Table of Contents
The NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells are the quickest adjusting dumbbells we've ever tested or reviewed (and we've used a lot of them.) There are many adjustable dumbbells on the market with more being created every day, but there's no doubt that these stand out among most. Despite the ease of adjustment and relatively high weight increments (80 LB) we don't feel like these are better than Powerblocks or Ironmasters for most people.
NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells are far from being the first adjustable dumbbell to hit the market for home gym owners. We’ve been recommending adjustable dumbbells for years and even view them as a home gym essential. What NUOBELL has done is created an adjustable dumbbell that is one of the easiest in the world to change weight increments. It’s not perfect and there are certainly things we’d change (recommended later on,) but, there is not a set of adjustable dumbbells that change between weight increments faster than these.
The NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells are one of the newest options for people looking to save space in their home gym while retaining the functionality of an entire set of dumbbells. These traditional shaped iron dumbbells replace 1360+ pounds of normal dumbbells which allows you to save space and money when building your personal setup.
With an easy click-lock handle, you simply rotate until you see the desired weight on the indicator and then you can pull that weight out and do your exercises. The pancake-style disks remind me of pro-style iron dumbbells that could be found in most commercial weightlifting gyms. Coming in 50lb, 80lb, and 80lb tactical options, this dumbbell by SMRTFT looks to challenge the adjustable dumbbells such as Powerblocks (see our Powerblocks Dumbbells Review here) and IronMasters that have been on the market forever.
You may be asking yourself, “wow, these look a lot like these other adjustable dumbbells that are on the market?”
And, you’d be right.
There are quite a few adjustable dumbbells that use this similar design. How that became so, I have no idea. I’ve tried asking multiple company representatives for patent information and pretty much every single one says they either hold the patent or license it from someone else they cannot name who does.
Regardless, here are dumbbells that are using a similar design.
I’m not claiming that these are all the same. But they are all using a similar stand and mechanism for changing between weights. The max weights range as do some of the details and, of course, their price.
The NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells completely serve their purpose as adjustable dumbbells. I have yet to see any other dumbbells that are as quick and easy to adjust as these ones. With a simple twist, changing the weights takes seconds at most and the easy to read dial makes it easy to know which weight you have switched to. Perfect for drop sets or working out with your significant other, these dumbbells may be the most ‘adjustable’ dumbbells on the planet.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how silly a full set of dumbbells is in a home gym. Without a doubt, whether you have a gym in your house or in your garage, adjustable dumbbells are simply the best option.
With some initial concern over the quality of the NUOBELL’s, I was pleasantly surprised by the mostly steel construction. Whereas many similar shaped adjustable dumbbells have largely plastic designs, SMRTFT was able to construct these with the aesthetically pleasing stack of pancake plate design. The design that the company went with really keeps the feel of these dumbbells quite natural as you feel like you’re still using a traditional dumbbell. This is highly appealing for those who don’t want to deal with more square-shaped blocks like the Powerblock or Ironmaster models.
Another feature that I really liked was the knurled handle that the company used for these dumbbells. Unlike many dumbbells that used contoured handles with rubber or foam grips, the NUOBELLs use a barbell type handle with a quality knurled finish. This handle makes these dumbbells really appealing to people who normally do barbell movements because you will get to train with the same type of feeling you get from a barbell.
These dumbbells come in both a 50lb and an 80lb option, so they work for 90% of the population. With a really clean finish and some very aesthetically pleasing stands available on their website, these dumbbells could sit in your living room without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Overall, these dumbbells are very functional and very visually appealing. Originally wary of the quality, I was pleasantly surprised when I used them for a few workouts. With the current demand for adjustable dumbbells still high, It is likely that these will become a staple in many people home gyms as you are unlikely to find other 80lb adjustable for this price during the equipment shortage.
Although extremely functional and very visually appealing, these adjustable dumbbells are not without some flaws. The mostly metal construction is very nice, but hard plastic connecting pieces raise serious questions about long term use. In activities where lots of weight is being moved at any speed, the hard plastic that connects the iron plates serves as a major weak point. It would not be unthinkable that these parts could crack if the dumbbells were dropped from normal heights. With so many important pieces being made from plastic, I would be very interested to see how they function a couple of years down the road.
With the connecting pieces being made from plastic, the locking mechanism and weight selection devices also use a lot of plastic. These don’t seem at risk of breaking, but it seems that over time, they could see wear that prevents them from functioning properly. In any high traffic gym, you would engage the weight selecting mechanism in these dumbbells thousands of times over, which could lead to some issues with performance. This is a problem I see a lot in the Bowflex 552 and 1090 models. The plastic selector would often break after long term use and you would be left with a non-adjustable dumbbell unless you knew how to disassemble and replace the broken parts.
Last but not least, the most noticeable problem is more so annoying than it is a true issue, but you need to be very precise upon replacing the dumbbell into the holder otherwise it could get stuck. If you don’t line up the ridges on top of the weight plates and try to adjust it, the dumbbells will get stuck in the holder and you have to go back to the original weight to pull it out. This seems like no big deal but if you’re sweaty and out of breath, you don’t really want to stop and have to line up dumbbells and struggle to get them out if you make a mistake racking them.
