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If you’re looking to add a set of adjustable dumbbells to your home gym that look and feel like traditional dumbbells, then the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are probably the best option. There are certainly other adjustable dumbbells we prefer for various purposes, such as Powerblocks, however, the ability to go very heavy and have the look and feel of fixed dumbbells is unique to Ironmasters. After testing and reviewing Ironmasters over the past couple of years, we do recommend them, although certainly with some caveats.
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are, like all adjustable dumbbells, the better choice for a home gym in comparison to a full set of dumbbells as they take up little space. They’re affordable, though not the cheapest available, with a high maximum weight. They have a traditional dumbbell shape with knurled handles, are quite durable, have a very unique and useful Quick-Lock adjustment system and are overall a great pair of adjustable dumbbells.
Also, since Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells are popular among those in the home gym community, the brand has come out with various accessories such as kettlebell handles, stands, and other optional attachments which increase their versatility.
Although I still don’t think they measure up to the Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells in every use case, after testing, reviewing, and using nearly all other options on the market, I can say that the Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells hold their own against their competitors and for certain home gym owners, they may be the best option.
Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells are dumbbells whose weight can be adjusted via their patented Quick-Lock design. Their weight can be increased in 2.5 lb increments, which is something that most other dumbbells, even adjustables are unable to do. As with other adjustable dumbbells, they pack away neatly so as to save precious space in a home gym.
What sets these dumbbells apart is that they have a large weight range (5 lbs to 75 lbs, with additional kits bringing the maximum up to 120lbs and 165 lbs) that comes in smaller-than-usual increments of 2.5 lbs. For those trying to improve their fitness at home, this is a pretty budget-friendly option. Those into strength-training will find this a better fit than some of the alternative options, as the maximum weight can reach pretty impressive amounts.
The Ironmasters also feel incredibly similar to a fixed dumbbell, and many (myself included) prefer their knurled handles to the rubber-coated ones seen on Powerblocks and Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells. Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells also come in a heavy-duty stand that is very compact. The stand also offers extra storage for any other loose pieces, like straps and handles in a home gym that might need to be kept away.
Dumbbells are an extremely versatile piece of equipment and being able to change the weight quickly without taking up a ton of space is paramount for anyone who trains in a home gym or garage gym. I’ve either used or owned every set of Powerblocks that are out there (currently have four sets,) and other competitors like Bowflex and Ironmaster as well. We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells as they’re a competitor for Powerblocks and one of the best options available for home gym owners trying to save space with their dumbbells.
I’ve used Ironmasters at various times over the past few years. I can say that their best feature is that, like all adjustable dumbbells, they take up such little room compared to a traditional set of dumbbells. However, these go up to 75 lbs of weight (not as much as Powerblocks, but more on that later) and with the additional kit, all the way up to 165 lbs. That would be an insane amount of weight to ship as individual dumbbells (around 2,500 lbs) which would cost a fair sum of money. Adjustable dumbbells are really the best option for home gyms, although I have both in my garage gym (Why? Because I can.)
Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells come with 2.5 lb increments, which is a nice little thoughtful touch by Ironmaster, who have taken into consideration that sometimes 5 lb jumps are too much. Although not the fastest, the plates are reasonably quick to change. I will say, although they can adjust in 2.5 LB increments, they will feel a bit uneven as one side will weigh more than the other at the 2.5 LB increments.
The Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells are made entirely from steel and iron; the handles are chrome plated, and each weight plate is hand-machined and precision cast. The plates do not rattle together as they do not have loose tolerances. They look great and feel great. In comparison to a lot of their competitors, even Powerblock, that uses plastic and rubber, it’s quite nice knowing these will last a long time.
Ironmaster has been around for a while (since the 1970s) and do all their designing in the United States, although they manufacture overseas.
They do also come with a lifetime guarantee, which is always good.
The ends of Ironmasters are flat, making it easy to rest them on your quads before starting a set of bench press or shoulder press. Loadable dumbbells can’t really compete with this as they will dig into your legs. The square weights also make working on the floor safer as they are stable and don’t roll.
At heavier weights for things like rows and really heavy presses, Ironmasters are the best I’ve used as far as adjustable dumbbells go. They feel the most like a traditional dumbbell and the knurling, although not perfect, is a nice touch for a dumbbell.
In fact, I’m not the only one that likes Ironmasters. My internet friend Brandon Campbell Diamond favors Ironmasters over all other adjustable dumbbells. Although I’d disagree with him slightly, his arguments are sound even if he trains in a basement gym.
As with all dumbbells, there are definitely downsides in this Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells Review. Their patented Quick-Lock design is not as quick as you’d assume. They aren’t slow to change, they have a great design; the plates are simply a bit of a hassle to load on and off, especially when working with different weights in the same session.
