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Best Adjustable Dumbbells | Top Picks for 2018 (Reviewed & Compared)

Read through or skip to see the top adjustable dumbbells for 2018

Good workouts begin with dumbbells, any personal trainer, strength coach or fitness buff will tell you that.

If you exercise at home, nothing beats adjustable dumbbells for a great workout.

Notice we mentioned adjustable dumbbells and not just any kind of dumbbell. That's because adjustable weights have distinct advantages over regular fixed weights, for anyone working out at home.

Of course, you'll want to get the best adjustable dumbbells, but that depends on what workouts you're doing, your budget and whether you are lifting heavy weights or light weights.

Don't end up buying the wrong dumbbells.
There are significant differences between models, get ones that fit you.

Continue reading to find out which one from our top 10 picks is right for your goal and budget.

You'll find in-depth reviews, the pros & cons, and comparisons between the leading models including Bowflex, Power Block, Ironmaster, Yes4All, CAP and more.

Here's what we'll talk about

You can jump to any section or just read through it all to be an expert


Got no time to read it all? Here are our top picks:

Dumbbells

Our Rating

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Overall Winner - Best Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Best Expandable Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

Heavy Dumbbells with Fast Weight Adjustment

Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

Best Quick Adjustable Set for Strong Guys

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

Budget Pick

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Best Dumbbell Set For Beginners

Ringstar Starring 105-200 Lbs adjustable dumbbells (105 LBS Black with Trays)

Low-Cost Heavy Adj. Dumbbells

Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

Fastest Adjustable Dumbbells

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

Best for Fitness

Weider PowerSwitch 12.5 lb. Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Finest Lightweight Dumbbells for Women

Can Adjustable Dumbbells Replace Gym Membership?

You bet! According to GQ Magazine, a pair of adjustable weights is all you need to replace a gym membership. So even if you invest $300 or more in a good set, it's a big cost savings in the long run that saves you gym fees.

Adjustable Dumbbells vs. Regular Dumbbells

Fixed standard dumbbells are solid singular units made from metal that have a fixed weight.

Regular Dumbbells -  One pair of dumbbells for each weight

Since exercises vary in their difficulty, you'll need a variety of dumbbell weights to perform different exercises.

For example, to cover the range of 5 to 25 lbs of weight, in common 2.5lbs steps, you'll need 18 dumbbells (9 pairs) with these weights:
5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25 lbs.

That's a lot of weight, space, and money to spend on dumbbells.

Enter, adjustable dumbbells, just one pair can replace 15-20 sets (30-40 dumbbells!). All while taking up less space than regular dumbbells and at a lesser cost.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Adjustable Dumbbells -  One pair of Bowflex 522 replaces 30 dumbbells!

But there are advantages and disadvantages to both type of dumbbells

ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS
PROS & CONS

Pros

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    Cost - One pair costs less than a complete set of 5 - 50 lb. fixed dumbbells
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    Space - Saves a ton of space
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    All in one - One pair encompasses everything you need
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    Easy to transport - Just one pair to move around or take on a trip
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    Expandable - Add weight via expansion kits or additional plates

Cons

  • minus
    Weight adjustment -  With some dumbbells changing weight may take up to a minute
  • minus
    Wear down -  The plastic and rubber parts that make up the mechanisms of quick weight adjustment may wear down over time
  • minus
    Durability - Quick weight selection mechanisms may get damaged with careless use of the weights
  • minus
    You may pay for unused weight - If all you need is a small range of weights or specific weights, it may still be cheaper to buy a few pairs of fixed weights over one adjustable dumbbell pair

REGULAR FIXED DUMBBELLS
PROS & CONS

Pros

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    Faster to switch weight - Transitioning to the next exercise or set is as easy as grabbing another dumbbell, no need to load or unload weight plates or fiddle with a weight selection pin or dial
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    Cheaper to buy specific weights - You can buy only the weight loads you'd actually use, or if you only workout with a small weight range
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    Built strong - Typically made out of all metal with nothing to break and no collars to loosen up
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    Silent - No nagging metal noises rattling weight plates touching one another, a common issue with adjustable dumbbells

Cons

  • minus
    Consumes a lot of space -  The weights will use a lot of space of your home gym or living room as you'll need several dumbbell pairs in order to cover a wide range of weight
  • minus
    Expensive to cover wide weight range -  You need more than one pair to satisfy different kinds of exercises, buying multiple pairs can get costly
  • minus
    Impractical to take anywhere - Several pairs of fixed dumbbells weigh much more plus take more space than one pair of adjustable dumbbells

Slow vs. Quick Adjustable Dumbbells

In the previous section, I wrote about the limitations of fixed weight dumbbells making them a bad choice for a home gym.

So adjustable dumbbells are the right choice, good.

But there are two kinds of adjustable dumbbells:

1. Standard (Slow) Adjustable dumbbells that use weight plates and collars
2. Quick Adjustable dumbbells with selectorized weight

Standard Adjustable Dumbbells With Plates & Collars

These are the old-style ones, it's essentially just a bar to which you place weight plates on both sides, then use a clip collar to tighten them so they won't fall off the bar.

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Adjustable weight dumbbells that use standard plates have been around forever. They are inexpensive and versatile, however, changing the weights is a bit cumbersome.

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Every time you want to change the weight you have to loosen the collars on both sides, take off the plates or add plates or both, then put the collars back on, all this takes time.

Quick Adjustable Dumbbells With Selectorized Weight

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Selectorized dumbbells have the full set of weights in one block and you pull the selected amount of weight from the block.

Unlike plate-loaded dumbbells, choosing the desired weight of selectorized dumbbells is almost instant.

The two most well-known companies that make fast weight-adjusting dumbbells are Bowflex and, PowerBlock.

Bowflex dumbbells feature a dial, you simply turn to dial select the weight you want and lift up the dumbbell, that's it.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Only the weight you selected will attach to the dumbbell, the rest of the weight will remain on a dumbbell tray. Next time you want to change the weight just place it back on the tray, turn the dial and work with the new weight. Easy peasy.

Promotional video of the Bowflex 522 Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock dumbbells have a pin selector for choosing the weight you want. It reminds of the pin selector used in gym equipment. Just take the pin out and insert it in the weight you want to select, it's very fast, and there isn't even any need for a dumbbell tray as with the Bowflex.

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Adjustable Dumbbells for P90x & Beachbody Workouts

Workouts such as P90x and Beachbody require that you quickly change weight between sets or exercises without rest. Resting for too long during your workout defeats the purpose of the P90x program.

