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Best Adjustable Dumbbells

If you’re sick of battling it out for one of the coveted squat racks at your gym, it may be time to start investing in home gym equipment.

Adjustable dumbbells on a stand

Imagine no more waiting for machines, being able to sneak in a few extra sets of curls periodically throughout the day and getting to customize the gym specifically to your needs. It sounds like a perfect setup for many of us, but it doesn’t come cheap.

If you start adding up the price of all the equipment you use at the gym right now, it may quickly add up to be more than a lifetime’s worth of gym memberships. However, there are some ways you can cut costs.

Instead of buying an entire rack of dumbbells, you can buy a single set of adjustable dumbbells to save money and space. It can be daunting buying dumbbells since there are so many brands to choose from. We’ve made it easy for you by doing our own research and simplifying the pros and cons of each model for you.

Keep reading to find out how the different brands of adjustable dumbbells on the market stack up against each other and which brands give you the most for your money.

Our Top Picks at a Glance

Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.

What Are Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells are dumbbells that you can set to a variety of different weights. When you’re at the gym, there’s usually a rack of dumbbells ranging from a few kilograms up to about 40-50kg.

If you have a home gym, your options are to buy a rack of dumbbells, buy a single dumbbell and stick to that weight indefinitely, or buy a set of dumbbells that you can adjust.

Buying dozens of different dumbbells isn’t cost-effective. Buying one non-adjustable set of dumbbells isn’t a great option either. For example, if you bought a 20kg set of dumbbells, your only way of progressing your workouts is by increasing the volume of your lifts. However, unless you want to end up doing hundreds of reps per session, there’s an easier way.

This is where adjustable dumbbells come in. With one set of dumbbells, you can work through a range of weights or use the same dumbbells to target different muscle groups.

What Are the Different Types of Adjustable Dumbbells?

There are two types of adjustable dumbbells—dumbbells with spinlocks that you can manually adjust and dial-a-weight style dumbbells.

Spinlock dumbbells are like tiny barbells. Each one comes with weight plates that you can manually load and lock with a spinning clip. They’re generally much cheaper than the dial-a-weight dumbbells. However, they usually don’t let you go as heavy, and they’re slower to load. 

The dial-a-weight style dumbbells offer several advantages. First, you can quickly change the weight on the dumbbells. If you plan on using the dumbbells for circuits or for a workout where you need to alternate between weights often, you’ll be better off with this style dumbbell so you don’t spend half your workout changing plates.

However, the dial-a-weight dumbbells are generally about three times more expensive than spinlock dumbbells. They usually max out around 20-25kg depending on the brand.

Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

Buying a pair of adjustable dumbbells is an investment in your home gym. Even though some adjustable dumbbells, especially the dial-a-weight variety, can be a big upfront expense, over time they can save you money by reducing the number of dumbbells you buy over time. If you take care of them, they should last for a long time.

If you live in an apartment or have a limited amount of room for building your home gym, you’re probably concerned with being space-efficient. Adjustable dumbbells are a huge space saver. Instead of having to dedicate an entire wall to shelving dumbbells, you can just have one pair of dumbbells instead.

If you ever decide to move to a new home, the move will be much easier with one pair of dumbbells compared to dozens.

Do you consistently include dumbbell work into your weekly routine? Lifting with dumbbells offers several advantages over lifting with barbells. Since each of your hands move individually, your small stabilizer muscles have to work harder to control the plane of motion. These may help you correct muscle imbalances since each limb has to do the same amount of work.

If you look at the bodies of athletes in sports like tennis where one arm is used significantly more than the other, it’s not uncommon to see that the athletes have a huge disparity in muscle mass between their dominant and non-dominant sides.

No matter whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder or just lifting to look good, you can include dumbbell work into your routine to prevent building these types of muscular imbalances.

Considerations before Buying Adjustable Dumbbells

Before you buy a pair of adjustable dumbbells, it would be a good idea to ask yourself how heavy you plan on lifting. Most adjustable dumbbells go up to about 20-25kg so anything above this and they might not fit your purpose.

If you spend most of your time under 20-25kg but you like to do a few heavier sets in your routine, you can add a few extra kilograms to your lifts by wearing wrist weights. If you often lift over 30kg, you may want to invest in one or two sets of regular dumbbells and save the adjustable dumbbells for your accessory exercises.

Dumbbells come in a variety of materials including plastic, chrome-plated steel, and cast iron. You get what you pay for. Plastic weights are the cheapest and are the easiest on your floors if you drop them, but they likely won’t last long as metal weights.

