What are the best adjustable dumbbells on the market?
Adjustable dumbbells serve a very clear purpose: flexibility, versatility, and mobility.
Flexibility. There are more remote and traveling workers than ever before. Digital nomad numbers are surging year after year. Home gym equipment is being bought up left and right.
The messaging is clear: people want access to training equipment that meets the constraints of their lifestyles. Adjustable dumbbells have it covered.
Versatility. It’s not enough to have some gym equipment. What can you do with it? Buying an entire set of dumbbells to use lighter and heavier weights just isn’t feasible for many people.
Adjustable dumbbells offer an all-in-one package that opens the door to thousands of exercises great for all experience levels.
Mobility. On the go? Limited space in a motel room? Adjustable dumbbells are typically the size of a large shoebox.
You can take one nearly anywhere, so long as you can load the accompanying weight. Few other training tools offer that kind of utility.
We’ve reviewed countless options across the web and have put together a list of 10 of the best adjustable dumbbells money can buy.
The Best Adjustable Dumbbells Compared
Our equipment lists are created by researching the best-reviewed products from the most reputable companies and web sources.
Here’s our list of the 10 best adjustable dumbbells:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
Our number one selection comes from a household name: BowFlex’s Select Tech 552 dumbbell.
BowFlex really needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated: they’ve been center stage in the home gym fitness equipment sector for decades.
They have the resources and customer base to back up top-of-the-line research and development – including material sourcing and design controls.
The 552 dumbbells are built in accordance with BowFlex’s reputation and come with a 2-year warranty on each part.
10. PANMAX – Adjustable Dumbbells
PANMAX’s adjustable dumbbell set includes a connecting rod, 12 total weight plates amounting to 44 total pounds, and a pair of shaft extensors.
The shaft handles can be used to extend the dumbbells into a makeshift barbell – a 2-in-1 package.
Each part is designed with ease of use and safety in mind: rubber-covered dumbbells, foam-covered shafts to reduce the impact on the hands, and hexagonal plates to reduce the risk of weights rolling before, during, or after use.
The company offers lifetime service on their products – a commendable service in an industry as competitive as fitness equipment.
- 2-in-1 function for access to dumbbell and barbell functionality
- 6 lb to 44 lb range is appropriate for beginners and intermediates
- Soft material used in the handles and shafts can experience early wear and tear
- Adjustability is not very convenient – sleeves must be fully unscrewed. If the threading becomes damaged or rusted, users have reported being unable to adjust components at all.
9. NiceC – Adjustable Dumbbells
NiceC’s adjustable dumbbells are lightweight options for beginner lifters, or those looking for a lower impact training option.
The dumbbells themselves are 2.3 lbs, and the set offers four 0.55 lb weights – making the top weight 4.5 lbs per hand.
NiceC implements a soft neoprene layer to protect the user’s hands from excessive friction damage or irritation.
Great for individuals who are rehabbing sharp injuries, the youth, or the elderly.
These dumbbells will deliver a very low-stress workout that can improve coordination and reduce the risks of muscle atrophy.
- Perfect low impact option for physical rehabilitation, new lifters, or elderly lifters
- Smooth, clean, comfortable design makes these dumbbells extremely easy to use, adjust, and store
- Much too light to be effective for more serious lifters (e.g. bodybuilders, powerlifters, Cross Fitters)
- Neoprene covering may not react well to consistent sweat exposure over long periods of use
8. PinRoyal – Adjustable Dumbbell Set
2-in-1 not good enough for you? PinRoyal steps up with a 4-in-1 adjustable dumbbell pair that load up to 44 lbs each – for 88 lbs total.
The set components can be rearranged to become a barbell, a push-up station, a dumbbell pair, or a kettlebell.
That’s an entire gym worth of equipment packed into something the size of two average dumbbells.
- 4-in-1 design (kettlebell, barbell, dumbbell, push up station) provides incredible value in a small package
- 2 dumbbell set where some competitors might only offer a single dumbbell in the same price range
- All the various components working together means there are points of instability – weights may shake or rattle a bit more than desired
- Not meant to endure heavy abuse, or repeated accidental drops
7. Deiris – Travel Weights
Doubling down on the portability use case for adjustable dumbbells, Deiris’ travel weights are built specifically for individuals who are on the go.
