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Investing in any of the best adjustable dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym. Not only are they an incredibly more space-saving alternative to owning an entire dumbbell set in different weights, but they’re also a more cost-efficient option.

Understandably, not every home gym owner is going to have the space or the budget for an entire weight set. That’s where the adjustable dumbbell comes in. Within seconds, you can transform a 10-pound dumbbell into a 20-pound, 30-pound, or heavier one to match your workout. Plus, you can easily store them away without taking up much space at all.

We Know Adjustable Dumbbells

Over the past eight years, our testers have used and reviewed 17 of some of the best adjustable dumbbells and adjustable dumbbell sets on the market. We look at things like how quickly the weight change happens, how the equipment feels in the hand, and what the weight range is.

Also, our testers don’t simply use the dumbbells once. We have spent years interacting with adjustable dumbbells, using them in our own everyday workouts. Coop has personally been using adjustable dumbbells for nearly a decade.

If you’re looking for standard dumbbells, check out our post on the best dumbbells.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2023

Video Review

Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall: NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: Someone seeking high-quality, fast-changing weights with a sleek design

Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall

NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • All-in-one adjustable dumbbell
  • Weight ranges from 5 to 80 lbs d
  • Easy to use
  • Great durability

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Feels like a regular dumbbell in hand
  • Easy quick-change adjustments
  • Knurled handle
  • Comes with a stand

Cons

  • Can be tricky to get in the stand
  • Unsure of structural integrity
  • Pricey

Bottom Line

These are great for people who want an easily adjustable dumbbell pair that feels more like a traditional fixed dumbbell

NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells are the best of a new breed of space-saving dumbbells. They consistently had the fastest recorded times for changing weights. In just a matter of seconds, you can change from 5 pounds up to 80 pounds. I tested, trained with, and reviewed the NUOBELL’s in-depth.

To be honest, I was reluctant to order these because of all the plastic. Plastic opens the door for durability issues. However, after using these for a while myself, I can say they are well-built and aesthetically pleasing. The flat pancake plate design really sets these apart from other similar products on the market because it gives it a more natural feel than some of its competitors.

Coop being amazed at Nuobell dumbbells

In addition to being quick to change, the NUOBELLs are some of the most familiar feeling dumbbells I’ve used. Due to the use of metal plates and an uncaged handle design, if you closed your eyes during say, a bench press, you wouldn’t even know you were using adjustable. This is highly appealing for those who don’t want to deal with more square-shaped blocks like Powerblocks or Bowflex SelectTech’s that are extremely wide even at lighter weights.

Unlike many dumbbell sets that use contoured handles with rubber or foam grips, the NUOBELLs use a barbell-type handle with a surprisingly aggressive knurled finish. This handle makes this dumbbell set really appealing to people who normally do barbell exercises because you will get to train with the same feeling you’re used to. Most rubber hex-head dumbbells use a contoured handle with some knurling, but I think many will grow to like the straight handle on these.

Due to all the plastic, this is not a set of adjustable dumbbells I would suggest dropping from even a couple of inches off the ground. Also, I don’t love that these lack upgradability (max weight is 80 pounds with no way to go higher in the future). But if you don’t need more than 80 pounds in each hand, these could be a great option.

For more, read my full NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells review.

Specs
Weight range5 to 80 lbs
Change increments5 lbs
Weight options5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 lbs
Replaces16 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size17″ L x 7.5″ H x 7.5” W

Best User-Friendly Adjustable Dumbbells: PowerBlock Elite Series Dumbbells

Good for: Those seeking a durable, high-weight option that are easy to use

Best User-Friendly

PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Change the weight in 2.5- or 5-lb increments
  • Up to 70 lbs per hand
  • Add extension kits for up to 90 lbs per hand
  • Extremely durable

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can change weight in increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds
  • Weight goes up to 90 pounds with add-ons
  • More durable than most adjustable dumbbells

Cons

  • Rectangular shape might throw some people off
  • Returns subject to 20% restocking fee
  • Not as comfortable as using fixed dumbbells

Bottom Line

Ideal for people seeking a durable adjustable dumbbell option that has a high weight capacity.

