The adjustable dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym for your strength training sessions. It's an incredibly effective way to stop accumulating a pile of weights in your apartment or garage.
Since 1983 and the acquisition of my first dumbbells, I have bought and tested dozens of them, more or less satisfying.
In 1991, Powerblock introduced the first adjustable dumbbell, and it was a revolution. Even today, their products are not the cheapest, but they are durable and offer one of the widest weight ranges available. They are not without their flaws, such as their somewhat disconcerting shape and narrow handle.
Since then, competitors have shown incredible innovation and have interesting arguments to make. It's up to you to determine your specific needs in order to follow this great trend. This guide will help you save time before you decide...
Table of Contents
- Selection of the best adjustable dumbbells
- Compact adjustable dumbbells
- Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells or equivalent
- Storage rack
- PowerBlock® adjustable dumbbells
- Best value at Amazon
- The lightest for fitness
- Things to check before buying adjustable dumbbells
- Who should do weight training with weights
Selection of the best adjustable dumbbells
Here are the ones that really caught our eye this year. Each of the dumbbell kits are top of the line, and the people who bought them were very happy with their choice. We're sure they'll have a special place in your home gym...
Important note: don't hesitate to come back and read this guide as it can change at any time...
Compact adjustable dumbbells
This is one of my favorite automatic dumbbell kits today. This is because it has many advantages while exercising in your own weight room.
Indeed, unlike most of their competitors, they are smaller when they are lighter. This weight set is even more compact than the traditional weight lifting games and super easy to adjust with only the axis to turn to select the weight plates.
The only weak point of this set ofadjustable dumbbells The compact size is still limited to 32 kilos, but only the strongest of you will find it difficult to cope with. That's still the equivalent of more than 60kg of cast iron!
For 95 % users, these adjustable kits will be more than sufficient...
In fact, this set with a modern design and a unique conception represents the best of both worlds, with the advantages of the classic models and those of the modular dumbbells. Not to mention a very sleek design. I love it!
- Easy weight adjustments with a knurled center handle
- Very compact
- Super balance in hand and optimal design
- Superior sensations to classic sets since no discomfort related to the size of the bars
- No sound of clashing discs during the series
- Because of its lightness, the support sometimes lifts with theadjustable dumbbell when fully loaded
- They should not be abused to preserve the protective plastic surfaces and the mechanism
- Handles are not ergonomic
- The prices hurt. Ouch!
Where to buy ?
In the USA, they are marketed under the NUOBELL brand of dumbbells, but in France you will also find them at Avalon Gear at a tight price with fast delivery.
|MODELS (Nuobell type)||Total weight||PRICE|
|A pair of 2 to 20 kilos||40kg||509,90 €|
|A pair from 4 to 32 kilos||64kg||519,90 €|
This model is sometimes available at Amazon, but more expensive, under the brand KingsBox :
- PERFECT FOR DAILY TRAINING - The weight handle is made of...
- A BASIC EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE - No need to...
- UNIQUE - There are already quite a few weight handles...
Editor's Opinion: 8/10
NOTE : This dumbbell would have been a hit if the plastic surfaces didn't require a little softness and if the prices were more accessible. But their compactness is very practical for the sessions.
Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells or equivalent
These 2 adjustable dumbbells replace 15 each for easy storage in your home gym.
They exist in 2 versions according to the weight required:
- From 5 to 52.5 pounds, or about 2 to 24 kg for the famous bowflex 552i dumbbell. The increment is lower up to half the weight, which is very important for beginners or certain muscle groups such as the shoulders.
- From 10 to 90 pounds, or about 4 to 41 kg for the 1090i model. As with the previous model, the increase in workloads is progressive.
With this modular system, say goodbye to equipment that clutters your training space.
You'll easily switch from one exercise to another and by turning a dial on each side to change the selected discs in 2 seconds. In addition, the rubber-covered handles are very comfortable.
This strength training equipment will allow you to establish a versatile workout for your legs, back, pecs, abs, shoulders, biceps and triceps at home. With a good reclining weight benchYou can do everything you would do in a gym.
The solid plastic molding around the metal plates allows for a smooth takeoff and quieter runs... no rattling cast iron discs!