The same holds true for the successors of the P90x program, and most Beachbody workouts.

Therefore, if you're planning on doing or are currently doing P90X, you need dumbbells that allow change weights as fast as possible.

You might think any adjustable dumbbells will do, however that is not the case. For P90x you need specifically quick adjusting dumbbells.

​In fact, any intense strength training that requires minimal or no rest during the workout would benefit from weights ​that adjust quickly with no messing around.

Old style adjustable dumbbells use short dumbbell bars loaded with regular weight plates on both sides that are tightened with collars.

Whenever you need to increase or decrease the amount of weight, you have to unscrew the collars from both sides, and then add or remove weight plates, sometimes you need to do both as different plates differ in weight, and you have to calculate the weight load you need. You then tighten the collars to hold the plates in place.

I think you get the idea, it takes far too much time!

That's why you need the fast adjusting dumbbells. These have "smart" weight change mechanisms that allow you to change the weight almost instantly.

The two most noted quick adjustable dumbells to fit the fit are the
Bowflex SelectTech 552 and the PowerBlock (jump to review).

Bowflex's model has a large dial that allows its user to increase or decrease the amount of weight being lifted easily (jump to the review)

The PowerBlock has rectangular block-shaped weights with feature buttons, changing weight is a snap and the PowerBlocks have an outstanding reputation for being robust and reliable (jump to review). 

Features of Adjustable Dumbbells
Everything You Must Know
(in less than 3 minutes)

To go directly to our top picks click here.

Want to know which features you should care about?
Here are the 7 features that matter
(only a three minute read to be an expert)

#1 Selecting & Changing Weights

The reason you are even considering buying adjustable dumbbells over fixed dumbbells is the ability to use different weights on the same dumbbell pair.

So naturally, the first feature you should look into is how to change the weight.

Spin-Locks & Collar-Lock Dumbbells
That's the "classical" way of changing weights. These type of weights have been used in home gyms since mankind (well.. almost). You manually change the weight by adding or subtracting weighted plates. Plates are held firmly by a collar so they won't slide off the bar.

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

This system is compact and does the job, but there's one main shortcoming, changing the weight is a little bit involved.

You first have to split the amount of weight onto both sides of the bar. Then you have to remove the collars and add or remove weight plates on each side of the dumbbell. Finally, you have to place back all four collars on the dumbbells to keep the plates in place.

Adjusting the weight that way can take 30-60 seconds for both dumbbells. Fiddling with the weights means less real rest between sets. For the same reason, such adjustable dumbbells aren't perfect for fast workouts like P90x or HIIT which require minimal rest between sets and exercises.

Pin Weight Selector
This quick weight changing system was invented by PowerBlock.

The pin is simply placed into the selected weight, you then lift the dumbbell from the block and the remaining weight is left behind.

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

The main advantage of this system is that it only takes a few seconds to change the weight.

Changing weight quickly is something anyone lifting weight will appreciate, but in some cases, it's not optional, it's a feature you just have to have.

For example, fast paced weight workouts (P90x, Beachbody etc...) or drop sets, require dropping weight between sets as fast as possible, preferably in less than 20 seconds.

Weight Selection Dial
The selection dial is used on several dumbbells, but the most well-known dumbbells to use the selection dial are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 and 1090

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

You would rotate the dial on the side to the weight you want to use, then lift the dumbbell out of the plate holder while the remaining weight is left in the plate.

You have four selection dials to rate, two on each dumbbell.

Changing the weight is fast, but can take you a few more seconds than it takes to change using the pin selector system.

Bottom Line
If you want to change weights fast go for dumbbells that use pin selector (like the PowerBlock) or a selection dial (like the Bowflex).

If you don't mind spending a minute or so to change weights go for the "classic" adjustable dumbbells that are basically bars, weight plates and collars for securing plates on the bars.

#2 Minimum & Maximum Dumbbell Weight

The maximum amount of weight the adjustable dumbbell weighs is the first feature most people will look into.

Most adjustable weights start at a fairly low minimum that would be great for just about anyone (even newbies).

The aspect that must be looked at more closely is the weight maximum that each adjustable weight system allows.

Most adjustable weights start between 2.5 lbs and 5 lbs. and go to around 50 lbs.

If you are just starting and never see yourself doing any sort of exercise requiring more than 50 lbs per hand, then you are in good to go with almost any pick.

On the other hand, if you are already racking your weights to 30 lbs. for bicep curls, then consider something that goes to a heavier weight.

Most adjustable weights let you add plates to make the weight heavier.

Dumbbells with quick-changing mechanisms like the PowerBlock have weight expansion packs add-ons that can make a single dumbbell weigh as much as 90 lbs.

Not all adjustable weights have expansion option though, so that's worth checking (we mention this for each dumbbell we review in this guide).

Bottom Line
If you are looking to get seriously stronger and more muscular, you'll want adjustable weights that have a high maximum or can grow with you later on by adding expansion kits or plates.

For general fitness, you have different goals, you are not looking to break weightlifting records, or be super strong, just get more fit and toned. In that case don't worry about expansion kits, just buy one dumbbell set with enough weight max and you're fine.

#3 Weight Increments

Small progressive increments in the weight you lift is what will make you stronger, fitter with denser muscles.

For some exercises, you can make big jumps in the weight you lift without much problem. However, for exercises that work small muscle groups, small 2.5-5 lb increases are preferred.

The most simple rule in weightlifting is that in order to get stronger you have to increase the weights you lift over time.

Small steady increase in weight loads gives big results.

Increments in Quick-Changing Dumbbells
With specialized adjustable weights such the Bowflex 552 that uses a dial selector or the PowerBlock Elite that uses pin adjustment, the increments have already been predetermined by the manufacturer.

Increments for such weights range from 2.5 lbs to 5lbs., which is pretty reasonable. If you are a beginner it might be best to choose something with smaller weight increments than bigger. 

Increments in Regular Spin-Lock / Collar Dumbbells
With the spin-lock based dumbbells, you decide how much weight you want to add to the bar, by manually placing each plate onto the bar.

For example to add 2.5 lbs of weight to one dumbbell you will need two 1.25 lb plates.

Bottom Line
The smaller the increment in weight that a dumbbell set allows, the better. If you are buying plated-weights in a package, recognize that most don't come with 1-pound plates or even 2.5-pound plates. However, the big advantage for collar based dumbbells is that you can purchase weight plates separately.ff

#5 Length of Weight Bar

The length of the weight bars is not something you'll hear a lot of talk about, but it is something you need to consider when choosing what dumbbells to buy.

