Universal PowerPak Dumbbells can adjust from 4 pounds to 45 pounds in five pound increments. These adjustable dumbbells replace nine traditional dumbbell sets.This a larger increment than found on the Bowflex Selectech, but these are still versatile enough that they will meet the needs of most lifters.
Similar to the Bowflex Selectech, the Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells use a dial system to select the desired weight.
Price-wise, the Universal Dumbbells are the same price as the Bowflex Selectech at the time of this writing. Both are a good value, and which set you buy will depend on your priorities as a buyer. If you want larger weight capacity, then go with the Selectech. If you want a pair of adjustable dumbbells that have the shorter width, then go with the Universal PowerPaks.
While the Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells are similar to the Bowflex Selectech, they are a bit shorter width wise, which is a plus. The Universal PowerPak’s have a width of just under 14″, which is over 2″ shorter than the Bowflex Selectech. The Universal PowerPak also has an ergonomic handle which offers greater grip comfort than some of the other adjustable dumbbells on our list.
Another plus for the Universal PowerPak’s is that they do not have a ton of rattle when in use. You may notice a little shaking, but nothing that will distract you from your workout.
Universal has several unique products that they make including a weight bench that was a top five pick.
4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells
The last set of dumbbells to make our list are the Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells. These are another highly rated pair of adjustable dumbbells and offer some different design features than the other dumbbells in this article.
Weight is adjusted by using an adjustment knob on these dumbbells. As you can see in the video below this mechanism is quite easy to use.
These dumbbells have a max weight of 50 pounds each (total weight of the pair is 100 pounds) with a minimum weight of 10 pounds each. The weight of these dumbbells can be adjusted in 10 pound increments. This makes the Bayou’s a bit less versatile than the other adjustable dumbbells due to their larger weight adjustment increments.
From a price perspective, the Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells are around $285 and comparable to the other dumbbells we have selected.
In terms of size the Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells have a width of 15 inches. This makes them one inch shorter in width than the Selectechs and slightly longer than the other two dumbbells we’ve chosen.
Overall, we recommend these dumbbells to those who do not need smaller weight adjustment increments and desire adjustable dumbbells with steel plates making for a more classic feel and design.
ListofFit Best Pick: PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
Purchasing a pair of adjustable dumbbells for your home gym is a great investment to save space and money. When picking out the best overall pair of adjustable dumbbells we looked at the quality of each dumbbell, price, and also how practical each pair was to use.
The truth is the Powerblock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells are a step above all the others. Having a slim plate design keeps the Powerblock’s from being too wide like the Bowflex Selectech. Having this shorter width design makes the Powerblock Elite Dumbbells the most usable dumbbells available today.
All four of the adjustable dumbbells that were selected are within $50 of each other when comparing similar weight models. So, while the Powerblock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells are most expensive choice it is by a slim margin.
We also like that the Powerblock Elite’s have expansion packs so that if you make gains and want a bigger weight challenge you aren’t stuck having to buy a whole new set of dumbbells. Just pick the desired expansion pack and get back to your workouts.
Considerations When Buying Adjustable Dumbbells
Adjustable dumbbells have some unique features that buyers should consider before buying. The first thing to realize is that adjustable dumbbells are larger and much wider than traditional dumbbells. This is because adjustable dumbbells have separate plates allowing you to select how much weight you want for a specific exercise. In general, this makes adjustable dumbbells more awkward than traditional dumbbells.
Another consideration is weight capacity. If you are a seasoned lifter then you’ll want to consider if the maximum weight of the adjustable dumbbell set will be enough to meet your needs. On the flip side, if you are just getting into strength training this may not be as much of a concern.
Finally, make sure to buy a pair of adjustable dumbbells that feature quality construction and a weight adjustment mechanism that will last over time. Obviously, if the weight adjustment mechanism breaks then your adjustable dumbbells would become a lot less adjustable.
If you follow our guide and select one of the four options we’ve listed here you can be confident that you are getting a quality pair of adjustable dumbbells that will last for years to come.