As previously stated, this dumbbell works for 90% of people, however, if you need more than 80lbs for a dumbbell exercise, these aren’t a great option since they are not expandable past 80lbs. Also, with the high retail price, this isn’t an option that most people would consider a great deal.
The NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells vs Powerblock Dumbbells is an age-old story of challenger vs. champ. The Powerblock Dumbbells have been around since the early 1990s and have stood the test of time. I have an ancient pair that has stood the test of pretty much every movement and is still fully functional. You cannot go wrong with any kind of Powerblock.
Another important difference–Powerblock dumbbells can be expanded up to 175lbs, 2.5x heavier than the NUOBELLs. This weight disparity allows Powerblocks to serve everyone while the NUOBELLs will cater specifically towards the above-average joe.
The NUOBELLs triumph in some areas. They have a much quicker selection method, not to say that the Powerblocks are slow to change, but the NUOBELLs are especially quick to adjust. You turn, and boom, new weight. The Powerblocks however have a plastic/metal (depending on model) pin system that can get out of place or stuck, making adjustments not as quick.
Last but not least, Powerblocks come are significantly cheaper than the NUOBELLs; you can get 0-90 Powerblocks for around $550 whereas 0-80 NUOBELLs will run you $750. I think that the lower price point, more weight expansions available, and a better long term build makes the Powerblocks the favorite over the new NUOBELL Adjustables. It will be interesting to see if SMRTFT makes any new expansion kits going forward.
We’ve reviewed and tested Powerblocks in-depth, and without a doubt, they’re still the king in this arena, in my opinion.
The NUOBELLs are very similar in build to another long-standing adjustable dumbbell, the Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells. Both utilizing a traditional shape with iron pancake plates, both of these dumbbells have an authentic dumbbell feel.
However, with a time-tested screw system for adjustments, I just feel like the Ironmasters will be much more solid in the long run. With no plastic and no mechanical adjusting systems, there seems to be no weak points and I have never had an issue with them. I have yet to have an issue with my NUOBELLs but I feel like after a year or two they may no longer function as well.
The Ironmasters like the Powerblocks, readily go above a hundred pounds with a cheap expansion kit. This makes them more appealing for all because once again, not everyone will be fine using 0-80lb dumbbells for all exercises. Also, like the Powerblocks, you 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.
Once again, the NUOBELLs are superior in ease of adjustability. The IronMasters are not easy to adjust since you have to unscrew them and then stack however many plates you want to use. Compared to the NUOBELLs quick turn and lock, this takes ages.
Overall, I would have to favor the Ironmasters as they are highly durable and more affordable than the NUOBELLs. Their expansion kits also make them more functional for a wider group of people.
The Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells have been the most affordable dumbbells on the market for a long time. With two options, the 552 and 1090, these Bowflex Dumbbells are used and loved by many. However, the biggest problems we see on the NUOBELLs are also the same issues with the Bowflex variant.
The Bowflex Dumbbells have a long history of cracking at weak points if slammed or adjusted incorrectly. But for around $350 for the 552 and around $700 for the 1090s, the Bowflexes are the cheapest options on the market. For a bit more, I feel like the NUOBELLs are a more luxurious version of the Bowflex dumbbells. With a cylindrical knurled handle as opposed to the shaped rubber grip on the Bowflex, I believe the NUOBELLs feel way more traditional than the Bowflex option.
With a smoother mechanism and less bulbous look, the NUOBELLs are a classier adjustable setup than you could keep all over your house without drawing too much attention.
I would recommend the NUOBELLs over the Bowflex 1090 model as they are similar in price and the NUOBELLs give you a much smoother and more aesthetically pleasing setup. However, if you are not really in need of heavier weights, I would say the Bowflex 552 are your best bet as the 50lb variant from NUOBELL costs quite a bit more than the 552’s from Bowflex, which at the same weight, give you way more weight for your buck.
After putting the T-Grip Bar by American Barbell through nearly every exercise you can think of including pressing, pulling, curls and more over the course of two months, we believe that the T-Grip Bar is one of the best multi-grip bars available. That said, this is definitely a bar in which you get what you pay for, and the cost may very well be prohibitive for many looking to purchase a multi-grip specialty bar. Read More
The Kabuki Strength New Generation Power Bar is the best power bar we've tested to date. Everything from the knurling to the tensile strength of the steel is superior to other power bars we've reviewed including our previous favorite, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. If you're looking for the best bar for powerlifting specific training and are willing to spend money to get it, this is the bar we recommend. Read More
The Rogue Plate Carrier is a simple, yet well-thought-out weight vest designed to make bodyweight movements more difficult. The 5.11 Tactical Weight Vest is our previous favorite weight vest, however, Rogue’s Plate Carrier strips unnecessary components from the competition to make one of the best weight vests we’ve ever tested. Read More
The Rogue Cerakote Barbells may look cool, but the corrosion resistance provided by the Cerakote coating is actually a very effective innovation in barbells. Although Rogue isn't the first to add Cerakote to barbells, they are doing it at a better value than just about everyone else. Read More