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Best Adjustable Dumbbells for 2021: Reviews and Comparisons

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As opposed to various fitness machines, dumbbells can be used for a wide variety of exercises. Dumbbell exercises create both intra- and intermuscular coordination, which leads to superior levels of muscle activation. They can provide the two main types of overload which leads to muscle growth: metabolic and mechanic. Also, dumbbell exercises considerably stimulate both the elastic and contractile elements of muscle tissue. Due to all these facts, dumbbells are some of the most used free weights for muscle gain and definition.

Of course, a set that includes dumbbell pairs from 10 lbs to 50 lbs or even more, can take a lot of space. But fortunately, there are adjustable dumbbells that include multiple sets in one. Therefore, we dedicate this post to the best adjustable dumbbells in 2021.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Adjustable Dumbbells for 2021

UnitDimensionsTypeAdjustment
system
Weight
range
Weight
increments
AccessoriesWarranty
Bowflex SelectTech 552

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L:15.75"
W:8"
H:9"
AdjustableDial5-52.5 lbs2.5 lbs
5.0 lbs
Storage
trays
2 years
PowerBlock Elite 70

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L:14"
W:6.25"
H:6"
AdjustableSelector
pin
5-70 lbs2.5 lbs
5.0 lbs
- 10 years
Ativafit 44 lbs

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L:16.9"
W:9.0"
H:6.7"
AdjustableSelector
pin
4.4-44 lbs6.6 lbs

Storage
tray
-
YPC 90 lbs

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L:17.7"
W:9.8"
H:9.8"
AdjustableSelector
dial
10-90 lbs5 lbsStorage
trays
-
FLYBIRD 25 lbs

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L:14.6"
W:7.9"
H:6.7"
AdjustableTwist-lock5 - 25 lbs5 lbsStorage
tray
-
Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs

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L:16.5"
W:8"
H:9"
AdjustableDial11-71.5 lbs5.5 lbsStorage
trays
2 years
NordicTrack Speed Weights

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L:27.5"
W:22.25"
H:11.53"
AdjustableDial &
Pins
10-55 lbs2.5 lbsStorage
trays
90 days
Core Fitness 50 lbs

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L:14.5"
W:7.5"
H:7.5"
AdjustableTwist-lock 5-50 lbs5.0 lbsStorage
trays
1 year
MX Select MX55

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L:16"
W:8.5"
H: 8.5
AdjustableDial5-55 lbs2.5 lbsStorage
rack
2 years
Yes4All 105 lbs

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L:16"
W:6.5"
H:6.5"
AdjustableThreaded
collars
5-52.5 lbs5.0 lbs- 5 years

Bowflex SelectTech 552

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 selectorized dumbbells have been around for quite some time, but they’re still available, and still some of the best adjustable dumbbells in 2021. Also, the newer models have been improved. Their internal selector discs are no longer made of plastic. They’re metallic, so the dumbbells offer improved overall sturdiness.

Dumbbell Construction

First of all, it’s important to mention that the Bowflex SelectTech 552 that we’re addressing here come in a set of two, each one with its own tray.

The dumbbells combine steel and thermoplastic materials in their construction. The plates themselves are made of metallic alloy while their shells are made of durable plastic. This type of construction has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Evidently, the main advantage is that you can easily change between weight increments without the need to load and unload each plate. The plastic shells protect the weight plates from corrosion, they don’t make metallic noises when in use, and the weight plates don’t wobble on their handles. But on the other hand, just like any other selectorized dumbbells, they are fragile. If you drop them, the weight plates may sustain damage. Also, even if they are sturdy enough to support exercises such as dumbbell pushups, these are not recommended as they put too much pressure on the plates.

The internal latches that hold the plates together are metallic. This is an improvement over the older models and other selectorized dumbbells. And here, it’s important to mention, that the older models that were more fragile had red numbers on their selection knobs while the newer, more durable ones, have white numbers.

Their handles are steel-made. The main grip of each dumbbell is rubberized and has a convex shape in order to provide superior comfort and hand adherence.