The PowerBlock Elite Series offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any adjustable dumbbell I have tested. PowerBlocks have been one of my favorites since I built my first garage gym nearly a decade ago. There are three reasons they are largely considered the best adjustable dumbbells: they’re quick to change, they have a wide range of weight capacity, and they’re as durable as any dumbbell we’ve tested, including many fixed dumbbells.

Although these adjustable dumbbells don’t have the same appearance as standard dumbbells, you may nevertheless use one of them to hold 16 different weights. Additionally, because of their square design, they can be conveniently stored and piled in a garage or apartment corner without taking up much room.

I like that the weight can be quickly changed in 2.5- to 5-pound increments and can go up to 90 pounds with added accessories. They are compact and priced extremely competitively to others on the market, coming in at $419 for the pair for up to 50 pounds. To get up to 70 or 90 pounds, you have to pay for extra accessories at $189 each.

RELATED: Powerblock Coupon

A magnetic selector pin changes the weight quickly for a 10-pound jump. If you want to adjust in 2.5-pound increments (something that few adjustable dumbbells offer and 99% of commercial gyms don’t even offer), you slide out the selector pin, pull out the handle, and slide in one of the metal cylinders, and then reverse the process. As a result, these micro-adjustments take a little longer than the 10-pound changes.

In terms of durability, I’ve never had a PowerBlock handle come apart from the weight stack, and the pin has always stayed in thanks to the magnets, even on movements like snatches during metcons. Lastly, the value that the PowerBlock Elite Set offers is the best in the industry. This is one of the only made in the USA adjustable dumbbells on the market and is extremely affordable when compared to its competition.

For most people, the biggest issue with PowerBlocks is the shape. They’re a rectangle, which can be an annoyance to some, especially those that haven’t used them much. Also, the caged handle means your wrist may touch the posts on the bell. Although the posts are comfortable due to the foam that encases them, it’s different than many are used to.

Read our full PowerBlock Dumbbells review here.

Specs
Weight range5 to 50 lbs (extension kits available for 70 and 90 lb options)
Change increments2.5 lbs
Weight options2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50
Replaces16 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size12″L x 6″ W x 6″ H

Best Heavy Weight Adjustable Dumbbells: Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: People who want heavyweight in the feel of a traditional dumbbell

Best Heavy Weight Adjustable Dumbbells

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Quickly adjustable in under 15 seconds
  • Adjustable from 5 to 75 lbs
  • Patented quick-lock design 
  • Includes a stand

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Shaped like a traditional dumbbell
  • Quick-Lock system makes weights are easy and quick to change
  • Lock does hold tight
  • Comes with a stand
  • Change weights in 2.5-lb increments
  • Weight range 5 to 75 lbs
  • Knurled handles
  • Compact design
  • Flat ends make for ease in resting weights on legs
  • Fits a number of accessories like fat grip adapters and kettlebell handles
  • Plates marked in kgs and lbs

Cons

  • Not quite as easy to change as other options
  • Priced just under $900
  • Cast iron plates could crack if dropped
  • Not designed for movements like snatches

Bottom Line

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are some of the best adjustable dumbbells available. I personally prefer Powerblocks due to how quickly the weight can adjust, however, there are many who prefer Ironmasters and for good reasons. They're the most similar adjustable dumbbell to traditional fixed dumbbells, they have a wide weight increment range, and they're priced very affordably. If you own a home gym and want a set of dumbbells that doesn't take up a ton of space, Ironmasters are a great option.

If you want a more traditional feeling dumbbell, then the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System is what I’d recommend. Ironmasters can go up to 165 pounds, use metal weight plates, and although they aren’t the quickest to change, the Quick-Lock System is very smart. I call these the Lifter’s Adjustable Dumbbells as they feel most similar to a fixed dumbbell and have the look and feel of an old-school weight room.