If the weight bar is too long it can make some exercises more difficult to perform.

Some adjustable dumbbells have fixed length. For example, the length of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells stays the same whether you are lifting 5 lbs. or 50 lbs.

On the other hand, the PowerBlock Elite dumbbells change its size depending on the amount of weight you have selected, at 5 lbs the bar will be at a minimum length while selecting the maximum weight will make the dumbbell's dimensions longer.

If you are a hardcore lifter with broad shoulders it might not matter as much to you, however if you have narrow shoulders, you may find it slightly uncomfortable to perform certain exercises, at least at first.

That's especially true if you are used to working out with fixed weight dumbbells at the gym, as fixed and hex dumbbells have short bars.

Long dumbbells may cling together at the top position in exercises like shoulder presses or dumbbell bench. A simple workaround is to slightly rotate them towards the end position to allow for a better contraction of the deltoids or pecs.


Bottom Line
In most cases, the length of the bar is not a deal breaker in most because you can adjust your exercise slightly to compensate.

If you think that can be an issue for you, buy dumbbells that have varying bar length which depends on weight load (like the PowerBlocks) 

#6 Grip

Textured Metal Grip
Plate-loaded dumbells are more likely to come with a textured metal grip. More expensive adjustable dumbbells, which use quick weight selection systems, are more likely to come with a soft grip that conforms to the hand.

The most common type of grip and the one you'll find in commercial gyms on most dumbbells and barbells are the bare metal grips.

Bare metal grips are robust, and there is hardly any wear even after years of use. On the other hand, rubber padded dumbbell bars can lose shape, wear down and even tear over time.

The downside of metal grips is that they can cause discomfort on the palms of your hands and eventually form calluses. I have calluses on the palms of my hands for decades and don't care.

If you have sensitive hands, a good pair of lifting gloves or lifting foam pads is all you need to protect your hands.

Rubber Coated Grip
Rubber coated dumbbell bars are more comfortable to hold than metal grips. Rubber coating also helps your hand maintain a firmer grip, without your hands feeling fatigued.

Bottom Line
A comfortable grip is great but don't let the grip of a dumbbell be a major factor in your decision, you can always use gloves.

For bodybuilders, athletes and any weight room veterans, the kind of grip wouldn't matter too much.

Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

Core Fitness feature smooth rubberized grip

TIP

When my hands are unusually dry, I tend to have less tolerance for some dumbbells and gym equipment in general. So I simply use my good ole' trusty lifting grips over any bar, and this makes any discomfort instantly vanish.

#7 Dumbbell Stands

We consider dumbbell stands more as a nice to have feature than a necessity, that's why we feature them last.

Don't get us wrong, we still love stands, but they won't suit everyone and they do add to the cost. 

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Let's list the pros and cons of dumbbells stands:

Pros:

  • Convenient and easy access
  • Won't get in your way on the floor
  • No bending over - Having the dumbbell at waist level height at all times, make it easier to pick them up with less chance of hurting your back by bending

Cons:

  • The stand takes up space - As opposed to just placing on the floor, you can put the dumbbells away wherever you want or even in a closet.
  • Stands aren't cheap, they will add to the price.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Home

Do you want to buy adjustable dumbbells but don't know which ones to get?

Don't worry we nailed it down (after many days and long hours) to include only what we believe are the best adjustable dumbbells on the market.

We left the bad stuff out.

All the adjustable dumbbells here that made it into our reviews are well worth your money.

Here are our picks:
You can read the reviews or read-through chronologically.

Dumbbells

Our Rating

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Overall Winner - Best Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Best Expandable Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

Heavy Dumbbells with Fast Weight Adjustment

Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

Best Quick Adjustable Set for Strong Guys

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

Budget Pick

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Best Dumbbell Set For Beginners

Ringstar Starring 105-200 Lbs adjustable dumbbells (105 LBS Black with Trays)

Low-Cost Heavy Adj. Dumbbells

Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

Fastest Adjustable Dumbbells

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

Best for Fitness

Weider PowerSwitch 12.5 lb. Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Finest Lightweight Dumbbells for Women

Bowflex SelectTech 522 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 are probably the most popular adjustable dumbbells for home gyms. You may have seen them in a commercial, on Amazon or in sports outlets.

Bowflex is recognized as one of the top makers of home gym equipment.

The SelectTech 552 dumbbells are Bowflex top selling adjustable dumbbells. They are known for being extremely compact and for having a selection dial that allows for quick adjusting of weight load.

Video Selecting Weight on the Bowflex 522

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Fast 10-20 Seconds To Adjust Weight
Bowflex weight adjustment technology called SelectTech, allows you to quickly select the weight you want the dumbbell to hold through rotation of dials located on both ends of the dumbbell. The unused weight plates remain in the tray.

Thirty Dumbbells in One Set 
One pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells can replace a total of 15 traditional (fixed weight) dumbbells pairs.

Versatile Wide Range of Weight
The weight begins at 5 lbs and increases in increments of 2.5 lbs until reaches 25 lbs per dumbbell. From 25 pounds to 52.5 pounds the increments in weight are in 5 lbs (except the last jump is by 2.5lb)

You can adjust the Bowflex 552 to the following weights:
5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5

This range makes the SelectTech 552 suitable for people who work with lightweight as well as heavier weight.

Non-Slip Grip Handle
No more blisters on you hand from the metal bars at the gym! The Bowflex SelectTech 552 has one of the most comfortable grips of all adjustable dumbbells.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Weights Must Be Placed in The Holder Adjust
You cannot adjust weights in the moment. First, you have to put the dumbbell in the special tray, and only then turn the weight selection dial.

Rotate Twice to Change Weight
You might want to note both sides of each dumbbell has to be adjusted. So turning the weight selection dial total of four times. Not such a big deal, it is still fast, but not as fast as dumbbells like the PowerBlocks that only use a single pin on each dumbbell to set the weight.

Length of Dumbbell
The dimensions of the weights allow for versatility in a workout, but the length of the bars is fixed at 15.75 inches. So whether you lift 5 pounds or 50 pounds the bar stays at 15.75 inches long. The fixed length can make certain exercises awkward, especially exercises done with weights close to the body.

There are always variations though. Instead of doing a regular bicep curl, you can turn the dumbbell the other way and still get a great workout using this product, it just requires a bit getting used to.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Each dumbbell is 15.75" long

Plastic May Not Last Long
The plastic pieces used on the Bowflex especially for parts of the actual weights can wear down quicker than cast iron only dumbbells.