Iron weights are the most durable but can rust if they get damp. Before buying a set of dumbbells, ask yourself what your goal is for your home gym. Do you want something temporary or are you looking on investing in equipment that will last the rest of your life?

A Detailed Look at the Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Generally, a more expensive set of adjustable dumbbells comes with a few extra features compared to cheaper models and has a higher maximum weight. They may also give you the ability to change weight in smaller increments and provide a simpler mechanism for changing the weight.

However, just because a set of dumbbells is more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. We’ve analysed some of the most popular sets of adjustable dumbbells on the market and compiled a list of the features of each. Keep reading to learn which set is best for you.

Power Block Personal Trainer Adjustable 2.5 to 50-Pounds per Dumbbell Set

Power Block’s set of adjustable dumbbells allows you to change the weight by using a selector pin. The mechanism is similar to the pin system used by weight stacks on machines at the gym.

If you’re used to lifting with traditional dumbbells, it may take a few workouts to get used to the square design. However, the design makes it simple to adjust the weight in seconds, and they offer a more balanced design than traditional dumbbells.

A perk of these dumbbells is that they allow you to increase the weight by 2.5lbs (1.14kg) intervals. This may be particularly useful if you’re trying to bust through a plateau. You may also find the small weight range helpful when lifting fairly lightly on an exercise like lateral raises where a small jump in weight makes a big difference.

These dumbbells max out at 50lbs (22.68lbs), so for many of us, they should cover most of our dumbbell exercises except for maybe some rowing and pressing exercises. If you do find yourself close to the 50lb limit, you can either try switching to a stricter form of the exercise or increasing your volume.

Even if these are the only piece of equipment in your home gym, you could easily design an entire workout around them. They’re also small enough that you can keep them in your closet when you’re not using them.

The compact design allows you to bring an entire wall of dumbbells into your home. The selector pin makes switching weights a breeze so that even if you’re doing a circuit, you can set the next weight during your rest period.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Adjustable from 2.5 to 50 pounds (1.14 to 22.7 kilograms)
  • Can adjust in 2.5-pound increments
  • Limited 10-year warranty
  • Padded handle to protect your wrist
  • Use a selector pin to adjust the weight
Things We Like
  • Only slightly bigger than regular dumbbells
  • Allow you to change weight quickly
  • Feel natural and don’t impede you for most lifts such as biceps curls, shoulder press, and dumbbell bench press
  • Provides the option to change in 2.5-pound increments
  • Comfortable handle
Things we don’t like
  • May make a clanking noise when you use them
  • Dropping the weights may affect their durability
  • Handles may be tight if you have very large hands
  • 50lbs might not be enough weight for you on certain lifts

Summary

Overall, these weights provide you with good value for your money and a lot of flexibility in your workouts. They’re cheaper than many of their competitors and give you the option to increase your weight by as little as 2.5-pounds. They might not be suitable for you if you have very large hands.

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Universal Selectorized 445 Dumbbells and Stand

This set of adjustable dumbbells lets you adjust from four to 45lbs. They aren’t as heavy as some other adjustable dumbbells, but they come with an easy dial and lock system to make changing weight easy.

These dumbbells also come with their own stand. It may seem like a small add on, but having a stand gives you a convenient way to store them and a place to rest them when you want to adjust the weight.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Dumbbells are adjustable from 4 to 45lbs (1.8 to 20.5 kilograms)
  • Can adjust in 5-pound increments (2.3kg)
  • Comes with an ergonomically designed stand
  • Includes a durable and non-slip thermoplastic rubber handle
Things We Like
  • The stand makes it easier to reset the weights
  • Allows you to change weight quickly
  • The handles are comfortable on your hands
Things we don’t like
  • The stand makes it easier to reset the weights
  • Allows you to change weight quickly
  • The handles are comfortable on your hands

Summary

If you foresee using 45 pounds or less for most of your lifts, these dumbbells might be a good option. You may also like them if you prioritize ease of changing weight over maximum weight.

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York Fitness Cast Iron Dumbbell

The York Fitness Cast Iron Dumbbells give you all the basics of an adjustable dumbbell for an affordable price. If you don’t foresee using more than 20kg on a lift, or if you just want something for your accessory lifts, these may be a good option for you.

These weights are made from cast iron so they should be fairly sturdy. As we’ve already mentioned for cast iron weights, you need to make sure they don’t get damp, or they could rust. The weights come with a carrying case so they should be fairly easy to store and transport.