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are known for their durability. In fact, when I asked our Home Gym Community Group what they thought about Ironmasters, nearly everyone that had them remarked on how tough they were. It makes sense as they are made entirely from steel and iron. The handles are chrome plated, and each weight plate is machined and precision cast to ensure a tight fit. They look great, feel great, and can be relied on for years of use thanks to their quality construction materials.

With the ends of Ironmaster dumbbells being flat it is easy to rest them on your quads before starting a set in order to increase stability. Loadable dumbbells can’t really compete with this because they will dig into your legs, which makes working out on the floor unsafe. The square weights also make the workout go quicker as they don’t roll around all over the place when set on the floor.

RELATED: Best Home Gym Flooring

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are also a great tool for those looking to do goblet squats and french presses. These workouts are more difficult to manage with other adjustable dumbbells due to a caged system or how the plates are secured. The balance and feel of Ironmasters, which is really only able to be experienced during a weight lifting session, is a more similar feeling to normal dumbbells than most other adjustable.

The stand-out feature that makes the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell special is the Quick-Lock adjustment system. The rod that holds the weights in place can quickly be removed is what separates these from other spin-lock dumbbells. They aren’t as quick to change as others on our list and they do require you to do some mental math similar to a barbell and weights, but the grooved rod that slides in and out quickly is amazing.

Editor’s Note: Due to high demand and limited supply, Ironmaster has a lottery process each month for interested customers.

To hear more, check out my in-depth Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells review.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Beginners: FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: People who need moderate weight from easy-to-use dumbbells

Best for Beginners

FLYBIRD 55-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 3.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Clear and easy-to-use dial that allows you to change weights with just one hand
  • Weight ranges from 11 to 55 lbs per dumbbell
  • 11-pound change increments
  • Textured handle and cast iron weight plates

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use
  • High-quality
  • Enhanced safety features
  • Feel comfortable in your hand
  • Safe spacing
  • Quickly adjust with a dial

Cons

  • 11-pound increments for weight change is a big jump in weight

Bottom Line

The FLYBIRD 55-pound Adjustable Dumbbells have a decent weight range of 11 to 55 pounds. They are easy to use and affordable but, with an 11-pound incremental weight jump, they are not a great choice for beginners or those who train with lighter weights.

We spent a decent amount of time testing the FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells and found them to be great for those just starting out with lifting weights, or those who lift moderate weights.

With a traditional dumbbell shape, the FLYBIRDs are ideal for those not ready to take on the boxy design of something like PowerBlock. Also, the adjustment process is simple: The dumbbells come with a tray where you place the weight, line up the plates, twist the handle to the weight you want, listen for the “click,” and pick up the dumbbell.

I like that you can buy just one dumbbell at a time if you’d like. While there are many advantages to getting two, and I’d recommend getting two weights for more versatility in your workout, I know some people new to lifting may feel more comfortable easing into the process.

Flybird Adjustable Dumbells being lifted from base

The handles are made of plastic, not knurled steel. For the experienced lifter, this may be jarring initially. However, for the beginner, this could be a welcome design for those unaccustomed to the feel of knurling.

It’s key to point out that on the 55-pound dumbbell, the weight changes in 11-pound increments. That’s a tad unusual, and could be a big jump for a beginner. The 25-pound weight, however, comes with 5-pound jumps, which is much more beginner-friendly.

Read my in-depth FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell Review.