Weight Range & Increments

To begin with, the handles of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 weigh 5 lbs each. This being said, the lowest weight setting is 5 lbs. The rest of the weight increments for each dumbbell are 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, with the highest weight setting of 52.5 lbs.

Adjustment System

The Bowflex ST 552 dumbbells have an adjustable dial on each side. However, in order to adjust them, the weight plates have to be placed in their trays. These keep them aligned and allow the handles to securely pick up the desired weight.

The adjustment system is pretty straightforward. You simply select the desired weight on each dial. For example, if you select 12.5 lbs on each end, the dumbbell will weigh 12.5 lbs.

It’s important to mention that the dials on each head of the dumbbell can be adjusted independently from one another. For example, you can select 15 lbs on one side, and 20 on the other. And evidently, by doing this, the dumbbell won’t weigh 35 lbs. It will simply pick the corresponding plates on each side and deliver a mid-range weight between the two selected weights. Therefore, you can create an off-set for each dumbbell in case you want to exercise this way.

The adjustment system uses a metallic cog on each dumbbell head. You can actually see these cogs spinning when you adjust them.

Accessories

There are two notable accessories included with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. One is the set of trays that are actually necessary to perform the desired adjustments and to dock the dumbbells safely. They’re made of hard ABS material. The other is a Bowflex workout DVD. This covers a set of workouts that you can follow using these weights, also providing various tips on how to adjust your dumbbells in order to benefit from a better workout.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Versatile
  • Space-saving
  • They replace a set
    of 30 regular dumbbells
  • Anti-rust and sound dampening
    ABS coating on plates
  • Rubberized and convex
    handle for a superior grip
  • Storage trays included
  • Excellent weight range (5-52.5 lbs)
  • Independent adjustment
    dials
  • Workout DVD included

Cons

  • Not as durable as regular
    dumbbells

Summary

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbell set includes two adjustable dumbbells featuring a weight range between 5 and 52.5 lbs, with their trays and a workout DVD. They have a sturdy construction, they replace a set of 30 regular dumbbells, and also have a sleek design that can play as a motivation factor. In all, the Bowflex ST 552 offer excellent value for the price, currently being some of the best selectorized dumbbells.

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PowerBlock Elite 70

PowerBlock offers some of the best free weights with a quick-adjustment system. Actually, the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells have been some of the best-selling ones for quite a while, along with the Bowflex SelectTech. There are several PowerBlock dumbbell sets available at the moment, so to avoid confusion, in this review we’ll address the PowerBlock Elite 70, part number PB-EL-70.

Dumbbell Construction

To begin with, the PowerBlock Elite 70 includes a set of two dumbbells. They feature a unique construction and have a very specific adjustment system. Basically, each dumbbell is a complete set of dumbbells that are attached together. The median handle is the element that holds them in place, along with the selector pin.

The weight plates are steel-made, coated with a durable, corrosion-resistant paint finish. Each pair of two weight plates is connected via two steel rods, the connection points being precision-welded. The rods are color-coded so you can quickly match them with the pre-determined weight increments on top, without having to read them all the time.

Although the PowerBlock Elite 70 dumbbells are bulkier compared to most regular dumbbells, their length and width are similar. They’re 14″ long, and approx. 6.25″ wide, which means they shouldn’t feel awkward for any type of exercise, even for a smaller person.

Weight Range & Increments

As their name suggests, the PowerBlock Elite 70 offers a maximum weight of 70 lbs each. The minimum weight, or differently put, the weight of each handle without any set of weight plates attached, is 5 lbs.

Each dumbbell offers multiple weight adjustment increments. These are 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50, 55, 57.5, 60, 65, 67.5, and 70 lbs. So, we can safely say that each dumbbell can replace 22 regular, non-adjustable dumbbells.

Adjustment System

Due to their construction, the PowerBlocks have quite a unique adjustment system. The weight plate sets are stacked together, and lock onto the handle via a polyurethane, flexible selector pin. The pin is attached with a tether cord to the side rod of the first weight plate set. The cord is quite important for the overall safety of these weights and must remain attached to the handle and top weight plate bar at all times. This way, their locking pin cannot come out by itself.