- Significant space saving compared to the 30 different weights they replace
- Load setting in just a few seconds by turning 2 knobs
- Adjustable dumbbell that can weigh over 40 kilos
- A relatively low minimum weight with a first level at 2.5 kg to favour certain light exercises
- Ergonomic handles for a perfect grip, safe and comfortable handling
- Great durability if not mistreated
- Adjustable dumbbells quite large in 40 kg, which can reduce the range of motion on certain exercises in neutral grip (bench press or biceps curls)
- The dials must be set identically on each side to avoid an unbalanced load
- The mechanism does not support dropping the dumbbells on the floor after a set
Where to buy them?
At Avalon Gear (delivery in Europe)
Frankly, if you don't care about having the BowFlex logo on your pair, buy the same ones stamped Avalon Gear for 54 % cheaper with free delivery in 4 to 5 days:
If you want the original version of the BowFlex 552i dumbbell, it's available at Amazon in 24 kg. They also come in 40kg, but be warned, the price tickles a bit (sell a kidney first 😅) :
- A single variable-load dumbbell replaces 15 dumbbells...
- High quality ergonomic non-slip handle.
- Adjustable weight from 2 to 24 kg (adjustments: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9,...
Our opinion : 9/10 💖 (Avalon Gear)
NOTE : A little more solid than the previous ones, the heavier ones have the disadvantage of being more cumbersome during the sets. However, with their higher load, it's a real plus for the strong ones. This is our favorite if you take advantage of Avalon Gear's pricing.
This accessory is the ideal solution to put the adjustable dumbbells and change the load quickly between 2 sets. Especially when you want to put them down after a set and you are standing. Indeed, it is difficult to squat when you are half dead... and it is an additional risk of injury if your leg muscles are cold.
Plus, you won't have to bend down to adjust the weight. Some racks are height adjustable and you can raise or lower them to easily accommodate your adjustable dumbbells between sets to adjust them. The rack available from Avalon Gear is of excellent quality and very affordable:
PowerBlock® adjustable dumbbells
As you have read in the introduction, PowerBlock is the pioneer brand of adjustable dumbbells. Its flagship product has evolved very little since its origin in 1991. Some people swear by this manufacturer for their home gym.
It must be said that their equipment has proven to be foolproof due to its very simple design. It's not the ultimate in technicality, but it works. Note that there is a bit more time wasted in selecting the weight.
As you will see below, the brand is now competing with almost identical models with a more affordable price. But it's still quite expensive.
Their strong point is the compactnessThis is an interesting feature for the space in your weight room. But some people just don't like the aesthetics or the archaic look. You may say that this is not important in bodybuilding, but you can't fight this kind of feeling.
A weak point often highlighted on these adjustable dumbbells is related to the side supports on either side of the handles. This forms like a cage that you enter your hand into to hold the dumbbell. The side supports can touch your wrists during the movements and some users don't like that. But hey, it's like anything, you get used to it eventually.
- Compact package for reduced training space
- Replaces many dumbbells of different weights
- Wide range with a lot of load capacity
- Rusticity and durability (manufacturing quality)
- Technical simplicity (for those who like it)
- Fairly high price
- Technical simplicity (for those who don't like it)
- Longer weight selection with this locking mechanism
- The supports can touch the wrists during reps, especially if you have large joints
Where to buy this pair of dumbbells at the best price?
The entry-level sets of the brand are available on FitnessBoutique. Their prices are very interesting on the ranges PowerBlock Sport 24, Sport 50, Pro 32 and Pro 50.
|PowerBlock MODELS at FitnessBoutique||Total weight||PRICE|
|A pair of 1.3 to 10.8 kilos||21,60 kg||199 €|
|A pair of 4.5 to 22.7 kilos||45,40 kg||475 €|
Editor's note: 7,5/10
NOTE : These are the strongest for your homegym for sure! If you want dumbbells for life, you need PowerBlock. However, the more rudimentary mechanism makes load changes a bit more laborious. And the prices are still high.
Best value at Amazon
This is without a doubt the adjustable dumbbell model that competes with the Bowflex 24 kg model the most attractive at the moment. Indeed, this pair of 2 times 25 kg costs 37 % less! And their use is approximately equivalent.
In addition, these models are very easy to adjust between sets with a dial ranging from 2.5 to 25 kg. This is a video in English, but you can see them in action here :
- A very attractive price compared to the competition
- Fast delivery within 2 to 3 days
- One pair of dumbbells that replaces 15 pairs of 2.5 to 25 kg
- Very easy and readable adjustment with the large knobs
- Minimum weight at 2.5 kg perfect for beginners or long shoulder sets
- Ergonomic rubber-covered handles for easy handling
- Great durability if well treated
- Adjustable dumbbells that are wide enough to reduce range of motion (like Bowflex)
- The discs tend to move on the support when you want to put the dumbbells back in place
Where to buy at the best price?
