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The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are arguably the most popular adjustable dumbbells in the world. They’re quick to change, available everywhere, have a decent max weight, and are priced extremely affordably. Although I prefer other adjustables above these for various reasons, if you’re on a budget, the 552’s are a tremendous value. You’ll see why in my highly detailed Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells review.
Why You Should Trust Us
In my quest to help you find the best adjustable dumbbells for your home workouts, I have personally tested nearly 20 different products. I have in-depth reviews on a number of sets, like Powerblocks and Ironmasters.
When I test these dumbbells, I use them in my own everyday workouts: I’ll bench, do rows, presses, squats. I’ll even swing ‘em and snatch ‘em. During that process, I’m assessing factors unique to adjustable dumbbells, like how easily and quickly you can switch the weight. And of course, like with all home exercise equipment I test, I’m always looking at durability, materials used and the overall value.
Bowflex Dumbbell Review
These adjustable dumbbells replace 15 sets of weights. Weights adjust from 5 to 52.5 lbs in 2.5 lb increments up to the first 25 lbs. Easy-to-use selection dials for adjusting weights. They are sold as a pair. Easily switch from one exercise to next and with the turn of a dial you can change your resistance, enabling you to gradually increase your strength. Versatile workout for your legs, back, chest, abs, shoulders and arms. Compatible with the free Bowflex SelectTech® training App for iOS and Android. No more picking up 30 different dumbbells to give you the results you want! Say goodbye to 15 sets of dumbbells cluttering your workout space. With weight that adjusts from 5 to 52.5 lbs., you'll continue to see results as your fitness level improves. Durable molding around metal plates provides for a smooth lift-off and quieter workouts...no clanging metal plates! With the wider weight range you can do heavy exercises such as shrugs and lunges as well as lighter exercises such as curls and raises.
A Quick Look at the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
I’d be remiss to not review the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells, which are a prime example of the company’s focus on budget home gym equipment. They are extremely popular, largely because they’re priced so competitively. I love how quick they are to change in weight and how cheap they are, but there are definitely some issues with durability.
- Handle with care: The construction of these dumbbells means they shouldn’t be dropped or slammed.
- Max weight is 52.5 pounds, so look at the Bowflex SelectTech 1090s or other options if you need more.
My Favorite Things:
- Priced affordably at under $400
- Replaces 15 pairs of dumbbells
- Very quick and easy to change weight increments
- Come with dumbbell stands
- Made with a lot of plastic
- Not upgradeable
- Max out at 52.5 pounds
Are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Worth It?
Although a bit unique in their design in comparison to traditional fixed dumbbells, the Bowflex 552 Adjustable Dumbbells do a lot well when you compare them to their price and their competition. Out of all the adjustable dumbbells I’ve tested and reviewed (I currently have 12 in my garage gym and more elsewhere), I’d say that these are among the best value adjustable dumbbells for those one a budget.
Available for less than $400 (shipping costs extra), they represent compact exercise equipment that can provide a ton of fitness in a small package for a great value (which is kind of the value proposition of all adjustable dumbbells). When it comes to price, the value of the 552’s are pretty hard to beat.
All that said, you get what you pay for. At 52.5 pounds max weight, these may be too light for heavy lifters. Also, the Bowflex 552’s aren’t upgradeable. Dumbbells like Powerblocks and Ironmasters can increase in weight over time through purchasing expansion kits, but the 552s don’t offer anything like that.
Based on all that, here are my recommendations:
- People on a budget
- Those who don’t have a need for anything heavier than 52.5lb dumbbells
- Home gym owners looking to save space
Not recommended for:
- People who want to lift heavy
- Anyone who plans on dropping or otherwise abusing dumbbells
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Specs
|Weight Range||5 to 52.5lbs in each dumbbell|
|Adjustment Increments||2.5lbs up to 25lbs, then 5lb adjustments to 50lbs, then one more 2.5lb adjustment|
|Replaces||15 sets of dumbbells|
Working Out With the Bowflex SelectTech 552s
There really is a lot to like about the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells: They save space in your home gym, they are affordable, and they are easy to use.