Specs
Weight range5 to 25 lbs or 11 to 55 lbs
Change increments5 or 11 lbs
Weight options11, 22, 33, 44, 55 lbs
Replaces5 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size16.1” L x 7.9” W x 6.9” H

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: The budget-conscious crowd who still want a usable adjustable dumbbell

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Replace 15 sets of weights
  • Weights adjust from 5 to 52 lbs
  • Extremely affordable at $329/pair
  • Weight adjustments in 2.5-lb increments

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Replace 15 sets of weights
  • Weights adjust from 5 to 52 lbs
  • Extremely affordable at $329/pair
  • Weight adjustments in 2.5-lb increments
  • One of the fastest changing dumbbells on the market
  • Come with a stand

Cons

  • Max weight is 52.5 pounds
  • Wide footprint remains the same at any weight
  • Not meant to be dropped

Bottom Line

If you want affordable adjustable dumbbells, the Bowflex pair are a great option. Although they don't get very heavy, they are a great option for beginners and those who do not need more than 52.5 lbs per hand.

The dumbbells most synonymous with having weights that adjust are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, primarily due to their price. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells adjust quickly and feel balanced in hand during various resistance training sessions while coming in under $350 shipped to your door. Even if they don’t go extremely heavy (max 52.5 pounds) and are rather wide, they still offer a lot of value based on their quality.

RELATED: Best Budget Home Equipment

The SelectTech Dumbbell Series is all built around the dial system that is placed on the ends of every single dumbbell. The SelectTech Dials are both reliable and quick to change making the 552’s only second to the NUOBELL’s in their speed of weight adjustment. We’re very used to this adjustment system as we’ve used it in our Bowflex 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review.

Numerous dynamic exercises you can perform with your new dumbbells are included in the compatible BowFlex SelectTech app, along with six targeted routines, a six-week weight-training program, and a digital notebook. It’s a very helpful software, and the cost of free is indisputable.

You can also check out our best kettlebells or best adjustable kettlebells guides here.

Coop with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells adjust by 2.5 pounds every click of the dial for the first 25 pounds, and then 5-pound changes thereafter, which allows you to increase the weight slower, extending your plateau window. A primary component of strength training and building muscle mass is progressive overload and linear progression.

Being able to, literally, dial in the weight to minute amounts is a great feature, especially on movements that are harder to increase on like lateral raises, tricep kickbacks, or back exercises.

RELATED: Best Back Workouts

My dislikes with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are their lack of durability (“DO NOT DROP” is etched into the side of the dumbbells,) their lack of upgradability (52.5 pounds is their max weight), and their width at every weight increment. Regardless of if you’re at 5 pounds or 52.5 pounds, they’re going to be the same width, which can cause them to hit each other and shorten your range of motion on movements like curls and overhead press.

Side Note: The Bowflex 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell Set was introduced after the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells as an answer to users’ requests for a heavier option. They use the same selector dial system to change between weights and even have a similar cradle. However, the 1090s are large and may be cumbersome. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells offer a great value and a good dumbbell at lighter weights, but I think the 1090s are too large and overpriced compared to their competition.

Check out my full and in-depth Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells review.

Specs
Weight range5 to 52.5 lbs
Change increments2.5 lbs
Weight options5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 lb
Replaces15 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size‎15.75″ L x 8″ W x 9″ H

Best Loadable Dumbbell: Rogue DB-15 Loadable Dumbbells

Good for: People who want to kick it old school with existing Olympic plates

Best Loadable Dumbbell

Rogue Loadable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Additional Olympic change plates necessary
  • Long loadable sleeve length
  • Solid construction

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Use your existing weight plates
  • Long, 6.75-in loadable sleeve
  • Same quality as Rogue Ohio Bar

Cons

  • $270 for a pair
  • Weights not included in price
  • Can buy in a package with weighted collars

Bottom Line

These handles are a great option for people who have change plates already.

Adjustable weights aren’t limited to proprietary designs. Loadable dumbbells use the Olympic plates you already own and use regularly on your barbells and can go as heavy as you could ever lift. The best loadable dumbbell I’ve used and has a reasonable cost is the Rogue DB-15 Loadable Dumbbell.