Each dumbbell main handle has a color-coded table on top, while the side rods of each weight plate set feature a similar color-coding. These make it easier for you to select the desired weight.

Also, two additional 2.5 lbs weight cylinders come with each dumbbell. They can be inserted into the handle for 2.5 lbs micro-adjustments.

And finally, handle features a dial lock on top with “Open / Closed” positions. In order to remove the handle and add or remove the 2.5 lbs weight cylinders, you will have to use this dial. Also, as a safety measure, make sure each dial is set to “Closed” before beginning any exercise.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Professional-looking
    design
  • Compact weight set
  • Each dumbbell replaces
    22 fixed dumbbells
  • Excellent weight range
    (5-70 lbs)
  • Durable enamel finish
  • Full-steel weight plates
  • Quick adjustment system
  • Super-safe plate locking
    system
  • Rubberized, ergonomic
    grips
  • Weight upgrade possibilities
    (up to 90 lbs)
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Bulkier than regular
    dumbbells

Summary

The PowerBlock Elite 70 dumbbell set includes two adjustable dumbbells with a weight range between 5 and 70 lbs. They feature steel weight plates, coated with a durable paint finish, with a quick adjustment system. Each dumbbell replaced 22 regular dumbbells. Plus, they come with a 10-year warranty. In all, they’re outstanding adjustable dumbbells, offering superior value for the price.

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Ativafit 44 lbs

Similar to the Bowflex SelectTech 1090, the Ativafit 44 lbs dumbbell “set” only includes one dumbbell with its tray. Therefore, if you want a pair, you will have to opt for an additional one.

Dumbbell Construction

The Ativafit 44 lbs adjustable dumbbell consists of a large handle with selectorized heads designed for plate loading and unloading. The handle is made of a metallic alloy with its grip covered by a layer of urethane. Its grip also has an elliptical shape with a textured surface in order to provide a secure grip and a comfortable finger alignment.

The dumbbell includes 10 weight plates. They’re all made of steel but sealed in a casing made from a durable thermoplastic material. The exact polymer used for the casing of the plates is not specified, but as a general idea, it is probably polyethylene or polypropylene.

The dumbbell has a pretty sturdy overall construction. However, just like any other selectorized dumbbells, it is not meant for push-up exercises. Even if some of the promo videos show users performing these exercises, putting too much pressure on it, may lead to damage to the plates.

Just like any other dumbbells with a quick adjustment system, the Ativafit 44 lbs is a bit larger than a standard one with the same maximum weight. It is 16.9″ (43 cm) long, 9.0″ (23 cm) wide, and 6.7″ (17 cm) high of the ground.

Weight Range & Adjustment Increments

The Ativafit 44 lbs dumbbell offers an adjustment range between 4.4 lbs (2 kg), and 44 lbs (20 kg). Evidently, the empty handle weighs 4.4 lbs (2 kg). Each plate weighs 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg), so each adjustment increment is 6.6 lbs (3 kg). Now, considering that the dumbbell comes with the weight discs and the handle always drops an even amount of discs when adjusted, there are 7 different weights available. These are 4.4 lbs, 11 lbs, 17.6 lbs, 24.2 lbs, 30.8 lbs, 37.4 lbs, and 44 lbs (2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20 kg). The weight settings are specified on the dumbbell in kilograms, not in pounds.

Adjustment System

The Ativafit 44 lbs dumbbell features a selector pin adjustment system. At one of its heads, the dumbbell has a selector pin which you can move left or right in order to choose the desired weight. There is a metallic rod that goes through the handle and selects the same amount of weight plates on the other head of the dumbbell.

It’s important to mention that you cannot create an off-set weight on this dumbbell (at least not without any workarounds, which is not recommended). The selector pin always locks the same amount of plates on each side.