Each dumbbell is 2.2lbs (base weight) and can be folded into a compact shape for easy storage.
The weights are filled with water – meaning they can be emptied between uses or before hitting the road to save space in your trunk or back seat.
Impressively, these travel weights can still reach as much as 22.5lbs per side (a 45 lb maximum with a pair). Deiris also provides an any-reason money-back guarantee.
- Unchallenged level of portability – can be emptied of water to deflate, and then folded into a more compact form
- Can load up to 22.5lbs per dumbbell – stands out for a travel-focused dumbbell
- ABS plastic material might not withstand various environmental conditions well over time (e.g. a hot car)
- 22.5lbs is a relatively low weight overall, despite portability – not suited for advanced lifters
6. Ativafit – Adjustable Dumbbell
Ativafit’s adjustable dumbbell is the first to come with its own platform and built-in loading system.
A convenient, streamlined experience is front and center with Ativafit’s design choices. Their dumbbells come in 27.5 lb and 44.0 lb models.
To adjust the weight, the handles are fitted onto the base platform. A switch can then be used to select which weight you’d like.
The soft-grip handle ensures your hands are protected from abrasions or tearing during regular use.
- Ativafit often packages their products with deals (e.g. 50% off) on other equipment, such as adjustable benches
- Quick-change adjustment platform provides a zero-hassle, streamlined process for users
- Reviews have noted that material and construction can be fragile – weights falling out of the adjustment platform, or excessive rattling of parts
5. FLYBIRD – Adjustable Dumbbells
Flybird has two decades of fitness equipment manufacturing experience, and they’ve pumped that affinity into their adjustable dumbbell set.
Like others on our list, this set of dumbbells ships with a staging platform and easy-adjust mechanism (Flybird claims a “1-second weight change) – but at half the cost.
- Easily one of the most affordable adjustable dumbbell options that include a storage platform and streamlined adjustment mechanism
- Redundant security measures (8 lock structure) to help prevent weight shifting during use
- Reviews have reported the weight adjustor becoming locked on certain weights, or perpetually unlocked – mechanism might become loose with accidental damage
4. Yes4All – Adjustable Dumbbells
Yes4All is one of the old stand-bys of affordable home gym equipment.
There’s no need to question if that holds up with their adjustable dumbbell sets.
A cast iron made handle, eight 5 lb plates, two 2.5 lb plates, two 1.25 lb plates, and two collars come standard with your purchase.
That’s 52.5 lbs per hand for a price that is an order of magnitude below its competitors.
Weight plates are locked in by an old-school, yet secure threaded sleeve design. Each dumbbell is also compatible with extension components that enable loading of up to 200 lbs.
- 52.5 lbs of weight per dumbbell for a price multiple times less than alternative adjustable dumbbell options
- Old school thread-based design that ensures a high level of durability even in harsh use conditions
- Set up and adjustments are not as streamlined as other options
- Weight plates do need to be stored separately. Not quite as friendly for storage as other self-contained options.
3. PowerBlock – Elite Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock’s “Elite” adjustable dumbbells first appear to be a battery or generator of some sort – right down to the paintwork and decals.
In a manner of speaking, they may as well be with all the strength gains they’ll be generating for you (Okay, sorry for that one).
The Power Blocks are ranged from 5 lb to 50 lb each in 2.5 increments (equivalent to 16 pairs of classic dumbbells).
As a bonus, users can purchase “expansions” (EXP) to increase the dumbbell weight to 70 lbs and 90 lbs.
- Self-contained, block design – no need for staging platform. Highly portable, very ergonomic storage capacity.
- Can be expanded with additional weights to reach 70 lbs and 90 lbs – exceptional for veteran lifters
- Expansion capacity might be limited by the yearly model of your Power Block (e.g. 2020, 2021) – reviews note there are inconsistencies between models
- Handfuls of reviews have noted various issues, such as only one dumbbell being shipped, or specific components being missing
2. Merax Deluxe – Adjustable Dumbbells
If you’ve been paying attention, you might’ve noticed that most adjustable dumbbells are very limited in regard to total weight.
Most options float between 20 – 45 lbs. For the large majority of home gyms and hobbyists in need of equipment, 45 lbs is an adequate peak weight for a solid workout.
