While we may be biased, we think a set of dumbbells can really tie a weight room together — the only problem is that it can be difficult for a home gym owner to find the right spot for them to go. This is where adjustable dumbbells like the Bowflex Selecttech 552s and the Nüobell Adjustable Dumbbells come in handy. They offer the same utility as a full set of traditional dumbbells but only require a fraction of the necessary space, and are a much cheaper alternative — making them some of the most versatile gear you can own.
Both of these adjustable dumbbells replace at least 15 pairs of dumbbells, saving users a ton of floor space in their gym. However, they’re pretty different regarding the materials used, the price, the weight options available, and how each dumbbell functions. Follow along as we take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two space-savers.
Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Highlights
The great thing about the Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells is that you can do the same workouts you find yourself doing with some traditional dumbbells, but they only need the space that a single pair of 50-pound bells would need. On top of that, it’s pretty simple to adjust the weight — just twist the knob located on each end of the handles, and you’re all set. We’ve had our pair of 552s for a pretty long time now, so the adjustment mechanism does tend to stick pretty often, but that might not be the case for a brand new pair.
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.
These dumbbells feature weights that range from five pounds up to 52.5 pounds — from five to 20 pounds, you’ll find the weight increases by 2.5 pounds, then increases by five pounds up from there. This might be plenty for beginner and intermediate lifters, but anyone who needs heavier weight may want to look elsewhere. Minus the steel handle and the adjustment mechanism, a lot of plastic is used to manufacture these dumbbells.
While we don’t think they’ll break the first time you drop them, you’ll still want to be gentle with them as plastic is more fragile than metal. Still, considering the price tag of around $430, and the small footprint required, we think the 552s would be a great fit for the average weight lifter.
- The Bowflex Selecttech 552s replace 15 pairs of dumbbells at a fraction of the price and space needed.
- The 552s offer weights ranging from five pounds up to 52.5 pounds (in 2.5-pound increments from five to 20 pounds, and in five-pound increments after that).
- Adjusting the weight here is pretty easy. Just twist the knob on each end of the bells until you land on the weight you need.
Nüobell Adjustable Dumbbells Highlights
Like the Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, the Nüobells can replace a full set of dumbbells at a mere fraction of the space. Instead of adjusting the weight with knobs on each head of the dumbbells, you actually twist the handle to adjust the weight. There are two different options you can purchase with these dumbbells — the five- to 50-pound pair or the five- to 80-pound pair. Unlike the 552s though, the Nüobells only feature five-pound increments. We’ll go into further detail on the pricing of these popular bells, but you could potentially spend anywhere from $600 to $1,000 depending on the weight you want/need, the color scheme, and whether or not you want some beefier stands to house them.
This Swedish-designed “smart” dumbbell adjusts from 5 pounds up to 80 pounds — all you have to do is twist the handlebar. Its sleek, modern design will make a great addition to any home gym.
These dumbbells are primarily crafted with steel — outside of the plastic cradles, and the plastic that holds the plates and the handles together. You still want to be careful when working out and storing these though, as they likely aren’t as durable as a classic pair of dumbbells since they aren’t welded together. The handles have a moderate knurling that gives you with a pretty solid grip when you’re lifting, and the bottom of the heads are flat, so you can do some push-ups if you choose. Since these bells range up to 80 pounds, we think the Nüobells are well-suited for more advanced lifters.
- A pair of Nüobells can replace 16 different dumbbells if you opt for the five to 80-pound option (or 10 if you go for the five to 50-pound option).
- It’s really easy to adjust the weight here since you only need to twist the handle.
- These dumbbells are primarily made from steel, so they might handle more punishment than adjustable dumbbells made from plastic.
Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells vs. Nüobell Adjustable Dumbbells Video Review
Our Reviews Writer, Jake, tested both of these pairs of adjustable dumbbells for himself. In his video review, he walks you through the pros and cons of each, pricing, features, and who each of these products might be best for.
What Are the Big Differences Between the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells and Nüobell Adjustable Dumbbells?
These two adjustable dumbbells are similar in how they function, but their overall builds are quite different. When choosing between the two, you’ll want to consider the price, the materials used, and the adjustment mechanisms.
