Dumbells are a staple in modern gyms because they’re versatile, can target one side of your body at a time, and aren’t as cumbersome as dumbbells and other barbells. They’re a great tool to keep in your home gym or apartment for accessory work and/or high-intensity exercise circuits. That said, why own 15 pairs of dumbbells when you could own one pair that equates to 15 pairs? You probably wouldn’t, right? Adjustable dumbbells are affordable, space-friendly, and convenient.
When it comes to selecting a pair of adjustable dumbbells, however, there are a few things to consider. How much money are you willing to spend? How much weight do you need or want? And what’s your overall skill level in the gym? Feeling a little overwhelmed, that’s cool. We’ve curated the best adjustable dumbbells for you to look at.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Most Versatile Adjustable Dumbbells: NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Heavy Lifting: Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells for the Money: AtivafitAdjustable Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Beginners: PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Dumbbells/Barbell Combo: LEADNOVO Adjustable Weights Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Small Spaces: FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells
Best Overall Adjustable Dumbbells
You know them, and it’s hard not to love them — Bowflex’s SelecTech 552’s are the OG adjustable dumbbells. They’re shaped like standard dumbbells, offer a wide range of weight, and adjust in a flash. When it comes to adjustable dumbbells, these are the bar.
Bowflex SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
This single set of dumbbells replace 15 pairs, with weights from 2.5 to 52.5 pounds. Select the weight you want by turning the dial on the end of the dumbbells, pick them up, curl your heart out, and then set them back in their base to lower or raise the weight. These dumbbells are light enough for warm-up movements or exercises like lateral raises. They’re also heavy enough to challenge most gym-goers during goblet squats and dumbbell presses. The only downside is that dropping these weights may break the adjusting mechanics, and then you’re SOL.
This pair of dumbbells range from five to 52.5 pounds and adjust at the turn of a dial. With the right amount of weight, ease of use, and sleek design, these dumbbells are just right for any workout enthusiast.
Who Should Buy Bowflex SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Home gym owners who want to consolidate their set-up and not own multiple pairs of dumbbells.
- Beginner or intermediate lifters, as 52.5 pounds is enough of a challenge for most exercises.
- Anyone who wants to train primarily with dumbbells. This set is enough to give your a full-body workout.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Bowflex SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Hardcore strength athletes who can lift well beyond 52.5 pounds.
- Powerlifters or strongmen. These strength sports require access to different barbells and other equipment.
- Trainees who engage in explosive movements, like dumbbell snatches, regularly. If you drop these, you risk breaking them.
Bowflex’s dumbbells have stood the test of time for good reason — they’re easy to use and offer plenty of weight.
Most Versatile Adjustable Dumbbells
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell
These dumbbells are sturdy and well-balanced. The weights don’t rattle when you hoist them and, despite being plastic, the handle feels firm. You can also do a lot with 55 pounds, or 110 pounds combined. If a single squat feels too light, hold both bells at shoulder level, and try that. The one downside is that the adjustment mechanism isn’t as simple — it’s a two-step process. The pin on the top of the dumbbells slides back and forth to select weights in 10-pound increments. To add or subtract either 2.5 or five pounds, you’ll need to adjust the sliders located on the inside of both dumbbells.
These dumbbells are sturdy, durable, and replace 15 pairs of dumbbells with a top weight of 55 pounds.
Who Should Buy NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell
- People who engage in intense dumbbell workouts and need a sturdy weight set.
- Lifters who want dumbbells that go up to 55 pounds, which is a fair amount of weight for most folks.
Who Shouldn’t Buy NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell
- People who are easily frustrated by adjustment mechanisms. Nordictrack’s system is a little finicky.
- Folks who are newer to lifting and maybe don’t need so much weight.
- Budget-conscious shoppers. These are expensive.
Though they’re pricey, NordicTrack offers sturdy, reliable, heavy dumbbells that’ll last.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Heavy Lifting
If you’re used to warming up with 50-pound dumbbells, then you’ll want a pair of handles to load with weight plates. Think of these as mini barbells that support far more weight than what’s offered with traditional selectorized dumbbells.
Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
Rogue’s loadable handles closely resemble a barbell. It has a knurled shaft and sleeves that can support standard plates. If you want to do heavy Kroc rows or floor presses, these are the bells for you. The handles come in two options — a 10-pound option with 3.625-inch-long sleeves and a 15-pound set with a 6.75-inch sleeve. To use these dumbbell handles, however, you’ll need weight plates and barbell collars. Otherwise, you’ll need to shell out for the handles (which aren’t cheap) and plates and collars. If you already own a home gym with plenty of plates, these are a great option.
These loadable dumbbell handles have knurling to replicate the feel of a barbell. If you already own weight plates, then go with these and load the up with as much weight as you can (safely) handle.
Who Should Buy Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
- Strength athletes that want to lift heavy.
- Lifters who already have access to plenty of weight plates and collars.
- Folks who like the feeling of a steel barbell in their hands.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
- Folks who live in apartments and want a complete set of dumbbells at their disposal.
- More casual lifters that don’t necessarily need or want to lift heavy weights.
- Anyone who doesn’t have access to weight plates and barbell collars.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for the Money
On a budget but looking to outfit your home gym with weights? Look no further than Atiavfit’s array of affordable dumbbells that let the buyer select from a range of weight options.
Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbells
What’s cool about Ativafit is that you can buy different dumbbells with different max weights. They offer a 12.5-pound set and single dumbbells weighing 27.5, 44, 55, and a hefty 71.5 pounds. Yes, you read that right; they sell single dumbbells. Buy two of a kind, and you’re looking to spend about the same as the NordicTrack option. However, plenty of folks can work out with one dumbbell. After all, if you can do an exercise with two hands, you can do it with one. Similar to Bowflex, Ativafit has a dial system for speedy weight adjustments.
ATivafit offers single-dumbbell buying options to save you coin while still ensuring you get a stellar workout. These dumbbells are available in 12.5, 27.5, 44, 55, and 71.5 pounds!
Who Should Buy Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbells
- People looking to save a little money. Ativafit lets you buy a single dumbbell, which cuts the cost of your purchase in half. (You can buy two dumbbells.)
- Folks who don’t mind working out with one dumbbell.
- Lifters who want a heavier adjustable dumbbell. Ativafit offers 71.5-pound dumbbells.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbells
- People who rather buy a set of dumbbells upfront as opposed to two single dumbbells.
- It seems like a small detail, but the handles have little nubs on them, which some lifters may find uncomfortable.
With the option to purchase a single dumbbell, Ativafit makes at-home dumbbell workouts affordable.
Best Adjustable Dumbbell for Beginners
If you’re new to lifting, then there’s no need to go all-in with the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can find. Focus on finding quality dumbbells that are comfortable, effective, and offer a range of weights.
PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock isn’t new to the adjustable dumbbell market. Even if you don’t know the brand by name, you’ve probably seen the familiar square shape of these quality dumbbells. Compared to other brands o the market, PowerBlock is known to be sturdy and compact. Also of note: the handle is centered within the block, so the weight will feel more balanced and in line with your wrists. Even though these dumbbells go up to just 24 pounds, there are eight weight ranges — three, six, nine, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24 pounds.
These 24-pound dumbbells are sturdy, color-coded for easy weight identification, and have a centralized handle so the load feels balanced each rep.
Who Should Buy PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable
- Newer lifters who don’t need a lot of weight to get an effective workout.
- Anyone who has achy wrists. Due to the centralized handle, these feel sturdier.
- Folks who like color-coated weights. The colors on the side of the bell correspond to different weights, so you can better identify what you’re lifting.
Who Shouldn’t Buy PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable
- Experienced trainees that will want more than 24 pounds to lift with.
- Folks who prefer a more traditional dumbbell shape.
- Budget-conscious shoppers. Pound-for-pound, these are pretty pricey.
Beginners will appreciate the weight ranges, sturdy construction, and balanced feeling that PowerBlock offers.
Best Combo Dumbbells/Barbell
If you’re looking to get more versatility out of your gym setup, then a dumbbell set that converts to a barbell will take your workouts far.
