Strength training at home doesn’t have to mean purchasing a huge set of free weights. Adjustable dumbbells give you the ability to fine-tune your workout from the lowest weights to some serious metal.
What to Look for in Adjustable Weights
Because adjustable dumbbells are essentially a whole set of weights in one package, they’re a bit more expensive than just two normal dumbbells. So, it’s important to consider what you want out of your weights before you invest.
Here are some things to look for:
- Weight range: First, how much weight do you want? Adjustable dumbbells have a minimum and a maximum capacity. Make sure you can easily lift the minimum weight, and that you won’t have to exceed the maximum to continue your training.
- Adjustment: It should be easy and quick—no more than thirty seconds—to switch a weight. So, you should be able to change weights during a cooldown between sets. Nicer weights have either a dial- or handle-twist adjustment method that usually only takes a few seconds. Standard collar or sliding-pin weights take longer and are more cumbersome to change.
- Comfort: One of the most important parts of any workout is your form. If your weights feel awkward to hold or lift above your head, it’s more likely you’ll perform the exercise incorrectly and potentially injure yourself. Adjustable dumbbells are bulkier than regular weights, so it’s important they feel comfortable, so you can properly use them. Also, the handles need to be easy to grip—slippery handles lead to injuries or a broken set of weights.
Best for Most People No. 1: Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set
The Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells are a great set of weights with a ton of range and lightning-fast adjustment. You adjust the weights via the twist-handle method, so you can change sizes between sets in just a few seconds, with only one hand. You just place the weights in their cradle, twist the handle to the desired weight, and then lift them back out—it’s that easy.
The weights start at five pounds and work up to 50, in five-pound increments. This gives you the flexibility of a 10-piece weight set in one compact package.
These weights are also comfortable to grip and aren’t incredibly unwieldy—they just feel like normal dumbbells.
Core Fitness® Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set by Affordable Dumbbells - Adjustable Weights - Space Saver - Dumbbells for Your Home
With the Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set, you get an entire 10-piece weight set in one compact, easy-to-adjust package.
Best for Most People No. 2: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
We just couldn’t leave out the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. This solid set of weights is a best-seller for a reason. They start at five pounds with a maximum capacity of 52.5. Initially, it’s a precise, 2.5-pound adjustment, but when you reach 25 pounds, it shifts to five at a time. The final adjustment drops back to 2.5 pounds (from 50 to 52.5). It’s an odd system, but it combines more than enough weights for all kinds of workouts.
You use the dial method to adjust the weight on the SelectTech 552 dumbbells. Dial-adjusting is a slightly slower process than handle twisting, but it’s just a matter of seconds.
To adjust them, you place the weights in their stand, turn the dial to pick the weight, and then lift them again. It takes a bit longer because you have to remove your hand from the handle to turn the dial, which does make these less than ideal for supersets.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells give you the versatility of an entire rack of weights in just one purchase.
Budget Pick: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
If you’re looking for a cheap way to bring a wide range of workouts home with you, these adjustable dumbbells from Yes4All should fit the bill. You adjust the weight on this set more like a traditional barbell. You load the weights on the bar by hand, and then secure them with a star collar that you screw on the ends of the handle. The handle weighs four pounds on its own, and each dumbbell can reach a total of 52.5 pounds when you use a combination of its 16, five-pound weights. The set includes four, 2.5-pound and four, 1.5-pound weights.
Of course, the star collar adjustment method greatly increases the time it takes you to switch weights. This model also doesn’t include a base to store the weights when you’re not using them. So, this set isn’t optimal if you need to switch weights constantly between sets.
However, if you don’t mind an extra minute or two of cooldown, these solid metal weights are insanely cheap compared to the competition.
Yes4All Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbell - 105LBS (Pair)
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells are an incredibly affordable set of weights. They take longer to adjust, but still provide a high-intensity workout.
Premium Pick: Bowflex SelectTech 560 Dumbbells
The Bowflex SelectTech 560 Adjustable Dumbbells are the smartest weights around. This set uses the twist-handle method to change weights. You just place them in the stand, and then twist the handle until you reach the desired weight. That’s it! The whole process takes only a couple of seconds.
The weights start at five pounds, and they adjust in 2.5-pound increments up to 25. From there, they shift to five-pound increments up to a whopping 60 pounds for each weight. This makes these dumbbells great for supersets; plus, you have a lot of control over the intensity of your workout.
The best thing about these weights, though, is their Bluetooth capability. They connect to Bowflex’s SelectTech App (iOS, Andriod), and a built-in accelerometer records your reps, sets, and weight. In the app, you can also follow the Three Dimensional Trainer program, which gives you the experience of a personal trainer in your home.
It’s important to note, though, only one of the weights has the built-in tech (otherwise you’d need two separate Bluetooth connections). So, when you work out with just one dumbbell, make sure it’s the correct one, or nothing will sync.
Bowflex SelectTech 560 Dumbbell (Pair)
The Bowflex SelectTech 560 Adjustable Dumbbells are the smartest weights on the market. The accelerometer tracks your workout and uses Bluetooth to sync it to your phone.
Best Large-Capacity: Merax Deluxe Dumbbells
If you’re a heavy lifter and want to save space in your home gym, the Merax Deluxe Adjustable Dumbbells can take the place of twelve sets of normal weights. The Merax Deluxe weights start at 11 pounds and increase in 5.5-pound intervals. Their full capacity is an insane 71.5 pounds, for a combined weight of 143 pounds, making this the heaviest pick on our list.
Like the Bowflex SelectTech 552, the Merax Deluxe also uses the dial adjustment method. To adjust the weights, you place them in the stand, push in the red safety lock, turn the dial to the desired weight, let go of the safety lock, and then lift them out. The whole process takes under 15 seconds, which is ideal even for supersets.
Merax Deluxe 2 x 80 Pounds Adjustable Dumbbells, 18-in-1 Dumbbell 5-80lb Adjustable Weight Plate for Home Gym 2 PCS
The Merax Deluxe Adjustable Dumbbells have a combined total weight of 143 pounds. If you're looking to pump some iron, these weights are the heaviest on our list.