Rogue Fitness makes, by and large, the best Olympic barbells for most people, and the Rogue DB-15 Loadable dumbbell is essentially a miniature version of a Rogue Ohio Bar. The best feature of a loadable dumbbell is the fact that they are adjustable weights that use the iron weight plates you already own and are used to using in your dumbbell exercises. This makes them typically much cheaper to get started with than other adjustable dumbbells on our list thanks to a lower upfront cost for the majority of home gym owners.

Best Loadable Dumbbell: Rogue DB-15 Loadable Dumbbells

The other feature is that they can go as heavy as you’d like. I’ve done rows with upwards of 150 pounds with loadable dumbbells, and there’s still room to spare. The Rogue DB-15 Loadable dumbbell has a longer weight sleeve than most other loadable dumbbells which has its pros and cons, but I think many will appreciate the extra length.

As the name suggests, the Rogue DB-15 Loadable dumbbell weighs in at 15 pounds with collars or 10 pounds without and can utilize the Rogue dumbbell bumpers, although I think they’re oversized for most trainees. The rotation system on the adjustable Rogue dumbbells uses bronze bushings which are proven to perform and be long-lasting, although I would recommend using some 3-in-1 oil in the sleeves on occasion.

The biggest downside to the Rogue DB-15 dumbbell from Rogue Fitness is the price. These are made in the USA using high tensile strength steel and high-quality components. If you want a cheaper, lower-quality option, we recommend the Titan Fitness 20-IN Olympic Dumbbell Handle that comes in a pair for less than a single Rogue dumbbell.

Check out my Rogue DB-15 Loadable Dumbbell review.

Specs
Weight range6.75″ of loadable sleeve length
Change incrementsn/a
Weight optionsUnlimited, based on your change plates
ReplacesAs many sets as your change plates allow
Dumbbell size20.5″ long
Specs
Weight range5 to 75 lbs (up to 165 with expansion kit)
Change increments2.5 lbs
Weight options5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5, 55, 57.5, 60, 62.5, 65, 67.5, 70, 72.5, 75
Replaces24 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size14.5″ L x 6.7″ W x 6.7″ H

Best Adjustable Dumbbell Set: PowerBlock Pro Dumbbells

Good for: People who want a lot of weight options but want to save space

Best Adjustable Dumbbell Set

PowerBlock Pro Series Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Easy to use
  • Accounts for 28 pairs of dumbbells and 2,565 lbs of free weights
  • Changes in 2.5-lb-increments from 5 to 50 lbs
  • Cageless handle

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Accounts for 28 pairs of dumbbells and 2,565 lbs of free weights
  • Weight range 5 to 50 lbs
  • Cageless handle
  • Purchase add-ons for up to 70 or 90 lbs per hand
  • Weight changes in 2.5-increments

Cons

  • Cost upward of $500/pair
  • Expansion packs cost extra
  • Rubber grip on handle opposed to knurled steel

Bottom Line

PowerBlock is a name we know and trust in adjustable dumbbells. These are a fantastic option for people who want 50 to 90 lbs per hand for in adjustable dumbbells.

If you want an upgrade and don’t mind the price, the Pro EXP Powerblocks look great and have a cageless handle that feels more similar to a traditional dumbbell set. The Pro EXP is an upgrade to the PowerBlock Elite series mentioned above in that the plates are covered in urethane, providing for a quieter workout. The 2.5-pound weight changes up to 20 pounds mean you can get a lot of weight in. In fact, if you add on the 70- and 90-pound expander kits, at $199 each, the EXP replaces up to 28 dumbbells.

I’ve talked about this ad nauseam, but I would love it if Powerblock would offer a knurled handle for the Elite Series as an option. In fact, I’ve talked and asked them so much I think soon they’ll just give in and give the people what they want. At least I hope this is the case.

There is one Powerblock model that I’m not a big fan of and that is the 175-pound commercial dumbbell set. It’s awesome they can create a dumbbell that goes up to 175 pounds, however, the dumbbell is so large that it both looks and feels comical. For university weight rooms where 300-pound football linemen are training, it probably makes sense, but for most home gym owners, I’d suggest avoiding them.