Sidenote: As with most gym equipment, these must be taken care of. Just don't throw or drop your dumbbells in rage and you should be just fine. Remember that adjustable dumbbells that use quick weight selection mechanisms require you to be just a little bit more gentle than with fixed weight dumbbells.

OUR CONCLUSION

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 have more pros than cons so not wonder so many people love them, and why we rate them as the best adjustable dumbbells.

The small increments in weights make these perfect for the beginners as well as the more advanced.

The max of 52.5 lbs per dumbbell is more than enough for arm workout and most exercises.

But if you are a strong bodybuilder you might find the 52.5 pounds not heavy enough to do exercises like dumbbell bench presses, shoulder presses and bent over dumbbell rows.

Sure, we mentioned a couple of things we didn't quite like about them, like the fixed bar length and some plastic parts, but these issues are inherent in most adjustable dumbbells.

Click for price


Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Overall Winner - Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Our Rating

Weight Range

5-52.5 lbs

Expandable

No


Power Block Elite Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Power Block was the first company to come up with the idea of a quick weight adjusting dumbbells.

Up until then, the only adjustable dumbbells were the ones which you manually load and unload plates, fastening the bar with a collar.

Even though the original PowerBlocks were invented two decades ago, the company kept upgrading and tweaking the models.

The PowerBlock Elite is the company's best selling model and is one of the highest rated adjustable dumbbells on the market.

Video shows PowerBlock Elite can expands up to 90 lbs per dumbbell

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Pin Mechanism Makes Changing Weight Fast
The PowerBlocks use a pin selector to adjust weights. It takes about 15 seconds to adjust both dumbbells.

Unlike Bowflex and other adjustable dumbbells that involve rotating a selector on both sides of each dumbbell, there's only one pin to change the weight on each PowerBlock dumbbell. This can make switching weight on the PowerBlocks slightly faster than on the Bowflex.

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Changing weight on PowerBlocks

The Safest Adjustable Dumbbell
The mechanisms that holds the weight is very strong. To compare, there have been some reports of people using Bowflex dumbbells that have loosened during exercise with plates falling off (ouch!)

Unlike Bowflex, with the PowerBlock all pieces hold solid. The risk of the weight falling off is extremely minimal. The PowerBlocks have the rep of being the safest to use among all adjustable dumbbells.

Short Length Dumbbell
PowerBlock makes one of the shortest adjustable dumbbells out there. That's a huge advantage that most people aren't aware of when they compare between dumbbells.

The length of the PowerBlock isn't fixed, it adjusts according to the amount of weight you selected.

For example, if you selected 25 pounds, the length of the dumbbell would only be 9.5 inches.

Now if you loaded the dumbbell with 50 pounds, it would be slightly longer at 11.75 inches. But even at the maximum length, the PowerBlock is still much shorter compared to other adjustable dumbbells.

As a comparison, the Bowflex SelectTech 522 has a fixed length of 15.75" long throughout all weights. It would be 15.75" long even if loaded with just 5 pounds.

That's a big difference, and the PowerBlock wins over the Bowflex for sure as far as being shorter and one of the reasons why many people prefer the PowerBlocks over the Bowflex.

Even if you use the expansion to get the PowerBlock to 70 pounds, it would still only be 14 inches long. Still shorter than the Bowflex 522!  

Shorter dumbbell means it's easier to perform exercises in which the weights can come close together at the peak contraction. When performing exercises like shoulder presses or dumbbell bench presses you'll get a better squeeze at the end position of the movement.

Smarter Increments in Weight
Most adjustable dumbbells begin with weight increments of 2.5 lbs, but then weight is increased in steps 5 lbs (usually at around 20 lbs) until the max amount of weight is reached.

The PowerBlock increment in weight load change between 2.5 to 5 lbs depending on the weight.

This makes more sense because as the dumbbell get heavier to lift, it's much harder to make big jumps in weights. It's easier to make the small increments in weights. Slow but consistent increases in weight over time is what makes you stronger.

The PowerBlock Elite is adjustable to: 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50lbs per hand. Giving you sixteen worth of dumbbells pairs in just a single pair of PowerBlock.


Comfortable Grip
The handles conform to your and, making for a good grip. The unique shape of the PowerBlock's cage-like weights can help you with the grip on certain exercises, as you can angle your hand to lean on the weights.

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Expandable to 90 Lbs of Weight
Buy an expansion kit and make a standard single 50 pounds PowerBlocks go up to 90 pounds. You are essentially replacing 28 worth of dumbbell pairs with just one pair. That's an advantage that you don't have with most adjustable dumbbells, including the popular Bowflex SelectTech 552.

You can also buy the PowerBlocks pre-configured with the 90 pounds expansion.

Long Lasting
The PowerBlocks are all made of metal, even the weight selector pin. You don't need to worry about a flimsy piece of plastic breaking during a workout. They are sturdy and feel like they can get more beating than other dumbbells.

10-Year Warranty
Sure all dumbbells come with a warranty, but the PowerBlocks long extended warranty will give you a piece of mind that you won't have to buy another set of dumbbells for a long time.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Awkward Shape
They are called PowerBlocks for a reason, their shape reminds that of a block rather than of a conventional dumbbell.

This shape may feel strange at first, but you'll get used to and forget about it pretty fast.

The only type of exercises where the cage-like design may get in the way are exercises that use two hands on one dumbbell, such as lying triceps extension and Lying Dumbbell Pullovers. But you can work out some grip variations.

Noisy
The all-metal built is what makes the PowerBlocks so durable but at the same time can make them louder. In fact, that's the main complaint people have about the PowerBlocks.

The weights can clank during the workout. If you are easily annoyed by noise, this is something you should take into consideration. I personally don't care as I am wearing headphones, but if clanking sounds coming out of your home gym can disturb others, that's something to consider. It is still not that loud.

Pin Weight Selection Not Always Perfect
Not-so-perfect match for pins and weights- Though the metal makes it more durable, sometimes it take more than a few seconds to get the pin and the weights to line up when adjusting the weight. 

OUR CONCLUSION

The PowerBlocks have been around for the longest time of any adjustable dumbbell so their reliability stood the test of time. The ten-year warranty will give you even more piece of mind.

PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

The PowerBlocks can grow with you. As you get stronger, instead of buying heavier dumbbells, just buy the expansion kit and turn your weights into 90 pounds each.