LEADNOVO Adjustable Weights Dumbbells
These dumbbells are loaded with weight for curls, rows, and presses. Then, they can be joined with a connector rod for, well, heavier curls, rows, and presses. Compared to dumbbells, barbells can be loaded with more weight and offer more stability (since you’re holding it with both hands, not just one). By having a set that transforms into a barbell, you can add more versatility to your workouts. LEADNOVO offers a 44, 66, and 88-pound set.
This nifty dumbbell set can transform into a barbell via a connector rod, so you can get your bilateral and unilateral work in.
Who Should Buy LEADNOVO Adjustable Weight Dumbbells
- Folks who are accustomed to lifting with a barbell. These dumbbells can convert into a barbell via a connecting rod.
- Lifters who prefer to perform bilateral and unilateral movements for more training variety.
Who Shouldn’t Buy LEADNOVO Adjustable Weight Dumbbells
- Anybody who just wants a pair of dumbbells.
- Folks who want more weight than 88 pounds.
Benefit from barbell and dumbbell training with this unique dumbbell-barbell hybrid.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Small Spaces
If you live in an apartment or don’t have a dedicated training space, then you’ll want to opt for a small single dumbbell. FLYBIRD has an option that’s perfect for HIIT workouts and other single-dumbbell workouts.
FLYBIRD Adjustable Weights Dumbbells
FLYBiRD’s single dumbbell replaces five weights with a five, 10, 15, 20, and 25-pound option. To select the weight, you grip the non-slip handle and turn it to the dial’s corresponding number. Within one second, you’ll have a loaded dumbbell at the ready. Because the weight only goes up to 25 pounds, strength athletes may be left wanting more. That said, this compact dumbbell can be repped out for fat-burning workouts and then stowed neatly away.
This single 25-pound dumbbell is compact, adjusts in seconds, and has a sleek design. It's perfect for small apartments or other tight spaces.
Who Should Buy FLYBIRD Adjustable Weights Dumbbells
- People with minimal space in their apartment or home.
- Folks who don’t need or want a lot of weight.
- Those who don’t mind (or prefer) working out with a single dumbbell (though, you can buy two of these).
Who Shouldn’t Buy FLYBIRD Adjustable Weights Dumbbells
- Strength athletes that want more weight to lift.
- People who have the space to build a more complete home gym.
Light, compact, and durable — FLYBIRD offers a single dumbbell option that’ll comfortably fit any space.
How We Picked the Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Adjustable dumbbells can satisfy a wide range of different goals and work-out methods. Some adjustable dumbbells are well-suited for exercises that require a light load, while others serve those looking for heavy-lifting routines. Since these adjustable free weights have different forms and functions, several key factors are examined when purchasing. Here are the things we considered:
Ease of Use
Adjustable dumbbells can be prone to some user-based difficulty. These equipment pieces tend to have several parts, some of which can disrupt the whole workout if jammed or stuck, or out of line. Additionally, some of these adjustable dumbbells have rather cumbersome manners in which the weight plates are designed to be exchanged. For those hoping to ramp up their weights as they train, or toggle between several different exercises that require varying weight levels, this process can be tedious and make working out with this equipment discouraging.
As a result, all of the dumbbells on this list have a relatively easy-to-use weight-changing mechanism.
Adjustable dumbbells come in many shapes and sizes. Many brands try to mimic standard dumbbells when designing their adjustable version. This means knurled steel handles and iron plates coated in black paint. While this may delight some traditionalists who want their home gym experience to imitate what one might find at a public gym, others may opt for a unique set of adjustable dumbbells. Some brands are making adjustable dumbbells with padded handles that make gripping easier, while others have designs that make switching between different weights more convenient. Remember, the offerings that are plastic or rubber may be more comfortable but not as durable.
One of the key qualifications of any adjustable free weight is the range of weights available with each set. Some lifters may use a five-pound weight to tone their forearms and use a 50-pound weight to work on the chest and shoulders. There are probably quite a few shoppers who don’t plan on ever using a heavier weight option, so for them, a set with a range of two pounds to 15 pounds or five to 25 pounds may perfectly suffice. Some brands offer weight expansion sets that allow users to add on additional weight if needed. This is perfect for those who later find they need more resistance than originally offered in their adjustable dumbbell sets.