Specs
Weight range5 to 50 lbs
Change increments2.5 lbs
Weight options2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 27.5, 30, 32.5, 35, 37.5, 40, 42.5, 45, 47.5 and 50 lbs
Replaces20 sets of dumbbells
Dumbbell size13″L x 7” W x 7.25″ H

How We Tested Adjustable Dumbbells

Each model is tested by our testers based on its versatility and how well it performed during training. This means that among many other movements, we performed lunges, alternating curls, hammer curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, single leg RDLs, and bench presses on a weight bench. To help you choose the best adjustable dumbbells for your home training needs, our testers spent time lifting each model.

adjustable dumbbells descriptions
We have testing spreadsheets like this where we track and compare equipment; giving us the ability to see how each piece stacks up against the others.

Everyone trains differently and has different fitness levels, so it’s important to note how each dumbbell feels during each movement and how it differs from others, and what they’re trying to mimic: fixed dumbbells. Personally, when I was testing the equipment, I asked myself if the shape of the dumbbell limited range of motion, if they felt unbalanced or uncomfortable, or if we closed our eyes, would we know we were using a dumbbell substitute?

In addition to the host of training exercises, we did the following:

  • Weighed each dumbbell at various increments to see how accurate to the stated weight they were
  • Timed weight changes
  • Dynamic movements to see how the weights felt
  • Drop tests: Could dumbbells withstand being dropped (spoiler alert: don’t ever drop any of these, they aren’t meant to be dropped)
different adjustable dumbbells for testing

Adjustable Dumbbells Benefits

The initial sticker price of adjustable dumbbells might shock you. However, if you pick the right pair, you might find that adjustable dumbbells are some of the most worthwhile workout equipment you can own.

Benefits of Traditional Dumbbells

Dumbbell training, in general, is extremely effective, whether you’re looking to build muscle mass, do a HIIT cardio workout or burn fat. People use dumbbells for a number of reasons, including:

  • Unilateral work identifies and eliminates imbalances
  • Increased muscle stabilization
  • Countless exercises for the upper body, lower body, and core muscle groups
  • Greater range of movement and variability in the exercise

Space-Savers

The most obvious plus to an adjustable dumbbell is that it saves an enormous amount of space. If you own a home gym, you probably already know that space fills up quickly. A traditional dumbbell set easily takes up substantial floor or shelving space. With adjustable dumbbells, you can get between six and 30 dumbbells in the footprint of just one pair.

Cost-Effective

Purchasing an entire set of dumbbells can put a serious dent in your wallet. Depending on which adjustable dumbbell set you pick, you can save a significant amount of money by essentially buying 12 pairs at once.

Durability

For the most part, adjustable dumbbells are built to withstand a lot of wear and tear. The quality ones use iron and steel to form a solid, nearly indestructible piece of equipment. Typical rubber hex dumbbells, alternatively, are prone to more damage.

What to Consider in an Adjustable Dumbbell

Since 2013, we’ve researched, tested, and reviewed nearly every adjustable dumbbell with some semblance of quality that’s available. This includes the most budget-friendly, low weight capacity, imported models all the way to the stainless steel, made-in-the-USA dumbbells with a 175-pound weight capacity.

In addition to my own training and testing, I’ve leaned on the collective opinions of the most die-hard home gym equipment owners in the known universe, our Facebook Home Gym Community.

In all this lifting of metal and plastic, I’ve found the things that are important and those which are not. There are certain features marketed by companies to sell their products that, in all honesty, provide little, if any benefit to the user. In all this testing, I’ve found the following criteria to be the most important to look for in adjustable dumbbells:

Weight

Fixed dumbbells range in weight from 2.5 pounds all the way to 300 pounds or more. Few trainees need above 100 pounds for dumbbell movements and if they do use more, they’re often using them for only a couple of movements. For this reason, an adjustable dumbbell’s ability to get as close to 100 pounds without being grossly oversized is important.