Even if you need to upgrade to a heavier dumbbell at some point, this York set makes a good starter dumbbell. If you were to buy a pair of 10kg non-adjustable dumbbells you would likely pay close to the same price without the option to adjust them.

The simple design gives you a solid pair of dumbbells that you can use for a variety of different workouts.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Adjustable weights
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Comes with 2 York Spinlock Collars
  • Comes with 2 14-inch Chrome Spinlock dumbbell bars
  • Includes the following:
  • 4 0.5kg weights
  • 4 1.25kg weights
  • 4 2.5kg weights
Things We Like
  • Chrome Spinlocks should hold the weight tight
  • They’re quiet if you tighten the spinlocks
  • You may be able to use your own weight plates
Things we don’t like
  • Have to manually adjust the weight
  • Collars and bars are cheap quality

Summary

Unlike the other adjustable dumbbells, we’ve reviewed so far, these dumbbells are manually adjustable. You won’t be able to increase the weight as quickly as with dial-a-weight dumbbells. However, they’re less than 25 percent of the price of most dial-a-weight options, so if you don’t mind changing the weight yourself, they may be a suitable option.

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Viavito Unisex’s Dumbbell Set-Chrome

The Viavito Unisex Dumbbell Set gives you another basic option if you’re looking for a cheap adjustable dumbbell to start your home gym. They’re similar to the York set we just reviewed except they’re chrome plated steel instead of cast iron.

They provide you will all the basics you need to target your arms, chest, and back. If you want to go heavier than 10kg while using both dumbbells at the same time, you’ll have to use your own weight plates.

The simplicity of dumbbell makes it a great choice for both men and women as a small but versatile dumbbell.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Comes with two dumbbells
  • Knurling on the handles
  • 1 x 14-inch Chrome plated bars
  • Each bar weight 1.25kg
  • Comes with the following:
    • 4 x 1.25kg plates
    • 4 x 2.5 kg plates
    • 4 x 0.5 kg plates
    • 2 x 0.25kg spinlock collars
Things We Like
  • Affordable price compared to competitors
  • Easy to store when not using them
Things we don’t like
  • The handles may be rough
  • Only comes with enough weight to load 10kg on each dumbbell

Summary

These manually adjustable dumbbells are similar to the York Fitness Iron Dumbbells in terms of price and design. The main difference is these plates are chrome plated instead of cast iron.

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Bodypower 30Kg Spinlock Dumbbell Weight Set

The Bodypower Spinlock dumbbell set lets you manually load dumbbells onto the handles. The set comes with 30kg of weight including the two handles. If you want to add more weight, you may be able to fit more on if you use plates that are heavier but the same width as the plates in the set.

The Bodypower Spinlock dumbbells gives a nice balance of affordability and practicality. The set comes with 30kg of weight whereas some similar types of spinlock dumbbells only come with 20kg.

It’s built with heavy-duty collars and a simple design so it should last for a while if you take care of it.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Comes with the following:
    • 4 x 0.5kg weights
    • 4 x 1.25kg weights
    • 8 x 2.5kg weights
    • Two knurled handles
    • 2 collars
Things We Like
  • Comes with more weight than most other spinlock dumbbells
  • Significantly cheaper than dial-a-weight dumbbells
  • Comfortable handles
Things we don’t like
  • Slightly more expensive than other spinlock dumbbells
  • Takes longer to change the weights than with dial-a-weight dumbbells

Summary

If you’re primarily using dumbbells for circuit training or for workouts where you’re spending a lot of time switching the weight, you may want to go with a dial-a-weight style dumbbell. If you don’t mind manually adjusting the weight, these dumbbells are a good option.

These dumbbells allow you quite a bit of flexibility to do different exercises while only costing you about a third as much as most dial-a-weight dumbbells.

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Conclusion

There are plenty of good options on the market for adjustable dumbbells. If you’re looking for something cheap, the spinlock style dumbbells provide you with a basic option. Dial-a-weight dumbbells are more expensive but come with the convenience of being able to change weight in seconds.

Among the spinlock dumbbells we reviewed, the Bodypower 30kg stand out. They’re a little more expensive than their competitors, but they come with 30kg whereas most other spinlock dumbbells only come with 20kg. The extra 10kg greatly increases their versatility.

The Bodymax Omni dumbbells stand out as one of the best options among dial-a-weight dumbbells because they allow you to lift up to 25kg per side. Even though they let you lift heavier than their competitors, they also still let you adjust the weight in 2.5kg increments.

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