However, there are definitely trained athletes and advanced lifters who could use a bit more heft to their equipment – compact and portable or not.
Merax Deluxe’s adjustable dumbbells meet that exact niche.
Weighing in at up to 71.5 lbs (from 11lbs, in 5.5 lb increments), Merax Deluxe’s dumbbell model stands out as one of the few heavier weight adjustable options on the market.
Like other adjustable dumbbells, these come equipped with a staging platform and adjustment dial for convenient weight transitions and storage.
On top of it all, Merax guarantees a worldwide 2-year warranty.
- 71.5 top end weight markets the heaviest adjustable option on our list – great for intermediate and advanced lifters
- 2-year worldwide warranty
- Far and away the most expensive option on the list – despite including more total weight
1. Bowflex – SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex is number one in many ways, and not just because of this list.
They’ve been market leaders in their various home gym niches for what seems like forever.
People both in and outside the fitness industry are intimately familiar with the Bowflex brand for their years of effective ad campaigns and innovative, versatile products.
The Select Tech 552 adjustable dumbbell set continues in the tradition of Bowflex’s creative home gym solutions.
Each dumbbell can be loaded up to 52.5 lbs, starting at 5 lbs. With 2.5 lb and 5 lb increments, that’s equivalent to 15 sets of individual dumbbells.
Between Bowflex’s history of quality design and customer success stories, and their 2-year equipment warranty, you’re walking into an incredible value with the 552s.
These are some of the best adjustable dumbbells you’ll be able to find.
- 5 lb to 52.5 lb weight range in 2.5 lb increments for the first 25 lbs, 5 lb increments thereafter – equal to 15 sets of dumbbells
- Bowflex history of quality products, customer satisfaction, and a 2-year warranty ensures you are receiving the highest grade of service
- As with all adjustable dumbbells, the 552s are not meant to endure high-velocity drops, being thrown, or repeated accidental damage – individual components are liable to loosening or breaking with excessive impacts
FAQs About Adjustable Dumbbells
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about adjustable dumbbells:
Q: What is the best brand of dumbbells?
This gets said a lot, but the best brand of any kind of equipment is the one that best suits you.
We’ve given you our top 10 list based on affordability, convenience, versatility, and quality.
Picking out the best brand from there will depend on preference.
Take things like grip width, dumbbell size, weight material (rubber, metal, etc), and total weight into account.
Q: Are Bowflex dumbbells worth it?
The Bowflex Select Tech dumbbells were given the top slot based on an analysis of customer satisfaction, review sentiments, value, and their established level of quality.
The equipment gives you what you’re willing to put in. If you take our word for it, there’s no question that Bowflex’s line of dumbbells are top quality and worth every penny.
Still, there’s a chance our recommendation won’t perfectly align with your specific needs. That’s why we list 9 other options!
Q: Which dumbbell is best for beginners?
There isn’t really a distinction between beginner-level and advanced-level dumbbells. The great arbiter that determines who will use a dumbbell is its weight.
Therefore, the best dumbbell for a beginner is whichever one allows them to perform their exercises safely, and with good technique.
Q: How much weight should beginners use?
The amount of weight a beginner should use will depend on the exercise in question, and the natural strength level of the lifter.
Some people can walk into a gym and press 100lb dumbbells for reps on their very first outing. That’s not the general case, but it happens.
If you’re a beginner and are uncertain about your strength levels, start as light as possible and work your way up incrementally.
Once your technique begins to break down significantly, note whatever weight you’re working with and plan your programming around that range.
Q: How heavy should my dumbbells be?
Assuming you’re a lifter with experience beyond that of a beginner, you should begin practicing with a number of different weights, set ranges, and rep ranges.
Heavier weights may be used for lower rep, max effort workouts. Lighter dumbbells can be used for warm-up or drop-down sets.
Q: Is it ok to use dumbbells every day?
Some people swear by daily, full-body dumbbell training. It was certainly a fabled practice among strongmen in age’s past.
Functionally speaking, there’s no reason that dumbbells cannot be implemented into a daily routine in a balanced, healthy way.
There’s not a single active muscle in your body that dumbbells cannot be used to engage with.
Arrange your programming, diet, and rest so that each muscle group has adequate time to recover after a training session, and you can go on hitting dumbbells in perpetuity.