Accessories

The Ativafit 44 lbs adjustable dumbbell doesn’t include too many accessories. The only included accessory is the adjustment and storage tray. This tray is made from the same tough thermoplastic material as the shells of the weight plates. It’s pretty important for the adjustment of the dumbbell as it keeps the plates aligned, ready for the selector pin to lock on to them correctly.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Metal plates and handle
  • Durable thermoplastic material
    on the plates
  • 7 dumbbells in 1
  • 6.6 lbs adjustment increments
  • Sleek design
  • Urethane coating on the handle
    for an improved grip
  • Storage tray included

Cons

  • Not as durable as a
    standard dumbbell
  • Available only as one dumbbell
    (so if you want a pair, you’ll have to purchase
    another one separately)

Summary

The Ativafit 44 lbs weight set includes one adjustable dumbbell that comes with its own adjustment and storage tray. It covers 7 different dumbbells. It has a sturdy construction and features a moving pin weight selection system. It offers a weight range from 4.4 lbs to 44 lbs. It’s a fairly decent dumbbell, currently at an almost clean 5-star rating from users.

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YPC 90 lbs

The YPC 90 lbs adjustable dumbbell set includes two dumbbells with their trays. They feature a similar adjustment system as the Bowflex SelectTech models. So, if you’re on a budget and looking for something similar, the YPC 90 lbs set might fit your needs.

Dumbbell Construction

To begin with, just like most other selectorized dumbbells, the YPC 90 lbs ones are pretty bulky. Each dumbbell is 17.7″ (45 cm) long, 9.8″ (25 cm) wide, and 9.8″ (25 cm) high. This may be a bit inconvenient for a small person, especially when performing horizontal chest presses. The size (length) remains pretty much the same regardless the number of plates you lock onto the handles.

The handles are made of steel. They have convex grips without any urethane or rubber coating so the grip is not as secure as for other models especially if your hands get sweaty during workouts. However, the grips do have a textured surface for an improved grasp.

The weight plates are also made of metallic alloy but encased by shells made of durable nylon material. The exact polymer type is not specified. However, the plates are pretty durable and shouldn’t break that easily. But it still is important to use these dumbbells with care, avoid dropping them and even refrain from performing exercises that apply pressure on them, such as push-ups.

Of course, the main advantage of these dumbbells is that you can easily adjust the weight of each dumbbell, without having to remove collars and manually load and unload plates. The selector on each side of the dumbbell offers the possibility to quickly select the desired weight. Also, the nylon casing on the plates prevents them from catching rust.

Weight Range & Adjustment Increments

As their name suggests, the YPC 90 lbs dumbbells offer a maximum weight of 90 lbs (40.8 kg) each (a total weight of 180 lbs). The handles without any plates on them, weigh 10 lbs (4.5 kg).

Each dumbbell covers 17 fixed dumbbells. It offers the following adjustment increments: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90 lbs. (4.5, 6.8, 9.0, 11.3, 13.6, 15.8, 18.1, 20.4, 22.6, 24.9, 27.2, 29.4, 31.7, 34.0, 36.2, 38.5, 40.8 kg).

The exact weight of each plate is not specified. However, considering that the starting weight (with the empty handle) is 10 lbs (4.5 kg), the highest weight is 90 lbs (40.8 kg), and the adjustment increments are 5 lbs (2.26 kg), the weights of the plates from the smallest to the largest are 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg), 5 lbs (2.26 kg), 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg), 10 lbs (4.5 kg), and 15 lbs (6.8 kg).

Adjustment System

The YPC 90 lbs dumbbells are selectorized. Each dumbbell head has its own dial. So, depending on the weight that you select, the inner hooks will grab the right weight plates. As a general idea, if you want the dumbbell to weigh 40 lbs (18.1 kg), you will have to select 40 on each dial.

Accessories

The only accessories included with the YPC 90 lbs dumbbells are the adjustment and storage trays. These trays are made from a durable thermoplastic material. They offer excellent tensile and pressure sturdiness; evidently, they are designed to support the whole 90 lbs of weight for each dumbbell with no problem.