You can also get the PowerBlock right from the get-go with 70 or 90 lbs.

If you are a bodybuilder or a very strong guy, the advantage of being able to turn these 50 lbs dumbbells into 90 lbs, can alone make the purchase of the Power Blocks worth it.

Click for price


PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair)

Best Expandable Adj​ustable Dumbbells

Our Rating

Weight Range

5-50 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

Yes up to 90 lbs


Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

The SelectTech 1090 is the big brother of the SelectTech 552 (also reviewed)

The main difference is the weight capacity.

The SelectTech 1090 can hold up to 90 pounds per dumbbell, while the 552 only holds up to 52.5 pounds per dumbbell.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

The two key features that remain the same between the SelectTech 552 and 1090 are:

Quick Weight Selection
Bowflex quick weight selection dial allows changing of weight within 10-20 seconds, super fast compared to old style collar based dumbbell bars.

Compact
One pair of SelectTech 1090 replaces 17 pairs of dumbbells. That's a huge space saver, especially for home gyms where workout space is already limited.

Two advantages of this model:

From 10 lbs to 90 lbs in Increments of 5 lbs
The SelectTech 1090 is one of the very few adjustable dumbbells that can go up to 90 lbs without add-ons. Weight increments of 5 pounds are pretty good for a dumbbell that can go that heavy.

One dumbbell can be adjusted to the following weights:
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90 pounds.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

Three-Year Warranty
That's a longer warranty and more piece of mind that you'd get with the 552 model which only comes with a two years warranty.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Long Dumbbell
The SelectTech 552 bar is already long, but the SelectTech 1090 is even longer at 17.5 inches.

Some exercises can feel awkward due to the length of each dumbbell. Also, the length of the bar remains fixed throughout the weight range, ten pounds weight would be as long as 90 pounds.

Tough Grip
The handle on the SelectTech 1090 is rougher than the handle of the 522. We assume Bowflex decided to make the handle appeal more for bodybuilders and stronger guys. Leaving out rubber coating on the bar also means there would be no wear, as rubber bar can wear over time.
​​

OUR CONCLUSION

We recommend the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 for bodybuilders and strong lifters for whom the lighter model 552 won't get the job done.

We wouldn't recommend the 1090 adjustable dumbbells for beginners because of the bar length and the higher increments in weight of 5 lbs throughout the weight range (The 522 have smaller increments of 2.5 lbs for some weight ranges)

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Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

Heavy Dumbbells with Fast Weight Adjustment

Our Rating

Weight Range

10-90 lbs (one dumbbell)

Expandable

No


Ironmaster 75 lb-120 lb Quick-Lock

Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

This Ironmaster adjustable dumbbell set is one of the leading and most highly-rated adjustable dumbbells on the market. You can begin with the weight at 5lbs (using just the bar) and can be increased in 2.5 lb to 5 lbs increments up to 75 pounds.

Ironmaster uses a unique Quick-Lock system that allows the weight to be changed quite fast by turning locking screws on the sides.

The Ironmaster is the only adjustable dumbbell in our reviews that comes with a stand. Though stands are sold as an optional add-on by other manufacturers, Ironmaster decided to include the dumbbell stand as a standard.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Promotional Video of the Ironmaster Quick-Lock

Quick Weight Adjustment Mechanism
Ironmaster uses a unique Quick-Lock system that allows the weight to be changed quite fast by turning locking screws on the sides.

Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

Stand Included
Not all adjustable dumbbells come with a stand as standard. The stand holds the dumbbells at a comfortable waist-level height so you don't need to bend everytime you want to pick up the weight. The stand can even hold the Ironmaster with the add-on 120 lbs kit.

All Steel - No Plastic
The Ironmaster are all made of steel, there are no plastic parts which is a considerable advantage.

Some adjustable dumbbells, for example the Bowflex are mostly made of steel, but their weight adjustment system (SelectTech) is made of plastic which can break with long-term abuse.

Can Extend to 120 Lbs
Ironmaster sells an add-on kit that adds extra 45 pounds of weight per dumbbell. This turns the 75 lbs dumbbell into a 120 lbs., making the Ironmaster an excellent choice for serious and hardcore weightlifters.


Comfortable Adjusting Length Bar
The shorter the dumbbell, the less it gets in your way performing exercises (importance of length of bar link). The length of the bar on the Ironmaster isn't fixed, it depends on how much weight you load on it. With the minimum weight, the dumbbell measures just 10 inches long, at the maximum weight of 75 lbs it reached 16 inches.

Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

Dumbbell length changes depending on loaded weight

Almost Silent
You can say goodbye to any clanking or rattling with these weights. Dropping the weight or the dumbbells touching, as in exercises like shoulder presses, won't produce the usual iron clinging, The Ironmaster are the least noisy, people rave about how quiet they are compared to other dumbbells.

Guaranteed for Life

The peace of mind you get buying the Ironmaster cannot be understated. Ironmaster is the only manufacturer in our reviews that offers a lifetime warranty for their dumbbells.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Pricey
The Ironmaster dumbbell set is pricier than some other leading options. The heavier weight of the Ironmaster and the included stand are what makes the Ironmaster more expensive than other adjustable dumbbell sets.

Not The Fastest to Change Weight
Changing weight on the Ironmaster is faster than with old-school adjustable dumbbells that use collars, but not as nearly as fast as with the Bowflex 522 or PowerBlock Elite. That's because you have to load and unload the plates yourself on both sides, although securing the weights in place is fast with Ironmaster Quick-Lock system.

OUR CONCLUSION

We recommend the Ironmaster to bodybuilders and tough guys for whom the standard 50 lbs adjustable dumbbell won't get the job done.

The Ironmasters all-steel design makes them more robust than the Bowflex 522 and 1090. The Bowflex are a little more susceptible to damage because their weight selection mechanics are made of plastic.

​The main downside is that adjusting the weight takes longer than the Bowflex, but still much quicker than normal plate dumbbells like the Yes4All.

If you think 75 lbs isn't enough, no problem, as soon as you reach the strength of easily lifting 75 pounds for reps, just buy an add-on kit and increase the Ironmasters to 120 lbs, now that is some serious weight.

Combine the 120 lbs max weight capacity along with the lifetime guarantee that the Ironmaster comes with and you shouldn't worry about buying another adjustable dumbbell set ever.