Dumbbells that can have a higher amount of weight added are even better, although not useful for most. Our favorite adjustable dumbbells allow you to grow the size and weight of your dumbbell over time.

RELATED: Barbells vs Dumbbells

Material

More durable materials like metal and nylon are superior to cheap and thin plastics for the longevity and safety of the trainee. Although it’s usually not wise to drop dumbbells, if you do, you better hope it’s made with a lot of heavy-duty metal as opposed to plastic. Metal weight sets are superior in durability.

Warranty

Gym equipment breaks. Barbells end up bending, bumper plates fold, kettlebell handles separate from the bell, and adjustable dumbbells can, and do break. The longer the warranty period and the more generous the use cases of a warranty, the better.

However, a warranty is only as good as the company servicing it. If a company isn’t going to be around for long, then a lifetime warranty will do you no good, so we factor in the lifecycle of the company making the dumbbells.

RELATED: Kettlebells vs Dumbbells

Price

Home gym exercise equipment is not an income-producing asset like the equipment bought by a commercial gym. For this reason and others, the price and, more importantly, the value of the adjustable dumbbells are extremely important.

Adjustable Dumbbells on a rack

The holy grail for adjustable dumbbells lies in the $500 to $700 range for expandable adjustable dumbbells with a high weight capacity, less and more cost-effective for lower weight increments. Cheaper adjustable weight dumbbells will prove to be more likely to get damaged because they likely sacrifice the kind of materials used.

Weight Indicator Readout

Is it easy to tell what weight you’re using? Does it require you to do mental math that can slow down your workout? Check out the labeling on the product. Some dials are simply in “sizes” of 1-10, and you have to do the math to figure out how much is on the bell. Other weight changes are clearly marked

Balance in Hand

Trainees who come from a commercial gym with access to a full fixed dumbbell set up often remark on how awkward certain dumbbells that adjust can feel. This is true, but only for certain dumbbells, and this often goes away after a few workouts. Balance in the hand is important so the user can focus on the lift instead of their safety.

Unit Size

Typically, the more compact a dumbbell is, the more it costs. Take Watson Dumbbells, for instance, the gold standard in the fixed dumbbell world. They’re as compact as humanly possible while relying on stainless steel instead of cast iron. The reason this is so nice is that it prevents the dumbbell from interfering with the movements.

Also, when it comes to home fitness, minimizing the space your equipment uses is often a priority. You can still find adjustable dumbbells with a maximum weight capacity that save you space because they literally put multiple pairs of weights into just one set.

RELATED: Compact Exercise Equipment

Durability

By and large, adjustable dumbbells shouldn’t be dropped. However, when hitting the end of your rep range or maxing out, it can be hard to set the dumbbell set down carefully. The ability to be dropped without breaking is something we consider when testing and something you should be aware of before purchasing.

Efficiency

If you plan on doing any sort of isolation or bodybuilding movements that involve supersets, being able to change the dumbbells quickly is an important feature. We timed how long it takes to go from the minimum weight to the maximum for all of the dumbbells and recorded the times.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells FAQs

Who makes the best adjustable dumbbell?

This is somewhat of a hard question to answer. However, what I can say is that I think the Powerblock Elite Series are the best pair of adjustable dumbbells for most people. If you want cheaper and less weight, go with Bowflex SelectTech 552’s. If you want more weight and a more typical dumbbell experience, go with Ironmasters.

Is it worth buying adjustable dumbbells?

Anything with adjustable weights has its downsides. However, for 99% of trainees working out at home, adjustable dumbbells are vastly superior to fixed dumbbells for their space and cost savings.

Why are adjustable dumbbells so expensive?

Nearly all gym equipment is expensive when compared to many other consumer products. The reason being is due to the size and weight of the items. What gym equipment lacks in technology, it makes up for it in other areas. Adjustable dumbbells are so expensive because they have rather complex weight-changing mechanisms, require a lot of weight, and are therefore expensive to ship.