Some adjustable dumbbells have tiny increments between each subsequent weight, while others have large gaps between weight options. If a dumbbell set doesn’t have a big range, or many increments available, customers may need to purchase two separate sets of adjustable dumbbells to cover the full range needed to exercise and to give enough variety during workouts. Having smaller increments, such as a 2.5 pound or three-pound weight difference between each weight plate, will help those who like ramping up or ramping down during a set. It is also helpful for those pursuing physical therapy, as users can add resistance as they recover.
Adjustable Dumbbells vs. Fixed Dumbbells
Fixed dumbbells are what you see at most big box gyms. They have iron handles with knurling (most of the time) and rubber-coated bells at either end. Your favorite CrossFitter is probably repping out cleans and snatches with rubber hexagonal dumbbells. If you’ve seen Mat Fraser’s home gym, he has a literal wall full of these dumbbells.
Compared to adjustable dumbbells, the fixed variety are typically more durable and is available in more weight. Rogue, for example, sells a pair of 125-pound hexagonal dumbbells. Durability is important if you’re swinging and snatching the bell overhead. The components of fixed dumbbells are also far more cohesive than adjustable dumbbells. An adjustable dumbbell often has loose plates that connect and disconnect to the handle (which makes them adjustable). But as a result, the dumbbell isn’t as sturdy. By comparison, the fixed dumbbell is welded to the weight, so it should feel far more solid in your hand.
Adjustable dumbbells are both cost-effective and space-efficient. For example, to own all of the weights that the NordicTrack adjustable dumbbell offers, you’d pay over $1,100 and accrue 13 pairs of dumbbells. NordicTrack costs about half as much and fits neatly in the corner of a room. The space and money you save are, far and away, the best aspects of owning adjustable dumbbells.
Workout At Home With Dumbbells
Two dumbbells (even one) are more than enough for a solid full-body workout. You don’t need to deadlift hundreds of pounds — but you do need a plan of attack. When it comes to working out at home, the best starting point is exercise selection. Because you cannot load your body up with a ton of weight, a full-body workout will stress the most muscles and burn the most calories.
There are seven primary movement patterns that you want to hit when creating a full-body workout. If you select an exercise from each of the following categories, then you can rest assured that you’re covering all of your bases. Note: The exercises below are just examples, so feel free to sub any of the moves below for similar exercises.
- Horizontal Push: Push-up, dumbbell floor press
- Horizontal Pull: Bent-over dumbbell row, inverted row, rear delt lateral raise
- Vertical Push: Overhead press, half-kneeling overhead press, pike push-up
- Vertical Pull: Assisted pull-up
- Knee-based Movement: Goblet squat, reverse lunge
- Hip-based Movement: Dumbbell deadlift, single-leg Romanian deadlift, dumbbell swing
- Core: Plank, Plank with dumbbell pull-through, Russian twist
Next, you’ll need to choose the number of sets and reps you’re going to do. Because you’re likely working out with lower weight, you’ll want to pump out more volume. Aim for four sets per movement for 15 reps. To ramp up the intensity even more, you can create a circuit, performing each move right after the other. This option is more intense, so you’ll want to do three rounds. Rest one minute after each circuit.
Are adjustable dumbbells better than fixed dumbbells?
Not necessarily. The major benefits of adjustable dumbbells are that A) they’re more space-efficient than owning a rack of fixed dumbbells, and B) they’re more cost-effective since you’re getting multiple pairs for a fixed cost.
Am I too strong for adjustable dumbbells?
Strength is relative to your personal ability and goal. IF you’re an elite-level powerlifter, then, yeah, adjustable dumbbells may not serve you as well as heavy fixed dumbbells or a barbell. On the other hand, many adjustable dumbbells go up to 50-ish pounds, which is plenty of weight. You can also do more reps to increase the overall tension in your muscles.
How Should I train with adjustable dumbbells?
Because you won’t have access to a ton of weight, opt for high-intensity workouts that have you performing many reps in a short amount of time. You can get a lot done in 30, even 20 minutes if you put the pedal to the floor and grind out a full-body workout.