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Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand

Best Quick Adjustable Dumbbells for Strong Guys

Our Rating

Weight Range

5-75 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

Yes up to 120 lbs


Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

Yes4All adjustable dumbbells offer a wide range of weight that you can pick according to your skill level.

You can grab a 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105 or 200-pound set

You won't get a fancy quick weight selection mechanism as you would with dumbbells like the Bowflex 522, but that also makes the Yes4All very inexpensive and reliable, as there's nothing to break.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Cheap
You'll pay around a dollar per pound. That is, a 40 lbs dumbbell would cost you, about forty bucks give or take.

Adjustable Plates
You change the weight by adding or removing 1.25" cast iron plates. The plate weight varies depending on which plates you load.

Star Lock Collar
The Star lock collar is the standard spin-off method. The screw type collar keeps the weights on. It's a simple and inexpensive way to keep the plates on. Dumbbells with sophisticated quick weight changing mechanisms cost much more.

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

Shown Yes4All 60 lbs set
(Also available in 40-200 pound sets)

Sturdy Built With No Plastic
There's no plastic to chip and break. The lack of a special selection system is an advantage here, as there's nothing to break.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Not as Quick to Adjust Weight
There's no quick weight selection here. Manually adding or removing plates will slow you down. If you don't change weights often or if you rest 90 seconds pre more per set you shouldn't care.

Non-Perfect Weight Increments Out of the Box
Yes4All dumbbells come in various weights, and the plates you'll get depend on which set you buy (weight sets are available from 40 to 200 pounds)

If you get the 50 lbs set, the minimum weight steps are 6 lbs (3 lbs plate on both sides of the dumbbell). We would have loved to see smaller increments of weight possible right out of the box if only Yes2All included 1.25 lbs plates.

You can solve it by buying small 1.25 lbs Yes4All plates separately from Amazon and its something we recommend.

Adding 1.25 lb to each side, you get a small 2.5 pounds of weight increment per dumbbell, which is ideal and something you don't get even with expensive quick weight selection dumbbells like the Bowflex 522 or Ironmaster.

Non-Standard Plates
Yes4All dumbbells have a 1.25-inch diameter while standard dumbbell plates have a 1-inch diameter. You would need to buy additional Yes4All plates from Amazon.

Collar Can Get Loose
The collar can get slightly loose over time. It's not a safety concern, while this won't let the plates fall off, it can produce some rattling.

OUR CONCLUSION

The Yes4All adjustable dumbbells give you the best bang for your buck.

They fit all level of users, it doesn't matter if you are a beginner or an advanced trainee, They are essentially just bars with plates you can load on.

We recommend you buy the Yes4All adjustable dumbbells if you answer yes to these questions:

  • You have a low budget or don't want to spend much.

  • You need weights that can be as light as 4 lbs or as heavy as 200 lbs per dumbbell.

  • You don't need to change weights super fast, as in P90x or HIIT workouts.

60 lbs Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbells - ²D1IBZ

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells

Our Rating

Weight Range

3-100 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

Yes via plates


CAP Barbell 40 lb. Dumbbell Set

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

The CAP RSWB-40TP is a lightweight dumbbell set with a total maximum weight of 40lb.

Doing exercises with both dumbbells, each can go from a minimum of 3.5 lbs (just the bar) to a maximum of 20 pounds ber hand.

If you are doing one-arm exercises, you can put all the plates on one dumbbell and get a single dumbbell with about 40 lbs of weight.

For muscle isolation and one-arm exercises, 40 pounds is enough, particularly if you do high-repetition sets.

This set comes with four 2.5 lb. metal plates, and four 5 lb. metal plates.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Includes a Nice Carrying Case
This is the only dumbbell set reviewed here that comes with a hard carrying case. This helps to keep everything neatly in one place and also adds portability, like moving to another room or taking for a trip.

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Cap 40 lbs dumbbell set with case

Uses Standard Weight Plates
It's easy to upgrade and add more weight because the CAP dumbbells use one-inch plates. You can buy these at any sports store or on Amazon. That's an advantage since some dumbbell brands use non-standard plates that force you to only purchase additional weights from them.

Offers a Quiet Workout
There are rubber stoppers to hold the weights on the bar in place, so your workout will not be waking up the neighbors or your spouse with loud clanking.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Misleading Weight Max
The CAP RSWB-40TP is presented by the manufacturer as a 40 lbs dumbbell set. However, it's not clear enough that you get a total of 40 pounds for both dumbbells, not per dumbbell. It's only 20 lbs per dumbbell.

Collar-Lock​

This is not the fastest way to change weight load, but you can still adjust the weight on both dumbbells in a minute or less. This isn't just a disadvantage of the CAP, but for all standard adjustable dumbbells that do not employ a quick weight selection system.​​

OUR CONCLUSION

If you are just starting out the CAP is an excellent choice. The CAP is also a great purchase for women looking to strengthen their body or do high reps workouts.

If you're looking for something inexpensive to start with, and want to have the option to add more weight as you get stronger, this is it.

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Excellent Gift Idea
It's a great way to get someone into fitness at the comfort of his or her own home in a non-intimidating way.

Years ago, I bought a similar dumbbell kit to my father as a birthday gift, which he still uses to this day.

Several features make the CAP set good as a gift:

  • It includes a nice hard plastic carrying case, so you aren't just getting a bunch of weights in a box.

  • The 3.5 to 40 pounds range (20 lbs max per hand) is just the right amount of weight for people of all ages and those that are just starting out.

  • The light weight also makes it perfect for sedentary people.

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

Best Dumbbell Set For Beginners & General Fitness

Our Rating

Weight Range

3-20 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

Yes via plates


Starring Adjustable Dumbbells

Ringstar Starring 105-200 Lbs adjustable dumbbells (105 LBS Black with Trays)

Starring is another brand of basic dumbbells that are essentially just bars, plates, and collars. You manually load the plates on the bar and then secure them with a spin-lock type of collar.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Variety of Options to Choose From
Starring offers several weight ranges and finishes.
All options come with two bars and four collars.

105 pounds set - You get two adjustable dumbbells that can go from 5 lbs up to 52.5 lbs per hand.

200 pounds set - Two adjustable dumbbells that can go from 5 lbs up to 100 lbs per hand.

They are available in a shiny chrome plated or the standard black pained finish.

Small Increments in Weight
Starring includes various weight plates that allow for small increments of weight. You can go from the minimum of 5 pounds up to the maximum weight in small steps of 5 lbs throughout the whole range of weight.

