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The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells are 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.
The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells are a loadable set of adjustable dumbbells that have a lot of positives, but one big flaw. They provide a great range of weights and switching between them is quick and easy. The overall quality of manufacturing is great, and they have a nice finish. We’ve reviewed a lot of adjustable dumbbells in our quest to help our readers build the ultimate home gym and the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells stand out from the competition in many ways.
This Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells review will tell you everything you need to know, compare them to some of the competition like the BaadAss Adjustable Dumbbells and help you decide whether they are a good fit for your home gym or not.
We’ve been reviewing adjustable dumbbells for a long time now because we feel that they are a staple in any home gym. When space is limited, adjustable dumbbells are ideal because you don’t need to buy a full set. You can also save a lot of money if you buy adjustable dumbbells instead of investing in a full set.
The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells set includes two handles, with different plates ranging from 5 lb up to 120 lb per handle available. You get the functionality of a full set of dumbbells, without the need to store them all, making them ideal for people trying to build a home gym in a small spare room or cluttered garage.
Adjusting the weight is relatively simple. You just need to unscrew the end cap, slide on the right plates, and screw it back up again. It may not be quite as intuitive and easy as some other adjustable dumbbells on the market, but it’s easy enough and the mechanism is simple to work out. The bars are compatible with any plate with a 1-inch hole, so if you already have some at home, they’re not wasted if you invest in the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells.
There are a lot of things we were impressed by in training with the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells.
First off, the range of weight is one of the biggest bonuses because you have the option of going all the way up to 120LB or down as far as 5 lb. So, whether you’re just getting started with your home gym and you’ve never lifted a dumbbell in your life, or you’ve trained for sometime, this set should be adequate for most anyone’s needs...unless you row heavier or press dumbbells heavier than 120 LB on the regular.
The time it takes to adjust the weight is one of the most important things to think about when buying a set of adjustable dumbbells. If I’m in the middle of a workout, I don’t want to spend half an hour messing around with fiddly mechanisms while I set up for my next set. The good news is, thanks to a simple mechanism, adjusting between weight increments isn’t too laborious.
It’s not as quick as Powerblocks or Ironmasters, but it’s also not awful.
I would not suggest these for super sets as they take too long for that purpose, but for most, it should be fine.
Overall, the design and finish on the plates is great. All of the plates have the weight increments engraved into them, so you don’t have to do any guesswork when you’re increasing the weight. Some of the competitors use stickers or paint which either gets rubbed off or peeled and neither looks as good.
The finish on the plates should prevent premature corrosion. I’m not positive on the coating, but it feels like an E-coat which is used by quite a few in the industry including on the Rogue Deep Dish Plates and the Rogue Kettlebells.
The weight accuracy is pretty accurate as well, so if you’re swapping over from a different adjustable dumbbell or a set of standard dumbbells, you shouldn’t notice too much difference.
Unlike a lot of other dumbbells, which use a rubber handle, the Pepin Dumbbells come with a metal, knurled handle, similar to what you find on a barbell. This is a huge plus and one of the biggest benefits to Pepin’s.
The knurling has a medium depth. Nor too aggressive or passive. I do wish they were a bit more aggressive, but with the chrome finish, it does make the knurling a bit less sharp due to the plating. If you’re used to using barbells, you’ll feel right at home with the well-knurled handle, which provides plenty of grip and is comfortable to hold. Many adjustable dumbbells use plastic or rubber like Powerblocks, but there’s little that replaces the feeling of a metal knurled handle.
Regarding price, you’re looking at around $925 for the full set not including shipping, which might seem expensive but that includes all of the weights from 5 lbs up to 120 lbs per handle, so they’re actually pretty affordable. When you compare that to the price of buying a full set of standard dumbbells, it’s a lot less.
For most, if you can find plates for less locally, that’s probably a better option for saving money on shipping. The handles, but for one fatal flaw are great.
Overall, the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells are a brilliant set that look good, feel good in the hands, and are straightforward to adjust. They also give you a wide range of available weights for the price point, making them a good option for any home gym. However, until something is changed, we don’t fully recommend them.
When we initally published our Pepin Dumbbells Review, we didn't recommend them.