Even though you can adjust the dumbbells without the trays, these accessories are pretty handy. That’s because they keep the plates aligned so you can easily and quickly change their weight.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Space-saving – 17 dumbbell sets in one
  • Sleek design
  • Selectorized adjustment system
  • Great weight range (10 – 90 lbs)
  • 5 lbs adjustment increments
  • No manual weight loading and unloading hassle
  • Metallic handles with convex grips
  • Chrome plating on the grips for rust resistance
  • Storage and adjustment trays included

Cons

  • Not as durable as standard dumbbells
  • Considerably larger than standard dumbbells

Summary

The YPC 90 lbs adjustable dumbbell set includes two 90 lbs dumbbells with their trays. They offer a weight adjustment range between 10 lbs and 90 lbs with increments of 5 lbs. They cover 17 fixed dumbbell sets so they help save a lot of storage space. They are also considerably cheaper than other brand names, offering excellent value for the price.

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FLYBIRD 25 lbs

Similar to the Ativafit 44 lbs, the FLYBIRD 25 lbs weight set includes only one dumbbell with its tray. It is a selectorized dumbbell but has a different adjustment system than the Bowflex SelectTech or the YPC 90 lbs. It’s not a super expensive dumbbell, and you’ll basically get 5 dumbbells of different weights in one.

Dumbbell Construction

The FLYBIRD 25 lbs adjustable dumbbell combines metal and solid thermoplastic elements in its construction. The weight plates are made of metallic alloy (steel or aluminum, not specified). Each plate is encased in its own thermoplastic shell. The exact polymer is not specified (probably polypropylene).

The handle is made of aluminum alloy. Needless to say, this material is highly resistant to corrosion. Its grip has an elliptical design to provide a natural and comfortable finger alignment. It is also knurled for an improved grip but does not have any urethane or silicone rubber coating.

Evidently, this type of construction comes with a series of advantages and disadvantages. To begin with, since they are selectorized, you can easily change weights without the usual loading and unloading of plates that is characteristic to standard cast iron plates. With a simple handle twist, you can pick up the desired weight.

Since it’s not a super heavy dumbbell, the FLYBIRD 25 lbs is not extremely large compared to other adjustable dumbbells. It is 14.6″ (37 cm) long, 7.9″ (20 cm) wide, and 6.7″ (17 cm) high of the ground.

Weight Range & Adjustment Increments

The FLYBIRD 25 lbs dumbbell includes 8 weight plates. Each one weighs 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg) while the handle weighs 5 lbs (2.26 kg). Therefore its weight range is 5 lbs – 25 lbs (2.26 kg – 11.3 kg). The rest of the pre-determined weight settings are 10 lbs (4.5 kg), 15 lbs (6.8 kg), 20 lbs (9.0 kg). Needless to say, the adjustment increments are 5 lbs (2.26 kg).

Adjustment System

The FLYBIRD 25 lbs dumbbell features a twistlock adjustment system. Unlike other adjustable dumbbells, it does not have dials on its heads; the selector is basically its handle. You simply place the dumbbell in its tray making sure that the plates are correctly aligned in their slots, twist the handle and choose the desired weight, and lift the dumbbell up. The handle should pick the corresponding number of plates to the selected weight.

Unlike other selectorized dumbbells, the FLYBIRD dumbbell can only pick the same number of plates on each side. When you twist the handle, it will select the same number of plates on each head.

Accessories

The FLYBIRD 25 lbs dumbbell does not include too many accessories. The only notable one is the adjustment tray. This is pretty necessary to the quick and hassle-free weight adjustment because it keeps the weight plates aligned and tight so you can quickly twist the handle and select the desired weight. The tray is made of a durable thermoplastic material. It’s pretty sturdy so it should hold the dumbbell with no problem.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • 5 dumbbells in one
  • Metal plates and handle
  • Durable thermoplastic material
    on the plates
  • 5 lbs adjustment increments
  • Sleek design
  • No manual plate loading
    and unloading hassle;
  • Convex and textured handle
    for an improved grip
  • Storage tray included

Cons

  • Not as durable as a
    standard dumbbell
  • Available only as one dumbbell
    (so if you want a pair, you’ll have to purchase
    another one separately)

Summary

The FLYBIRD 25 lbs weight set includes one adjustable dumbbell with its tray. It features a twistlock handle adjustment system and offers a weight range from 5 lbs to 25 lbs. It covers 5 separate fixed dumbbells so it can save quite a bit of space. It’s also affordable, offering excellent value for the price.