Some adjustable dumbbells do offer 5 pounds increments, but many times the adjustments jump to 10 pounds when the dumbbell reaches 20 pounds of weight.


The small adjustments in steps of 5 pounds for both the 100 and 200 lbs sets is a big plus because at high strength levels it's more difficult to lift heavier weights and calls or small steady increments in weight over time.

Optional Dumbbell Trays
For a few more dollars, you can get the Starring set with two black plates on which you can place the dumbbells. We don't consider the dumbbell trays necessary, but if you want to protect your floor from damage and prevent floor damage select the model that comes with the trays.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Low-Quality Plates
While the plates may look shiny and nice at the beginning, they have a cheap feeling to them. Over time, the coating can chip and crack more easily than with other weights. If you are planning to max out during a workout and drop weights, the looks of these dumbbells won't last long.

Unforgiving Grip
The grip on the Starring are good for helping your weights not slip out of your hands, but at the same time, they feel too jagged. This can be rough for your hands, and we do recommend using lifting gloves or grip pads to avoid grip discomfort in the long-run.

Non-standard Size Weights
The plates used on the Starring adjustable dumbbells have a non-standard size. Starring dumbbell bars can only accept plates that have 1.125 inches circumference holes, and these are also the plates that are supplied in the box.

However, if you want to buy more weights, you should buy Starring plates from Amazon. That's because the standard weight plates sold in shops have 1-inch holes and are too small to fit on the Starring bars...

OUR CONCLUSION

You won't find any fancy features in the Starring dumbbell set, but it is a decent all-arounder and these dumbbells are cheaper than most options.

Ringstar Starring 105-200 Lbs adjustable dumbbells (105 LBS Black with Trays)

The fact it the Starring is also offered as a 200 pounds set (allowing 100 lbs per dumbbell) will appeal to die-hard weightlifters and bodybuilders.

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Ringstar Starring 105-200 Lbs adjustable dumbbells (105 LBS Black with Trays)

Best Low-Cost Heavy Adjustable Dumbbells

Our Rating

Weight Range

3-100 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

Yes via plates


Core Fitness TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set

Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

The Core Fitness dumbbells haven't been around for as long as other dumbbells like Bowflex and PowerBlock, but man, these adjustable dumbbells do have something new to offer.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Twistlock - Super Fast One Hand Weight Selection
Selecting and changing weight in the middle of a workout is a snap with these dumbbells thanks to Twistlock.

You change the weight by putting the "handle" into the included case, and you then twist the handle. That's it! You can select the weight even with just one hand. That is something no other dumbbell set in our review currently offers.

In fact, it is quicker and easier to change the weight on the Core Adjustable Dumbbells than it is with any other dumbbells in this review.

This makes the Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells optimal for fast-paced workouts likes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and P90x.

Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

Using TwistLock to adjust the weight on the Stairmaster
The Core Fitness look the same with the TwistLock system as in video

High-End Dumbbells For a Low-Price
The Core Fitness dumbbells look and function exactly the same as the pricier Stairmaster dumbbells do, albeit under a different brand name.

How could it be? This is a common marketing practice, a prestigious company like Stairmaster, known for selling expensive high-end equipment can make two identical pieces of equipment, offering one under their own brand, and a more 'budget' brand at a significantly lower price.

More compact than other dumbbells - Of course all adjustable dumbbells are space efficient, but these dumbbells are designed in a such a way that they are even smaller than other adjustable dumbbells.

Perhaps the only other adjustable dumbbell to be more compact is the PowerBlock, and that's only because they have a bulky rectangular design rather than the round weight design that the Core Fitness have.

Non-Fixed Length
That goes hand in hand with being compact. Many dumbbells that use quick weight selection methods have a very long length no matter what weight is loaded on them. For example, the Bowflex SelectTech 522 dumbbells measure 15,75 inches long even when loaded with just 10 lbs of weight.

The Core Fitness Adjustable dumbbells on the other hand measure only slightly more than 9 inches with the minimum weight of 5 lbs , and about 14.3 inches long at the maximum weight of 50 lbs.

You can say goodbye to the awkward fixed length dumbbells!

Quiet Workout With Silent Plates
The weight plates are coated with a plastic that won't make any nagging metal sound when dropped on the floor or when dumbbells touch each other.

Good Weight Range and Increments
With 5 to 50 lbs of weight per dumbbell and small increments of 5 pounds, they work great for all workouts. The only exception is if the max of 50 is too light for you.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Delicate Weight Selection Mechanism
It's true that you can change weight with the Twistlock method almost instantly using one hand, but the mechanism seems to be more sensitive to damage than with other adjustable weights.

Throwing away these dumbbells on a hard floor looks as if it may damage them and over time can cause the weights to loosen or even fall off.

Not Enough User Feedback About Quality
Because Core Fitness dumbbells haven't been around for long enough, we don't know yet how well they will function after years of use.

The PowerBlock or Bowflex 522, on the other hand, are adjustable dumbbells that have been around for years and have a solid reputation for having minimal issues even with heavy use.

OUR CONCLUSION

These Core Fitness are underrated perhaps because they are so new and there are so many dumbbell brands that it's hard to stand out.

The quick one-hand weight selection does make changing weights easier in specialized workouts, that's for sure.

If you are doing high-paced workouts like P90x, HIIT or exercises with drop sets, you will absolutely love these dumbbells.

The Core Fitness dumbbells can make any free weights workout smoother because it lets you focus more on the exercise itself and less on the changing of weights.

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Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set By Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Weights - Dumbbells For Your Home -

Fastest Adjustable Dumbbells

Our Rating

Weight Range

5-50 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

No


Power Block SpeedBlock Adjustable Dumbbells

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

​Here's another dumbbell set from Power Block that made it into our review.

That's no coincidence, Power Block knows how to make good dumbbells, they are the company who invented fast weight adjusting dumbbells more than two decades ago​.

The PowerBlock SpeedBlock GF-SPDBLK24 is the little brother of the PowerBlock Elite (reviewed earlier).

The main difference between the two is that SpeedBlocks can go up to 24 lbs per hand, while the Elite can go up to 50 lbs.

PowerBlocks have tweaked and improved their adjustable dumbbells over the years, but for the most part, the core dumbbell design has remained the same for over two decades (which seems to be working).

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Quick Weight Changing
Changing the weight is done by a switching a pin selector and takes just a few seconds. If you need to change weight rapidly between exercises, you'll love the SpeedBlocks

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

Smallest Increases in Weights
The SpeedBlock can go from 3 up to 24 lbs per dumbbell in small increments of 3 lbs. Being able to increase the weight in small steps of 3 lbs is an excellent way to get fitter without risking injury.