Changing the Weight
I’ve found that most people using Bowflex dumbbells are looking more at general fitness training or bodybuilding type of movements. This makes the ability to adjust the weight quickly imperative.
Outside of the price point, the greatest feature on the 552s is the ease of adjustment. In my opinion, the only pair of dumbbells that’s easier to adjust is the NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells. On the SelectTech, it took me around 7 seconds to adjust from the base weight of 5 pounds up to the max of 52.5 pounds.
The selector dials on the ends of the dumbbells are smooth and adjust very quickly. They give an audible noise that the weight has changed that, as silly as it sounds, is extremely satisfying. I’ve found myself turning them more than necessary just because it feels and sounds good (I’m aware that’s ridiculous).
In terms of versatility, switching from various dumbbell exercises to another is pretty straightforward: all you need to do is turn the dial to make your weight selection. This quick weight adjustment allows supersets to happen much quicker than loadable dumbbells or even some other adjustable dumbbells.
One thing that SelectTechs allow that not even most dumbbell racks in commercial gyms is offering weight increments in 2.5-pound increments. To be more specific: The weights adjust in increments of 2.5 pounds from the lower weights up to 25 pounds. From 25 to 50 pounds, the weight changes in increments of 5 pounds, and then there is one last 2.5-pound change to get to the top weight of 52.5 pounds.
The ability to increase the weight in finer detail allows the trainee to increase the weight slower, prolonging an oncoming plateau on their way to their fitness goals. A primary component of strength training is linear progression, essentially adding more weight to your lifts each workout. Therefore, the more refined progression, the better.
The SelectTech series of dumbbells include the 552’s and the 1090’s. Both sit in a plastic stand that allows the excess weights that aren’t in use to be left in the tray when the dumbbells are used (just like the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell.
RELATED: Check out our list of the best kettlebells.
If the dial is placed between weight increments, the entire carriage can be moved by holding the dumbbell handle. This is ideal for those who move their equipment from, say, a closet where they store equipment to their workout area.
Again, it’s all about that convenience factor when it comes to working out from home, and you can tell that this is something Bowflex has taken into account. Placing it in the tray is pretty fast and doesn’t require a ton of time to line up after you’ve done it a few times.
At first glance, the Bowflex SelectTech 552s have a cool design and they are very compact compared to a full set of dumbbells, which means they won’t take up a lot of your workout space. Boasting a sleek red-and-black design, the dumbbells look great as well, which is always a nice touch as the equipment you enjoy looking at, will be used more often.
One thing that isn’t a dealbreaker, but you should know, is that the 552’s (as well as the 1090’s) are very bulky, even at a lighter weight. The dumbbell is the same length no matter the weight used, so it’s always pretty wide. This makes it difficult on certain movements like weight bench presses, rows, and curls. When you compare the length of the 5-pound SelectTech 552 Dumbbell and a 5-pound fixed dumbbell, it’s quite comical to see the difference.
Weights and Handle
One feature that Bowflex markets that doesn’t matter much to me, but may to you, is that the dumbbells are also quiet during use. That’s because there are no metal plates clanking together. The plates themselves are made of metal, but they are encased in a molding. This can be beneficial if you workout early in the morning and you don’t want to wake up others in the house.
The handle is about 5 inches, which is similar to fixed dumbbells and makes it feel balanced in the hand. The rubber grip on the handle ends up spinning and can be pulled off. I won’t lie: It’s very annoying. Knurling would be a marked improvement, and not the nippling “knurl” found on the 1090’s handles, as it’s no good, either.
One thing about the 552’s that we’re not fans of is the amount of plastic used, which leads to a shortened lifespan and obviously is not great in terms of the environment, either. The inside connector pieces are plastic and have shown that they can crack, potentially dropping a weight plate and causing injury, so please do be mindful regarding this. The stand is also plastic and can crack.
Because of all the plastic, the SelectTech Dumbbells will break if you drop them. Of course, no one intends to drop their dumbbells, but it can happen, especially if you’re pushing yourself. However, if you do this, they could break, and it will void your warranty.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells vs The Competition
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells vs Powerblock Dumbbells
I’m a big fan of the Powerblock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells. They are very easy to adjust, just like the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. Powerblocks in general use a unique, patented click system, which works very well. Also, the Powerblocks Elite set however goes up to 90 pounds and is upgradeable with expansion kits.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells also offer quieter use, as the Powerblocks dumbbells can rattle a little bit.
