Best adjustable dumbbells for weightlifting at home
The best adjustable dumbbells make it easy to perform your weightlifting workout at home. Dumbbells are a key component of the best home gym equipment, thanks to their versatility and space-saving convenience, and adjustable ones provide flexibility and options for your weightlifting workout.
Lifting weights isn’t just for bodybuilders. Resistance training does build muscle mass, but it can also improve bone density, boost metabolism and increase stamina. With the best adjustable dumbbells, you can perform the best arm workouts with dumbbells, which target different areas. They’re great for arm exercises like bicep curls, tricep presses, deadlifts, flys and rows. And since the dumbbells are adjustable, you can easily and quickly use different weight levels for different exercises.
More people are working out at home than ever, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many local gyms remain closed or operating at reduced capacity to follow social distancing guidelines. But exercising is still important for maintaining physical and mental health.
Because of that, demand for home gym equipment has surged in recent months, so product availability is constantly fluctuating. You may encounter shortages or sold-out items when shopping for adjustable dumbbells. Be sure to check our story on where to buy adjustable dumbbells for what’s in stock.
What are the best adjustable dumbbells?
The best adjustable dumbbells have a wide range of weights, making them suitable for most exercisers and versatile enough for many different kinds of workouts. The adjustment mechanism varies; some sit in a case and use a dial to load and unload plates, while others come with plates that are switched manually.
At the top of our list of the best adjustable dumbbells is the Bowflex SelectTech 552. They’re extremely popular, with a 4.5-star average and 1,200 reviews on Amazon. The 552 set has also made the best-of list for many sites, including Men’s Journal and The Strategist. They use dial technology, which makes them exceptionally easy to use. And Bowflex is a trusted brand when it comes to gym equipment, so the design and build are top-notch.
The best adjustable dumbbells also include sets that meet specific needs. The NordicTrack Speedweights are lighter but very affordable and come with a handy rack. The CAP Barbell single dumbbell is great for more dedicated lifters, weighing 52.5 pounds. Get two and you’ll be bodybuilding in no time. The Tespon Adjustable Dumbbells are two weightlifting products in one, since a connecting rod can turn them into a barbell. And for travelers who still want to work out on the road, the Deiris Travel Weights are water-fillable. Carry them around while they’re empty, then fill them up to 22.5 pounds per side.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 are so popular and well-reviewed that they’re out of stock with most retailers. If you’re lucky enough to find a pair online, jump on it. They replace 15 sets of weights and adjust in 2.5-lb increments, with just the simple twist of a dial. No need to remove and add on plates! That makes it incredibly easy to move through your resistance training workout, from tricep curls to chest presses to squats. Plus, you can use the 552 with the Bowflex SelectTech training app to track your progress and get personalized coaching.
One Amazon reviewer wrote, “I’ve been using these for over a year now and they have served me very well.” A Walmart reviewer praised the 552s as “Easy to operate and a pleasure to use. The proper equipment makes for a quality workout. An excellent investment if you want exceptional equipment.”
NordicTrack is a trusted brand that makes treadmills, exercise bikes and other home gym equipment. Their SpeedWeight adjustable dumbbells range from 2.5 to 12.5 pounds, so that you can easily switch from light shoulder raises to heavier deadlifts. That may not be enough weight for hard-core iron pumpers, but the Speedweights are still a great, very affordable option for most people to get their resistance training — especially since a storage rack is included. That way, you can keep your workout area nice and tidy.
One reviewer on Best Buy noted, “Hard to find during the quarantine. These are perfect for my wife and I use them for some movement workouts as well. Adjusting size is super easy and secure.” Another raved, “Super easy to put together and very easy to use.”
For weightlifting buffs who want to pump some serious iron, the CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbells clock in starting at 20 pounds per individual dumbbell. Thankfully, they are adjustable so you can also size them to whatever level you require for curls and lateral raises. With 12 plates per side, there are many ways to customize the dumbbells for workouts. The chrome handle features diamond knurling for a firm, non-slip grip, while spin-lock collars securely keep the plates in place.
“What I absolutely love about this set are that the plates, the handles and the collars are of solid iron quality. And it’s been good to me for the most part,” an Amazon reviewer said. Another wrote, “If you are looking for a solid set of starter weights, this is your product.”
With the Tespon Adjustable Dumbbells, you get two weightlifting items in one, since it comes with a barbell connecting rod. Just connect the two sides together to convert it into a barbell, so you can add more deadlifts, squats and overhead presses to your resistance training workout. Both the dumbbell and barbell handles are designed to keep your hands comfortable and prevent slippage.
“I like this dumbbell very much. It is very convenient to convert to a barbell, saving space and money, and it is very simple to install,” an Amazon reviewer wrote. Another raved about the “High quality, easy to convert into a barbell and change the plates, the rubber material of the dumbbell surface which makes it safe to place on the floor, weights to meet your different needs of training.”
The Amazon Basics line delivers good products at a lower price than name brands. This adjustable dumbbell set includes two metal barbells with textured grips, plus two 3-pound barbells, four 2.5-pound plates, four 5-pound plates, and four 0.5-pound collars. The rugged carrying case allows for easy portability.
One reviewer on Amazon wrote, “These are a very solid set, especially for their price. The bars are made of metal, which is great as it seems many similarly priced sets have plastic, this alone makes it significantly better.” Another noted, “For me these seem like a fair purchase for anyone looking for some starter weights.”
Water-filled adjustable dumbbells, like the Deiris Travel Weights, are ultra portable, making them perfect for traveling. And they’re very flexible — you can put in as little or as much water as you like to make them the ideal weight for the specific exercise. Because they’re filled with water, rather than metal, their maximum weight of 22.5 pounds is a bit lower than most other dumbbells. But try packing a bunch of steel weights into your carry-on! The Deiris Travel Weights are inexpensive, which makes them ideal for anyone on a budget.
However, filling up the dumbbells with water is the trickiest part. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “I haven’t been able to get these filled to their full capacity … That said I work out with two nearly full 4-pocket weights weighing almost 20 pounds so they do the job.” Another reviewer praised the portability: “These are good quality. I’ve drained them for moving twice … They’re sturdy and can be refilled and reused with reasonable care.”
How to choose the best adjustable dumbbells for you
When selecting the best adjustable dumbbells, you’ll want to consider several factors. The first is weight range. If you’re more of a hardcore body builder, you’ll want individual dumbbells to go up to 50 pounds at the least. For exercisers who want to do minimal resistance training, a maximum of 20 pounds should suffice. But you will want a good range, since that’s essentially the point of adjustable dumbbells.
Then, consider how the adjustable dumbbells work — whether you prefer manually adding and removing plates, or if you want to use a simple dial system. Some sets are designed for easier adjustment, but may feel less secure and safe to you.
Depending on those two factors, the price will vary. Heavier weights cost more and dial system dumbbells also tend to be more expensive.
Other factors you may want to think about are storage (does it come with a rack or case?) and portability.
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