I really like most everything about the Pepin Dumbbells. I think the price is reasonable. The knurling and machining on the handles and pins is great. The weight plates have etched weight increments and logos and a nice finish.
But, until a potential safety hazard is addressed I do not feel like we can honestly recommend them.
Pepin has stated from the beginning to not drop their dumbbells.
This is reasonable and I’m thankful they make this statement. However, dumbbells will eventually be dropped in some way. Whether intentional or not. If you’ve worked out long enough, you realize sometimes there’s no other option.
We believe, that if dropped, the Pepin Handles in their current iteration will snap. This potential snapping creates a major safety hazard and prevents us from recommending the handles.
This isn’t an unfounded claim either. We’ve received pictures from someone who’s handles snapped when dropped. Seeing the wall thickness of the handle makes it pretty evident that they need to be thicker for safety purposes.
If Pepin increases the wall thickness of their handles, these would be absolutely tremendous dumbbells. But, currently, we think they’re unsafe.
Pepin has since improved their handle design and after drop testing them and comparing them to the drop tests we've done on other adjustable dumbbells, we're confident that they're as safe as other adjustable dumbbells like the Bowflex SelectTech 552's that we've reviewed.
We still wouldn't recommend dropping them, but I don't think doing so is a major safety hazard.
There’s a lot of good things to say about these dumbbells, but they do also have a few flaws that are worth mentioning beyond what we’ve already mentioned.
Even though it’s not that difficult to adjust the weight, it does take a few minutes and if you are hoping to use these dumbbells or supersets, you will probably be disappointed. In that case, it may be better to look at some of the alternatives, like the NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells that use a quick-locking mechanism.
The set we used also has a lighter, passive knurling which, although still good, might not provide enough grip for some people. Having said that, I have been told that there is an aggressive option available as well. So, just be careful when you are ordering them and make you get the right one.
The biggest potential problem with these dumbbells is as previously stated, they tell you not to drop them. We didn’t test it because I can only assume that they will break if you do and I don’t want that to happen. The thing is, nobody intends to drop their weights, but it does happen sometimes, and if they break after one drop that’s not good.
The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells are the new kids on the block and they haven’t been on the market for that long. That means I can’t tell how they will perform after long term use and they haven’t been tested by as many people as some of the more established brands.
Pepin vs. Baadass Adjustable Dumbbells
In terms of overall quality and functionality, the Baadass Dumbbells come pretty close to the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbell set. The plates are very heavy duty and you certainly won’t have a problem if you drop them, like you will if you go for the Pepin’s. Changing the weights is relatively easy although a lot of people complain about the excessive amount of grease they encounter when unscrewing the pins.
Where the Baasdaas Dumbbells fall behind is in the detail. Instead of having the weight engraved in each plate, for example, they have a pretty poor quality sticker on them, which can easily come off. It’s not the end of the world because you will soon get used to the weights but it’s those small details that can make them feel a little low quality.
Overall, the Baadass Dumbbells are better in terms of durability, but I definitely prefer the look and feel of the Pepin Dumbbells. That said, until we feel safe with the Pepin handles, we recommend the BaadAss dumbbells instead.
When I first reviewed a set of Powerblock adjustable dumbbells back in 2015, I said that they were the best set available on the market. Even though new contenders may have knocked them off the top spot, they’re still one of the best options.
The standard set goes up to 90 lbs, so not as high as the 120 lbs you get with the Pepin’s, but if 90 is enough for you, the Powerblocks might be the better option. You can also get the Commercial Pro Series that goes up to 175 lbs, but they can be quite bulky to use.
The simple pin mechanism to fix the weights in place makes changing them over quick and easy compared to the screw mechanism on the Pepin. As long as you can get used to the rectangular shape, the Powerblocks are a great option.
The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are another heavyweight on the home gym scene. They have a great mechanism for switching weights and, even though their claim of being able to switch weights in 15 seconds might be a bit of an overstatement, you can still do it in 30 seconds to a minute.
One of the things that I really like about the Ironmaster Dumbbells is that they feel like fixed dumbbells, which you don’t get with most other adjustable sets. Compared with the Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells, the overall quality is pretty similar, but due to the Ironmasters being cheaper, more proven, and easier to adjust, I’d suggest them over Pepins.
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