As far as I know, these models are only available on Amazon right now. They are unfortunately often out of stock:
- Note: We are selling a pair of the adjustable dumbbells...
- SPACE SAVING - All-in-one design that combines 10 sets of...
- Full body exercise – with the adjustable dumbbells...
Our opinion : 9/10
NOTE : This product is our favorite at Amazon! These are the most interesting adjustable dumbbells right now if you don't want to spend much more on Bowflex. A good value purchase, but less of a setback on the durability of the mechanism.
The lightest for fitness
Since not everyone wants to become hyper-muscular, your goal may just be to have a barbell system for fitness or strength training.
In addition, for those over 60 years of age, it is not recommended to put a excessive stress on the joints with too heavy loads. You can even use elastic bands in addition to pairs of adjustable dumbbells to take advantage of the best of the 2 equipments.
And if you're a woman, 6 to 12 kilos max can be more than enough. After all, 24 kilos in total can already allow you to do a serious workout, including for the quadriceps and glutes.
- Affordable products for women or seniors who work out
- Fast delivery within 2 to 3 days
- A pair of dumbbells that replace 12 light pairs for your home gym
- Take up little space
- Very easy adjustment in a few seconds
- Comfortable rubber-covered handles
- Too little carrying capacity for a fairly young man
Where to buy them?
Recently, Ativafit has been marketing fairly affordable models on Amazon thanks to a range of 4 models with weights ranging from 5.8 kg to 25 kg per dumbbell (with the full load).
- Adjustable weight: quick weight adjustment with a unique design...
- Easy to use and store: one dumbbell is equivalent to 4...
- Wide application: several weight ranges adapted to the needs of...
Our rating: 7/10
NOTE : The mechanisms of these items from 5.8 to 20 kg are of a very simple design. This ensures that they are very durable. If you don't need anything more for your weight training program, you won't find better elsewhere.
Things to check before buying adjustable dumbbells
As you move around the cast iron, you come to realize what is important and what is not. There are certain features that manufacturers put forward to sell their products that, in all honesty, offer little or no benefit to the user.
In all these tests, here are the criteria that we think are the most important to choose your adjustable dumbbells:
There are fixed dumbbells that range from 0.5 to nearly 140 kg. The range is therefore enormous. But few people need more than 40 kg per dumbbell. Especially since the one you choose must remain of reasonable sizeThis is not the case for heavier equipment.
That's why the models presented in this guide are more than sufficient. They will be able to accompany you for many years if you don't choose too small at the beginning.
Also check the possible increment, that is, the distance between each setting proposed by the dumbbells.
If a model allows to progress by 1,25 kilos and another one by 2,5 kilos between each weight adjustment, it is not the same thing for its progression. Some of the kits of this comparison allow a progression by 1 or 1,25 kilo at the beginning, while others start at 2,5 kg, even at 5 kg minimum. It is not the same thing if you are a beginner.
This is important for muscles that require more attention and lower loads, like the shoulders. You'll get better results if your adjustable dumbbells are perfectly weighted for a wider range of exercises.
The metal is necessarily more sustainable than plastic. However, the plastic that encases the plates often provides superior comfort in use. You just need to treat these products a little more gently when laying them on the floor.
To limit the risk of breakage, equip yourself with a floor mat for weight training for your training.
On the other hand, as often repeated on this blog, never buy kits that are all plastic or with concrete or sand filled discs. Worse yet, water-filled dumbbells are a catch-all and worthless.
Easy to adjust and control
This is an important factor considered when choosing the models offered. You don't want the weight change to become an equation with 3 unknowns, unless you love math 😅
The adjustment must therefore be simple, whether it is by a pin, a dial or simply the rotation of the handle. And the chosen load must be easy to spot to avoid losing time between rounds.
By design, adjustable dumbbells that allow you to switch to a different load with a simple handle movement or rotation of a knob are the most effective. This is especially true for superset or HIIT isolation exercises.
Balance in hand during exercises
Some sets leave an unpleasant impression in hand, which is penalizing to make a good session. Of course, one always ends up getting used to it, but it is better to choose a dumbbell that one apprehends well from the start. It is ideal to improve quickly its muscular performance.