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Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs

The Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs adjustable dumbbells are similar up to a point to the Bowflex SelectTech 552. However, as their name suggests, they offer a greater weight range and they also have all-metal weight plates.

Dumbbell Construction

Needless to say, the Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs weight set includes two adjustable dumbbells, each one offering a total weight of 71.5 lbs (for a total of 143 lbs).

The most important aspect with regards to these Merax dumbbells is that their weight plates are steel-made, featuring a durable (black) paint finish. They are not encased in plastic as for other selectorized dumbbells, and they don’t have plastic elements. The selector cogs and separator discs on each handle are also metallic.

Like most other selectorized dumbbells, the Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs are slightly larger than standard dumbbells. The length of each handle is approx. 16.5″, while the diameter of the largest weight plate is approx. 8″. This being said, if you’re a shorter person and want to perform horizontal chest press exercises, you will have to press your arms at a slightly wider angle than perfectly aligned with your shoulders. This shouldn’t be an inconvenience, though; even more, it should lead to a more consistent workout as the motion requires extra control.

Weight Range & Increments

Without any weight plates attached, each Merax Deluxe dumbbell handle weighs 11 lbs. It’s a rather awkward weight, but most users won’t consider this a downside.

Each dumbbell can be loaded with a maximum of 10 weight plates. The set includes 4 x 2.75 lbs plates, 8 x 5.50 lbs plates, and 8 x 8.25 plates. This being said, the weight range for each dumbbell is 11 lbs to 71.5 lbs, with 5.5 lbs weight increments.

Adjustment System

The Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs are selectorized adjustable dumbbells. Each handle features two selector knobs, one on each side. Each knob has 24 weight increments. It’s also important to mention here, that the adjustment increments are specified in kilograms on the adjustment knobs.

It’s important to mention that the two adjustment knobs are connected and move simultaneously. For example, if you select 17.5 kg on one side, the knob on the other side will show the same weight. Therefore, 17.5 kg will be the weight that the handle will pick up.

The dumbbells are fairly easy to adjust. Just as for any other selectorized dumbbells, the plates must be placed in their trays and correctly aligned. Once the plates are docked in their trays, you simply insert the handle into their slots and select the desired weight from one of the selector knobs.

Accessories

The only notable accessories that come with the Merax Deluxe dumbbells are their trays. These are made of durable ABS material. They’re fairly small (actually slightly smaller than the dumbbells themselves) so the set doesn’t take much space.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Metal plates and internal
    parts
  • Durable enamel on the
    weight plates
  • Excellent weight range
    (11 – 71.5 lbs)
  • 5.5 lbs adjustment increments
  • Sleek design
  • Rubberized and convex
    handles
  • Storage trays included

Cons

  • A bit awkward (11 lbs)
    minimum weight
  • Durable, but still not as
    sturdy as standard dumbbells

Summary

The Merax Deluxe 71.5 lbs dumbbell set includes two adjustable dumbbells with their storage trays. Each dumbbell offers an adjustment range between 11 lbs and 71.5 lbs. They have 24 adjustment positions with 5.5 lbs adjustment increments. They offer exceptional quality and durability for the price and they’re approx. $100 cheaper than other selectorized dumbbells.

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NordicTrack Speed Weights

Although the NordicTrack Speed Weights have received a fair share of negative reviews from users over the few years due to plates falling off, they still stand at a 4-star rating at least on most websites. Therefore, they’re still some of the best adjustable dumbbells for 2021.

Dumbbell Construction

To begin with, the NordicTrack Speed Weights are also referred to as NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 lbs. The set includes two dumbbells and their trays.

Similar to other selectorized dumbbells, the NordicTrack 55 lbs ones feature metallic weight plates covered in durable ABS plastic. However, their connection elements to the handles and the internal parts are metallic.

The overall construction of these dumbbells is quite different than for the Merax, Bowflex, or other selectorized models. They include four very thin plates (each) that enter the two larger discs that are directly attached to the handles. For these, each dumbbell head has a selector. The rest of the plates attach via pins.