I prefer the Powerblocks Elite Set based on the heavier weight options.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells vs Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are more suitable if you’re looking for a larger weight range, as they go from 5 to 75 pounds standard. There are also additional kits available, which can bring the maximum up to 120 or 165 pounds The Ironmasters, like the 552s, have the 2.5-pound increments.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells do have the edge when it comes to affordability. Also, with the 552s, you do not need to go through the hassle of working out how much metal to add every time. However, for those who lift heavy, I recommend the Ironmasters.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells vs NUOBELL Dumbbells
What I really like about the NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells is the strong, steel construction. As a result, they are a lot more expensive than the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. Whereas the 552s max out at 52.5 pounds, the NUOBELL has a maximum weight of 80 pounds.
The NUOBELLs are also the only dumbbells that are faster to change the weight than the Bowflex 552s. I think the SelectTechs are a better value, although they’re very different dumbbells as their price points and max weight are vastly different.
I haven’t had many issues ordering and receiving products from Bowflex. The brand gives you up to six weeks to return a product if you change your mind. You can even use the product before returning, but you will only get a refund if the item isn’t damaged or in obviously used condition, so keep that in mind.
The 552s have a two-year warranty, which, in my opinion, is pretty fair. Just keep in mind that if you drop the dumbbells, you risk voiding your warranty if they break.
The SelectTech 552’s have been on the market for over a decade with thousands of positive reviews, and many people who are big fans of the design. On the Bowflex website, they have a 4.8/5 rating from more than 5,000 reviews.
The biggest criticisms come down to the quality of the materials. There are complaints of the plastic breaking, which doesn’t surprise me in the least.
Final Verdict of Our Bowflex SelectTech 552 Review
I strongly believe that the 552s are some of the best value adjustable dumbbells out there. You get 15 sets of weights for under $400, and the dial system makes adjusting the resistance easy. Keep in mind that they aren’t meant to be dropped, and they have a limited amount of weight in only going up to 52.5 pounds on each dumbbell.
Still, for a lot of people who do weight training at home, these are a great option.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell Rating
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbellsare arguably the most popular adjustable dumbbellsin the world. They’re quick to change, available everywhere, have a decent max weight, and are priced extremely affordably. Although I prefer other adjustables above these for various reasons, if you’re on a budget, the 552’s are a tremendous value, although not without some quirks.
Product Brand: Bowflex
Product Currency: $
Product Price: 399
Product In-Stock: InStock
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells FAQs
Are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells worth it?
Priced under $400, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells present a great value for a full body workout. They adjust easily, feel balanced in the hand and replace 15 sets of dumbbells. I will say that they don’t have the highest quality construction, but as long as you take care of them, they should last you a few years.
How does the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell feel versus a traditional dumbbell?
Fixed dumbbells are a lot more compact and are quieter to use. The 552’s aren’t as well balanced as they’re a lot longer than fixed dumbbells, like the REP Rubber Hex Head Dumbbells in my garage gym, but you’ll get used to it after a few workouts.
How heavy do the Bowflex 552 Dumbbells go?
The weights can be adjusted from 5 to 52.5 pounds.
Is the handle of the 552 grippy?
Yes, the handle on these free weights features a rubber grip. However, do be mindful that the grip is prone to ending up spinning and can be pulled off. I would prefer metal knurling like is found on a barbell.
What weight increments are possible with the Bowflex 552 Dumbbell?
There are 15 different weight options from 5 to 52.5 pounds. You can find your desired weight in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds. After this, the increments are 5 pounds.
Are the Bowflex SelectTech 552s durable?
To a degree; they are made from plastic, which shortens their lifespan, so you do need to be mindful of this when using the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. However, I would avoid dropping them at all costs and if you treat them carefully, they should prove to last a long time. Do expect some scuffs and scratches on the plastic weights that attach to the handles though. The dumbbell stand is also plastic, so replace the weights carefully.
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