The Bowflex Selecttech 552s have an ergonomic handle — meaning the handles are thicker in the middle than on the ends — and instead of a knurling pattern, they feature a rubber grip. While we don’t know the exact diameter of the handles, they seem to be around 35 millimeters. Some people may not be crazy about the rubber grip, but we haven’t had an issue during our workout sessions.
The Nüobells feature a handle that is fully knurled, and has a uniform diameter of around 30 millimeters. Even though we don’t necessarily have a problem with the rubber grip on the 552s, we definitely can achieve a better grip with the knurling on the Nüobells. We also really like how you only have to twist the handle to adjust the weight.
There’s a Price Difference
The materials are likely the driving force behind the price, and the Nüobells are noticeably more expensive than the 552s. Even the five to 50-pound option of the Nüobells is over $100 more expensive than the 552s.
Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
You can purchase the Bowflex Selecttech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells directly from Bowflex’s website for about $430. Bowflex allows you to finance this purchase over 18 months, but you must sign up for a Bowflex credit card to find out the monthly payments. The good news is that this is a pretty solid deal considering the utility you’ll receive from these bells. If money is your deciding factor between these two, then the 552s are your best bet.
Nüobell Adjustable Dumbbells
The price you’ll pay for the Nüobells will ultimately depend on which of the two weight options you buy, the color scheme, and whether or not you want to ditch the plastic cradles for a steel stand. The Black five to 50-pound bells will run you around $600, the Ash and Tactical options are both around $615, and the Matte Black option is about $630. The Black five to 80-pound option is about $750, the Ash and Tactical bells are both $765, and the Matte Black will run you around $775. The cradles are included with your purchase, but if you want a beefier stand to house your bells, you’ll have to shell out about $185.
Once you factor in shipping, you could potentially spend over $1,000 on this product. This is still cheaper than what a full set of dumbbells and a storage rack will cost you — but since they’re significantly more expensive than the 552s, these may be better suited for more advanced lifters.
The materials used with these two adjustable dumbbells are also noticeably different. Bowflex uses a lot of plastic for their 552s, while the Nüobells are primarily made from steel. In fact, the only steel you’ll find with the 552 Adjustable Dumbbells is in the handle, the steel plates, and the adjustment mechanism. So when you’re working out, you’ll want to be careful not to drop the 552s often as you run the risk of them cracking.
The Nüobells only feature plastic in the cradles and where the handles meet the steel plates. While you still want to be careful when lifting and placing them in the plastic cradles, they definitely feel more durable than the 552s. In the end, neither of these dumbbells are as structurally sound as an old-fashioned pair of dumbbells though.
Weight Options and Adjustment Mechanisms
Unless you opt for the five to 80-pound Nüobells, both of these companies offer similar weight options — the Nüobells are available in five to 50 pounds, while the 552s range from five to 52.5 pounds. However, with the Bowflex Selecttech 552s, you have two-and-a-half-pound increments to work with from five to 20 pounds, and everything after that is in five-pound increments. These two-and-a-half-pound increments can be extremely beneficial since you can progressively overload your muscles at a slower pace. The Nüobells only feature five-pound increments across the board.
With the Bowflex Selecttech 552s, the weight adjusts with knobs that are located at the end of each dumbbell head, while the Nüobells require you to twist the handles for adjustments. While one may not necessarily be better than the other, the 552s do tend to stick more frequently. This could be due to the age of our dumbbells, but it’s worth mentioning that we haven’t experienced that issue with the Nüobells.
The size of each of these dumbbells may be a determining factor when it comes to choosing the best fit for you. While both options require significantly less space than a full set of dumbbells, the overall size of each dumbbell may impact how you perform your workouts.
With the Bowflex Selecttech 552s, you’ll notice the size of the bells is not determined by the weight you’re using. So whether you’re working with five pounds or 52.5 pounds, the length of each dumbbell is the same. While that may not be that big of a deal when you have the weight maxed out, it will likely affect you when performing lighter-weight exercises.
The Nüobells on the other hand will increase in length as you increase the weight. When you rotate the handles to increase (or decrease) the weight, a steel shaft will either extend or contract to select the appropriate plates. This means the dumbbell will be significantly larger when you have the max weight selected. They’re also a bit shorter overall than the 552s, so you shouldn’t have to adjust your arm angles when lifting.