Q: Can dumbbells get you big?
Some of the oldest bodybuilding wisdom on the books swears by dumbbell isolation work to cultivate muscle size.
Pec flies, bicep curls, triceps extensions, front raises, rear flies, lateral raises, shoulder presses, wrist curls – the list of applications may as well be endless, but each item has found its way into a bodybuilder’s routine at some point or another.
Q: Do dumbbells really work?
Dumbbells work as well as any other piece of lifting equipment. Depending on the intent and implementation strategy, dumbbells can actually work better than any alternative.
They force unilateral control of the weight – meaning your body can’t compensate by transferring the load to another limb.
If you hit 8 reps with one arm, but only 6 with the other, you know you have an imbalance to work on.
Dumbbells not only help you identify those weak points, but are critical in getting you to correct the imbalance.
Q: Can you build muscle with dumbbells alone?
You can not only build muscle while solely using dumbbells, but you can do so with more variability and targeted effort than with barbells.
Dumbbells allow for increased freedom of movement and range of motion, deepening the stretch and contraction experienced across a muscle’s surface in certain exercises.
For instance, during a barbell bench press, the weight will necessarily stop at your chest.
Alternatively, a dumbbell bench press enables you to control the weight even further down – increasing the tension on your pectorals and shoulders and heightening the amount of work needed to execute the movement.
More time under tension and a complete range of motion iniciates a more thorough tearing of the muscle fibers. This can help contribute to the isolated growth of the desired muscle.
Q: Can adjustable dumbbells break?
Yes, adjustable dumbbells can break.
One of the primary drawbacks to adjustable dumbbells is that they involve more moving parts than standard issue, static weight variants.
If you’re someone who likes to throw their weight around during or after use, you might be disappointed to find that most adjustable weights are not going to tolerate the abuse.
Exposure to things like chalk might gunk up their various bits and pieces, too.
The built-in parts fastening the various weight components together (or mini weight plates used to constitute an adjustment) are simply more fragile than straight weight rubber or metal.
Q: Are adjustable dumbbells dangerous?
Adjustable dumbbells are engineered with safety and reliability in mind.
Most are designed so that parts will not fall off and onto the user at random, and are instead locked into place securely.
The inherent weight limitations of adjustable dumbbells (e.g. rarely, if ever, exceeding 100lbs) means most lifters are unlikely to hurt themselves heaving one around if a reasonable degree of caution is employed.
Q: Are adjustable dumbbells worth it?
Looking to start a small home gym operation for yourself, but don’t want to shell out for an entire rack of dumbbells? Then yes, an adjustable dumbbell is almost certainly worth it.
Adjustable dumbbells are great additions for those who want an easily storable and transportable piece of equipment.
Whether for the office or on the road, keeping one around will grant you access to a full range of weight options for an effective workout – anywhere.
Q: How to choose the best adjustable dumbbell?
That’s on you, partner. We’ve done most of the legwork for you already.
Think about what you want out of your equipment: grip, material, size, weight range, or aesthetic.
If you have to, draw up your very own pros and cons list for each option. The best adjustable dumbbells for you are those that will suit your style and training purposes.
Adjustable dumbbells are a viable answer to the space and cost limitations imposed by standard dumbbell sets.
If you were to buy individual dumbbells from 5 lbs to 70 lbs, you could end up spending over $1000 and necessitating an entire wall length of storage space.
Though they seem a bit niche, adjustable dumbbells are here to stay – and for a minimalist’s home gym, or a traveler, they’re the perfect option. Don’t count them out.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best adjustable dumbbells:
- Bowflex – SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall)
- Merax Deluxe – Adjustable Dumbbells (Best Heavy Weight Option)
- PowerBlock – Elite Adjustable Dumbbells
- Yes4All – Adjustable Dumbbells (Best Value Adjustable Dumbbells)
- FLYBIRD – Adjustable Dumbbells
- Ativafit – Adjustable Dumbbell
- Deiris – Travel Weights
- PinRoyal – Adjustable Dumbbell Set (Most Versatile Dumbbells)
- NiceC – Adjustable Dumbbells (Best Leightweight Adjustable Dumbells)
- PANMAX – Adjustable Dumbbells