Everytime you go to change the weights, you also have to do mental math to decide how much weight is on the handle. This is similar to an Olympic Barbell, but due to the plates being smaller, it’s a bit more time-consuming. More friction between the trainee and reaching their goal of improving their fitness means they're less likely to use them.
This problem really only presents itself if you’re trying to superset multiple movements with different weights. If you plan on supersetting very often, I probably wouldn’t recommend Ironmasters, to be honest.
Speaking of plates, the heavier the plates are, the more awkward it is to use the dumbbells due to the long handle. At a heavier weight, the dumbbells are fine for simpler exercises like snatches and rows, but can be a bit unwieldy for things like presses. The handle is about 6.5” long, which is over an 1.5” longer than traditional dumbbells. If you have very large hands, that’s fine, but for most, it’s a bit of a nuisance.
The tight-locking screw that secures the plates together is good, but inevitably gets looser with enough use and if you drop the dumbbells.
One part of the Ironmasters that I haven’t seen many people talk about is the stand that comes along with them. It’s nice that they include a stand, however, the quality on the stand is quite bad. Racking weights on the stand gives me absolutely zero confidence. The walls are thin metal and I’m worried it could collapse like a weak core under a squat. The problem is they offer no alternative dumbbell stand. So it’s this, the floor, or a DIY version. For such great dumbbells, I’d love to see other stand options.
Although we don’t think Ironmasters are the best option for everyone, we do think they’re the best for certain home gym owners. I say home gym owners because these are not a commercial option. Other adjustable dumbbell companies do make options for commercial applications, Ironmaster does not.
Ironmasters are ideal for home gym and garage gym owners who don’t plan on doing a lot of supersetting (or have multiple dumbbell sets) and really want the feeling of a traditional dumbbell.
Two arm movements like goblet squats and french press are also possible with Ironmasters that are more difficult to do with other adjustable dumbbells. This could be a big benefit for those that do these movements often.
If you have small hands, want a more convenient weight change option, and want higher quality, we suggest looking elsewhere.
Ironmasters are certainly some of the most popular adjustable dumbbells on the market, but they're not the only ones. In fact, there are many worth considering depending on your training style and budget.
Ironmasters vs. Powerblocks Dumbbells
Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells feel more like a traditional dumbbell than their competitor Powerblocks. Additionally, Ironmasters can go up to 165 lbs, with a great price point. Although Powerblocks can go up to 175 LB, they get so big that they’re almost unusable. Ironmasters are similar in this regard, but not quite as bulky.
I still prefer Powerblocks for most people because of how quickly their weight can be changed, but Ironmasters aren’t exactly slow either. Again, their Quick-Lock screws are a great design, but taking the plates on and off is a hassle to get the desired weight right.
Powerblocks have a better fit and finish to them, with Ironmaster’s plates chipping or rusting, doing the things that steel does, while Powerblocks stand the test of time and look pretty much the same.
That being said, Ironmasters are still a great pair of adjustable dumbbells and you won’t go wrong buying them.
Ironmasters vs. Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex is known for making cheap exercise equipment, but their SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells are actually a good product. They definitely don’t reach the maximum weight that the Ironmasters do, with their limit being 52.5 per dumbbell for the SelectTech 552’s and 90 LB for the SelectTech 1090’s, but do have a quick dial system for a swift weight-changing process
The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells are also not as durable, which is understandable due to their price. In fact, the Bowflex Dumbbells have a long history of cracking at weak points if slammed or adjusted incorrectly while Ironmaster proudly shows how durable their adjustable dumbbells are on video by throwing them down some stairs and tossing them in cement mixers – and remember, they are fully guaranteed for life. So even if they did break, you could just contact Ironmaster and get it sorted out.
The Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells would be best if you’re looking for lightweight, affordable, adjustable dumbbells. We’ve used them quite a bit and know many people from the Home Gym community that love them (for lighter weight training). Although not as durable, they are a good alternative for a lighter lift and a light price. Probably the best budget option.
Ironmasters vs NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells
The NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells are similar to the Ironmasters, as both have a traditional shape and iron pancake plates that give them an authentic dumbbell feel.
However, the NUOBELLS’ weights take seconds at most to change, and they have an easy-to-read dial to know what weight you’ve changed to. They’re perfect for drop sets or working with a partner, unlike the Ironmasters.
The weights are round, unlike the Ironmasters, and come in 50lb, 80lb, and 80lb tactical options. These are still quite light, and less than half of the Ironmaster’s maximum of 165lbs, but for most isolation, bodybuilding-typ workouts, they’re great.
You also get more weight per dollar as the Ironmasters are only $699 and come with a high-quality stand that makes them easier to access. A similar stand from SMRTFT would be an additional $200 on top of the $750 for dumbbells.
NUOBELLS are far superior for adjustability, but I’d have to say that I prefer the Ironmasters as they are highly durable and more affordable. Their expansion kit also makes them more functional and caters to a larger group of people.
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