Which Adjustable Dumbbells Are the Better Option?
The “best” pair of dumbbells will vary from person to person, so we suggest weighing both bells’ pros and cons to make the best decision possible. In our opinion though, the main factors are the price, the materials used, and the amount of weight you’re going to need.
Let’s group the price and the weight options together since the price you’ll pay for the Nüobells is determined by the amount of weight you need. If you’re working on a tight budget, then we think the Bowflex 552s will be the best fit for you — especially if you don’t need more than 52.5 pounds since the five to 50-pound Nüobells are over $100 more expensive. If you need heavier weight than what the 552s have to offer though, then of course, the Nüobells are going to be the best fit for you. Just remember, you’ll be spending around $800 for the five- to 80-pound pair of Nüobells.
The materials used are another big determining factor when choosing between both options. The Nüobells’ handles are fully knurled to give you the best grip possible, while the 552s feature a rubber grip in the middle of their handles. We can still achieve a solid grip when lifting with the 552s, but they’re not as “grippy” as the Nüobells. The Nüobells’ are also mostly made from steel, while the 552s feature a lot of plastic.
While you still need to treat both options with more care than you would with a traditional dumbbell, you might need to be a little more careful with the 552s plastic build. Overall, you’re the only one who can decide which of these dumbbells is “best” for you. As long as you consider all of these factors, we’re confident you’ll be able to make the right call.
What Difference Does The Size Of The Dumbbells Make?
The overall size of a dumbbell can be pretty important while working out. Even though you can still perform most exercises with dumbbells of all sizes, certain movements (like a bicep curl) can feel a little uncomfortable or awkward with larger dumbbells. Since the 552s are the same size at five pounds as they are at 52.5 pounds, it may be a little difficult to work with the lighter weight options, causing them to feel more awkward than a traditional dumbbell would.
That isn’t necessarily the case with the Nüobells though. The overall length of the bells is determined by the weight you’re using. So when you select five pounds, these bells are about the same length as a five-pound dumbbell — and that goes for the rest of the weight options as well. When you have 80 pounds selected, it still feels about the same size as a “normal” 80-pound dumbbell. This is definitely something to consider as you may be able to have a more fluid and natural lifting experience when working out with the Nüobells.
Adjustable dumbbells can be the saving grace for anyone tight on space or budget as they can replace a full set of traditional dumbbells at a fraction of the price and footprint. In our opinion, these are two great options for anyone who wants the benefits of dumbbells without having to spend the necessary money on a full set and a storage rack. They both replace at least 15 individual pairs of dumbbells and can help you reach your fitness goals.
While one pair of these dumbbells may not be objectively “better” than the other, you still need to weigh the pros and cons of each option before deciding which pair to buy. The Bowflex Selecttech 552s may be more affordable, but the Nüobells are made from more durable steel and can go up to 80 pounds. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with either option as long as you base your decision around your specific needs.
How much do the SelectTech 552's and Nüobells cost?
The Bowflex SelectTech 552s will cost you around $430, which is a pretty solid deal considering the product’s utility. The Nüobells feature multiple pricing options ranging from about $600 to $775, depending on the color schemes and two different max weight options.
But once you factor in shipping and the optional steel stands, you could spend over $1,000. While these are some of the most expensive adjustable dumbbells on the market, the durability of the steel build might make them worthy of that lofty price tag.
Is it easier to adjust the weight with the Bowflex Selecttech 552’s or the Nüobells?
Both of these companies offer simple weight adjustments. With the 552’s, you have to twist the knobs on either side of the dumbbell to your desired weight while the Nüobells require you to twist the handles. The only downside with the Nüobells is that over time, the plastic may wear down, which may cause the knobs to stick. While we haven’t experienced that with the Nüobells, we still believe that both adjustment mechanisms are fairly simple to use.
Are adjustable dumbbells like the Selecttech 552’s and the Nüobells better than traditional dumbbells?
To be honest, we don’t think anything beats the classic feel of some traditional dumbbells. However, we also understand that not everyone has the available space for a full set of dumbbells. So for those folks, yes, adjustable dumbbells are a better and more compact option. They’re also significantly cheaper than a full set.