Most adjustable dumbbells go by increments of 5 lbs per dumbbell, and that is considered the standard. We see the 3 lbs increments of the SpeedBlock a clear advantage over other dumbbells.

Perfect For Lightweight Workouts and Beginners
This range of weight of 3 lbs minimum and 24 lbs maximum per dumbbell, fits perfect for those into high repetition sets. The SpeedBlock will also make sense for women looking for "toning", losing weight and getting fitter without breaking any world records in powerlifting.

Very Safe to Use
The weight of the SpeedBlocks are secured in such a way that the weight cannot fall off on you in the middle of the workout.

There are are some horror stories on the internet of users reporting weights falling off in the middle of a set. Though this is quite rare, it may happen with improper use, especially with low-quality adjustable dumbbells.

The SpeedBlocks are the safest adjustable dumbbells you can get.


They have safety features to keep the weight from slipping in the midst of an exercise:

Magnetic pull - The pin has a magnetic pull that keeps it in place.

String - There is also a string to keep the pin in place and prevent it from loosening.

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Adjusting Weight On a Carpet is Difficult
If you exercise on a thick carpet, you may find it harder inserting the pin to select the weight. Changing weights is smoother on hard surfaces, but this isn't a huge issue.


Slightly Less Durable Than The Elite Model
We feel the SpeedBlocks are not as high quality as its bigger brother, the PowerBlock Elite. This can make changing the weight take another couple of seconds if the pins are misaligned.

OUR CONCLUSION

The SpeedBlocks are ideal for general fitness.

(If lifting 24 pounds is too light for you, check our review of the PowerBlock Elite instead)

We recommend them for beginners, women, teenagers and to just about anyone who wants to improve his physique at the comfort of their home and don't mind paying a bit more for being able to change the weight fast.

Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

People new to strength training will also appreciate the SpeedBlocks small 3 lbs increments and, comfortable rubber grip.

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Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbells

Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Fitness

Our Rating

Weight Range

3-24 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

No


Weider Speed Weight Adjustable Dumbbells

Weider PowerSwitch 12.5 lb. Adjustable Dumbbell Set

The Weider Speed Weight isn't just a lightweight dumbbell set, these are the lightest adjustable dumbbells being reviewed here.

PROS & THINGS WE LIKE

Suitable for Very Lightweight Workouts
With a minimum weight of 2.5 lbs and a max of 12.5 lbs per dumbbell, these all in one dumbbells are only suitable for high repetition workouts and endurance training.

Do Cardio & Lose Weight With Free Weights
These dumbbells are better for cardio and weight loss than other adjustable dumbbells. High reps, contiguous aerobic exercise performed for extended periods of times can tap into fat stores in a different way than anaerobic low-rep workouts. To get the best of both worlds combine cardio with strength training.

Add Resistance to Bodyweight Exercises
The small size and light weight of these dumbbells make them perfect to combine with simple bodyweight movements.

Rapid Weight Selection
You adjust the weight on the Weider by removing and re-inserting two knobs on each dumbbell

Dumbbells for Weight Loss

You might think that for fat loss and getting leaner you should be doing more cardio instead of strength training, however that's not the case.

According to Women's Health Magazine, adding strength training to your workouts using dumbbells causes more long-term weight loss than cardio. Your body continues to burn calories for at least one hour (and some say 24 hours) after the weight training session is over. 

CONS & WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

Weight May Feel Too Light
We would have liked if the maximum amount of weight would be 15 lbs but for women or light body moves, these work fine.

Weight May Shake During Use
The plates may touch one another making noise of metal. They aren't that noisy, but maybe you wouldn't want to use them inside a bedroom with your partner sleeping.

OUR CONCLUSION

We recommend the Weider Speed Weight for women who want to take their home workouts a step further.

If you are more comfortable with bodyweight only exercises, these dumbbells can add just enough weight to make common body moves and exercises more challenging.

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Weider PowerSwitch 12.5 lb. Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Best Lightweight Dumbbells for Women

Our Rating

Weight Range

2.5-12.5 lbs (per dumbbell)

Expandable

No



Here's a recap of the dumbbells reviewed in this article

No Money to Spare? Buy Used Adjustable Dumbbells

As you can see, you can buy a good set of adjustable dumbbells even if you are on a tight budget. We recommend the Yes4All and the Starring 65 as they are inexpensive, expandable and reliable.

However, if your budget is too low then, by all means, think about buying used dumbbells instead of postponing until you save enough money for a new set.

Maybe you want to buy high-end adjustable dumbbells, like the Power Block Elite or the Bowflex 522 which have quick weight adjustment mechanism, but rather not spend around $300 for a pair of dumbbells.

In that case, used dumbbells can be a great alternative to paying the full price, but there are a few things you must check and be aware of before buying.

Be Careful with Weight Adjustment Mechanisms
There's is very little that can go wrong with old-style adjustable dumbbells (that use weight plates and collars)

That said, there is actually quite a lot that can go wrong with quick weight-adjusting dumbbells.

Adjustment mechanisms such as the weight selector on the Bowflex SelectTech 522 or the Pin selector on the PowerBlock Elite tend to get damaged with repeated abuse.

Bowflex dial weight selector may not rotate smoothly and get stuck. The pin selector on the PowerBlock may get slightly angled making it harder to choose the weight.

The Condition of The Weights
If there is plastic is it in good condition or do you see some cracks? Does the metal seem rusted?

Consider Shipping Cost
Dumbbells and weights are very heavy and shipping cost can make the purchase of used weights less attractive. Consider when you buy a new set of dumbbells from Amazon, in some cases shipping is free or is minimal, as retailers like Amazon get better quotes on shipping.

If you feel like you have a good grip on things to look for and things to avoid, the best places to look are eBay, Amazon, or your local Craigslist.

eBay and Amazon typically have stipulations for their sellers to make sure you are getting what you paid for, and with a local Craigslist, you can go and view the product before you make the purchase.

Bottom Line
Adjustable dumbbells aren't that expensive, you can get a good pair at around $50, which is quite affordable.

Decided to buy used?
For simple adjustable kind of dumbbells (no quick weight selector), there isn't too much you should worry about.

However, for quick-weight selection dumbbells, like Bowflex, PowerBlock, Ironmaster and Core Fitness, you must make sure with the seller, that the weight selection mechanism isn't worn out or even slightly damaged.