You should be able to focus on the exercise rather than the material. This is a criterion that is taken into account in the tests.
In general, the more compact an adjustable dumbbell is, the more expensive it is. Fortunately, we have found some kits that are quite affordable for the quality.
The main advantage of this feature is that the compactness limits the interference of the dumbbell with the movement. The sessions thus gain in effectiveness
This is not necessarily the first thing you think of when you start your research. And yet, it is an essential aspect when talking about adjustable dumbbells. And for good reason!
To build muscle at home, you need resistance to force your body to adapt. The main way to make it work with this equipment is to have more weight. And of course, more weight means more transportation costs.
So, pay attention to this point before validating an order. There are often bad surprises...
What price are you willing to pay?
One thing is for sure, investing in weight training equipment is a drain on your wallet if you don't own a gym. But it is also a long-term profit on your health, and perhaps a savings on future subscriptions.
The good quality adjustable dumbbells I have presented range from less than 100€ to almost 1000€ per pair. This is indeed a budget that not everyone can spend. However, as with all sports equipment, it is better not to buy anything and to train with body weight or with elastic bands than investing in anything.
Who should do weight training with weights
Lifting weights is not a passing fad for fitness enthusiasts or a hobby for bodybuilders. Resistance training gives you the ability to numerous health benefitsfrom stimulating metabolism to improving bone density.
In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended that U.S. adults perform at least 2 strength training sessions per week. The goal of these workouts was defined as the need to produce more intense activity than the muscles are used to in order to create muscle overload.
One way to achieve this overload is to use free weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells or elastic bands. However, also consider opting for a proper diet for mass gain. Sports are not enough to gain volume 😉
You are all concerned
And don't think that these sports goals are only for young people or men. Not at all! All women and older people benefit tremendously from this kind of comprehensive training.
Of course, it's all a matter of dosage. A person over 70 probably doesn't train with the goal of progressing with each session. And most women won't be looking to lift 40 kilos with each arm...
But the benefits of resistance training are real for everyone's health.
Which modular kits are best for weight training?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends greatly on your needs.
However, the PowerBlock and Bowflex models are best for those who want to charge to the max. For everyone else, the Compacts are the most pleasant to use and the most balanced in the hand.
Is it a good investment for your home gym?
All adjustable weights have their advantages and disadvantages. However, for the majority of those who do fitness activities at home, the adjustable type dumbbell is far superior to fixed dumbbells in terms of space saving and final cost.
Contrary to what one might think at first glance, these models are financially attractive, even for quality equipment. The potential of a set of dumbbells is almost infinite for various workouts.
Why are adjustable dumbbells expensive?
Almost all bodybuilding equipment is expensive compared to many other consumer products. The reason is that they weigh a lot. Therefore, the cost of transportation is very high.
Modular dumbbells are more expensive initially because they are more technical, with fairly complex mechanisms. However, as mentioned earlier, they save money because they replace up to 15 pairs of dumbbells.
What are the heaviest modular sets?
The PowerBlock or equivalent and the Bowflex type models exceed 40 kilos each, which puts the pair at over 80 kilos.
This is more than enough for most men, even well trained men. Of course, it is possible to find even heavier models, but the volume of these weights makes them almost unusable.
How do adjustable dumbbells work?
Unlike a set of weights that you have to store on racks to find your way around, a pair of adjustable dumbbells is all you need to do all the exercises in your workout space.
They are simply adjusted by turning one or two dials like the BowFlex 552i dumbbell or the Ativafit 24kg, by turning the handle like with the Nuobell pair of dumbbells or by moving pins on the PowerBlocks pair of dumbbells.
Which adjustable dumbbell to choose?
No matter which model you prefer, each patented mechanism has its advantages and disadvantages for your weight room.
Your automatic dumbbell kit should also be tailored to your current and future physical abilities. So you need to take the time to think about your involvement and the workloads you plan to use in the future. And it will ultimately depend on your training consistency.
What are the best adjustable dumbbells?
For your home gym, there is no doubt that adjustable loads are by far the most interesting. Their many advantages include their small footprint and low final cost (when compared to a set of free weights).
Afterwards, the choice of the system must be made on the criteria of load capacity, the system of adjustment of the plates or the ergonomics of the whole. And of course, you must take into account your current budget.
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Related words: the habit of lifting up to 40 kg select the desired weight finish accessory between two exercises all types well designed
Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API