Adjustable dumbbells are a great addition to any home gym that lacks the space needed for a full dumbbell set. While not as sturdy as traditional single-weight options, these products allow users to quickly move between various weight requirements with ease, providing a nice experience for various exercises.
Adjustable dumbbell sets come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from 25 pounds to just 70 pounds, on average. Typically, they are sold as single units, requiring a dual purchase to achieve all of the workout potential you’re probably seeking.
In examining various adjustable dumbbells we decided to focus on several important aspects.
First, we wanted to see how quickly weights could be adjusted between lifts. We review many products while performing CrossFit and general interval training so speed is almost always an important part of our reviews.
Second, we examined the weight increments available, with our top three selections offering 2.5, 5, and 10-pound weight change options. With both men and women using our weight sets, the ability to change up weight increments is very important to us.
Next, we understand the importance of longevity so we looked up warranty information and checked out hundreds of user reviews to understand how well each set was holding up over time.
We also examined how bulky each unit is when lifting light and heavier weights. It was also important for us to understand the balance of each product when adjusting between 5 and 70 pounds (depending on the unit being tested).
Because we know price is important, we also assigned our winners based on the value they provide for the money. Given that a full 5 to 50 pounds traditional dumbbell set can be purchase for anywhere between $500 to $800 on average, we were cognizant of the cost associated with our winning choices.
We also note in our final product selection that part of its appeal is the ability to add on to the unit at a later time.
Here are the best adjustable dumbbells for 2021.
Top Pick: Bowflex SelectTech 552
Bowflex is known for creating popular adjustable dumbbells and the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is our top pick from the company. It also happens to be the top pick among thousands of Amazon reviews.
Bowflex allows for adjustments that range from 5 to 52½ pounds and you can adjust between 2½-pound increments up to 25 pounds and then 5 pounds thereafter. If you prefer to step-up your workouts more slowly, this is a great option.
The dials on the Bowflex require two dials to be used, making adjustments slightly slower than some other adjustable dumbbells. With that being said, the extra step helps ensure an equal weight load.
One downside to these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells is the longer 15¾-inch bars that don’t adjust down as you unload weight. Smaller people have complained about the length issue on Amazon. Check out more about these weights and see over 10,000 mostly positive user ratings here.
If you want to hold your Bowflex SelectTech552 adjustable dumbbells in style, check out this high-end stand which features an area to hold your phone or tablet.
Bowflex offers a 5-year warranty which provides a little piece of mind given the cost for these units.
Heavy Set Pick: Merax Deluxe 71.5 Pounds Adjustable Dial Dumbbells
We’re going to start out by noting that the Merax Deluxe adjustable dumbbells are listed in kilograms. Half the equipment in our gym, including our Rep Fitness kettlebells are in kilograms so it wasn’t a big concern on our part.
What reviewers have really loved about this product are the 71.5 pounds of adjustable weight and the single adjustment dial which easily released with the press of a button. If you’re performing interval training with various dumbbell weights the ability to quickly change between your desired weights is a nice perk of this product.
One odd quirk from this set is that turning the dial counterclockwise will give you kilogram loads for 5, 10, and 15kg while turning clockwise selects 7½, 12½, 17½, etc. Between the dial spins fully around, you need to be paying attention while choosing the right weight.
We don’t particularly like the 16¼ inches of space which half-an-inch bigger than the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. While the length isn’t ideal, you get an extra 20-pounds of weight on each dumbbell.
Because of recent demand, the weights have experienced a price bump to $800 which includes two weights and a stand. That’s pretty expensive considering we purchased a full 5 to 50 pound set of Rogue dumbbells for $700 + shipping. You can learn more about the Merax set and see more than 650 reviews from customers here.
We’re not overly impressed with the 2-year warranty on these dumbbells considering Bowflex offers a 5-year warranty and our next pick offers a 10-year warranty.
Most Weight Adjustment Options: PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
The PowerBlock system of dumbbells offers a unique slider that provides for weight adjustments. A big advantage of this type of system is that the weights don’t start to slide out of place over time, an issue Bowflex and Merax users have both complained about.
The Powerblock Elite adjustable dumbbells are available in both 5 to 50 pound and 5 to 70-pound options. Because of current demand, a 5 to 50-pound pair will cost you around $749.99 with free shipping. You can check current pricing from PowerBlock here. What’s really cool about this set of adjustable dumbbells is that you can buy add-ons in the future, thus helping to extend the value of the product.
The weight increments for this particular unit include: 2.5 (adder weight), 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, and 50 pounds.
There are a few issues we need to address. First, at lower weights of 5 or 10 pounds, the weights don’t feel as well balanced as traditional dumbbells. The balance is also easy to recognize when using the fine adjustment weights which increase the dumbbells weight by 2.5 pounds. Because the frame of the system remains intact, it also feels oddly bulky when you’re working with lighter weight.
Because the lower weights require a few more adjustments, it’s not as easy to adjust this unit for 2.5 and 5 pound increments, however, 10-pound increments are near instantaneous.
It’s also a bit strange to get you to placing your hand inside of the weight to grab the center of the Powerblock. Thankfully it’s a feeling you’ll overcome pretty quickly. We use Sorinex Center Mass Bells in our gym and it sort of reminded us of those units.
Keep in mind, because your hands are basically surrounded by the Powerblock, ditching the weights is harder than traditional dumbbells, just something to keep in mind when lifting for maximum reps. There are almost 1,500 user reviews for you to check out here.
By the way, Powerblock dumbbells are made in the United States and provide a solid 10-year warranty.
While we typically aim for 5 to 10 options for our top picks, we haven’t been impressed with other currently available options. Further, several lesser-known products have actually caused injury by releasing their weights during workouts. Keep in mind that even our top picks can malfunction and special care should always be taken when working out with adjustable dumbbells.