Despite their expense, they’re much cheaper than the comparable standard dumbbells that are found in most commercial gyms. You can certainly find cheap adjustable dumbbells on Amazon, but I don’t recommend a lot of those inexpensive brands because they are likely to break.

Overall, keep an eye out for good deals during specific times of the year, such as Black Friday or Labor Day.

What are the heaviest adjustable dumbbells?

The adjustable dumbbells that can go the heaviest are the Powerblock Commercial Pro 175’s which can go up to 175 pounds. I have a set of these and although they go that heavy, I wouldn’t recommend them for most as they’re enormous. Almost comical to be honest. For most people, the Ironmasters that go up to 165 LB are a better option at heavier weights.

The Competition

Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells: These are great. The problem is that they can’t be dropped and take a long time to change in comparison to Ironmasters. That said, we do recommend them, especially to those that want a spin-lock style dumbbell with a great handle. Be sure to also check out our DIY Concrete Dumbbells guide here.

NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell: With the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell, you get 15 pairs of weights between 10 and 55 pounds, which is essentially a full rack for just under $600. You also get storage trays and a 30-day free trial of iFit strength programming, which is pretty cool if you need some guidance. The dumbbells appear to adjust similarly to the Bowflex SelectTech, and they also appear to be made of the same materials (lots of plastic). I’m excited to test these soon to see if they make a good budget-friendly option. Of note: do not store these in your garage. NordicTrack will not honor your warranty if you do.

HAVAK Adjustable Triad: These are somewhat underground adjustable dumbbells featuring three different handles at different diameters to increase grip strength. I’m a big fan of these, but they’re a very different weight option from what else is out there and are honestly in a somewhat separate category.

MX55 Rapid Change Dumbbell System: These are great and compact; however, they don’t have add-on extension kits available. We do like how quickly they change and how balanced they are.

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells: I have yet to get my hands on these. At first glance, there are a lot of options: Singles pairs up to 105 pounds and even sets that come with a connector that changes the dumbbell into a barbell. The loadable plates are cast iron, and the handle is chrome. They are priced incredibly low–a 60-pound pair sells for just over $60. That signals to me that there may be quality issues, but I’ll report back after testing them.

NiceC Adjustable Dumbbell: The NiceC Adjustable Dumbbell is a two-in-one where the loadable dumbbells can turn into a barbell. The weight options range from a 22- to 88-pound barbell with corresponding dumbbells of 11- to 44-pound pairs. However, the “barbell” doesn’t really resemble a barbell because it just connects the two already-loaded dumbbells, so there are plates essentially in the middle of the bar. The price point is a little more expensive than the Yes4Alls, but I need to get my hands on these before I assess the quality. This could potentially be a good option for people who want to do light resistance training at home without a huge investment. 

BaadAss Adjustable Dumbbells: BaadAss Adjustable Dumbbells and Pepin Dumbbells are very similar in style. The big difference is that BaadAss is practically indestructible, however, they have a worse fit and finish in their current iteration and cost more. I hope BaadAss improves some of the parts of their dumbbells and if done, I think they could end up better than Pepins.

Further reading

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Reebok CrossFit Nano 7 Review

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Our ProForm Performance 400 Treadmill review takes a look at this now-discontinued machine and offers alternatives. Read more

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Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells Review 2023: A Tremendous Loadable Dumbbell

The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbellsare a good value adjustable dumbbell set that hits the mark in a lot of areas. The knurling is great, the machining is precise and consistent, the chrome plating is quality, and the plates are fantastic. We initially didn't recommend them due to a potential safety issue. However, despite the Pepin's not being recommended to be dropped, they've improved the design and we feel confident enough in the updated design to now recommend them. Read more

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Nike Metcon 3 Shoes Review

The Nike Metcon 3 Training Shoes are some of the most popular CrossFit training shoes on the market, and for good reason. These are some of the best training shoes available; they also look great as well. Read more