Most websites state fairly large dimensions for these dumbbells – 27.5″L x 22.2″W. These are packaged dimensions because the dumbbells themselves are not this large. Their approximate dimensions with all the plates attached are 18″L x 12″W.

The handles are also made of steel with hard ABS covers for a more comfortable grip.

Weight Range & Increments

First of all, each dumbbell handle without any plates attached weighs 10 lbs, this being the minimum weight possible. Each dumbbell includes 12 weight plates, from which four are very thin, 0.5 lbs each for micro-adjustments. The rest of the larger plates, eight in number for each dumbbell, weigh approx. 5 lbs each.

These being said, each dumbbell offers 15 different weight settings. These are: 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42.5, 45, 50, 52.5, and 55 lbs (4.5, 5.6, 6.8, 9.0, 10.2, 11.3, 13.6, 14.7, 15.8, 18.1, 19.2, 20.4, 22.5, 23.8, 24.9 kg). Differently put, each dumbbell replaces 15 fixed dumbbells.

Adjustment System

As we’ve mentioned above, the NordicTrack Speed Weights feature a slightly different adjustment system than other selectorized models. The four thin 2.5 lbs plates enter the main heads of the dumbbell. Each head has a selector for 0 lbs, 2.5 lbs, and 5 lbs. Evidently, if you select 5 lbs, for example, on one head, it will pick both thin plates. These two selectors are independent from each other. For example, you can select 0 on one side, and 5 on the other.

The rest of the plates attach via pins. Each side of the dumbbell has its own pin. These pins are also independent from each other. They allow you to select up to four weight plates on each side.

Accessories

The only accessories that come with the NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells are their trays. These are made of durable ABS material. They are slightly larger than the dumbbells, but still, the set takes considerably less space than a full set of fixed dumbbells.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Quick adjustment system
  • Space-saving design
  • Excellent weight range
    10 – 55 lbs
  • Professional-looking
    design
  • ABS padded handles
  • Storage trays included

Cons

  • More fragile than regular
    dumbbells
  • Slightly larger than
    regular dumbbells

Summary

The NordicTrack Speed Weights set includes two adjustable dumbbells with their storage trays. Each dumbbell offers an adjustment range between 10 lbs and 55 lbs. They offer 15 adjustment settings with 2.5 and 5.5 lbs adjustment increments. They’re great for exercises that require the use of multiple weights, and they’re also approx. $100 cheaper than other selectorized dumbbells.

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Core Fitness 50 lbs

The Core Fitness 50 lbs are selectorized dumbbells but have a different adjustment system than the Bowflex or the NordicTrack models. The main adjustment element is their handle. So, they basically have a twist-lock adjustment system.

Dumbbell Construction

The Core Fitness 50 lbs dumbbells combine steel and PVC material in their construction. Similar to other selectorized dumbbells, their weight plates are steel-made, with a high-impact ABS plastic cover. This type of construction has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the plates don’t clink during exercising, and the plastic protective cover keeps them from rusting. But on the other hand, they’re not as durable as standard dumbbells. If dropped, they may break.

The handles are also made of steel but are coated with a layer of rubber, with a convex shape. Therefore, they deliver a comfortable grip. Also, the rubber material offers superior adherence, even if your hands are sweaty. Thus, the handles are easy to turn, in order to adjust the weight.

Although they’re selectorized dumbbells, the Core Fitness 50 lbs are smaller than others; they’re actually similar in size to regular dumbbells. They are approx. 14″ long, and 7.5″ wide.

Weight Range & Increments

The handles of the Core Fitness 50 lbs adjustable dumbbells weigh 5 lbs each. The first plates weigh 2.5 lbs so they play an important role in micro-adjustment. The rest of the plates weigh 5 lbs each, similar to the Bayou Fitness dumbbells.

The weight range of the Core Fitness dumbbells is 5-50 lbs for each dumbbell. They offer weight increments of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 lbs. Differently put, each dumbbell replaces 10 fixed ones.

Adjustment System

The Core Fitness 50 lbs dumbbells feature a very simple and straightforward weight adjustment system. The handles incorporate the adjustors. The included trays also play an important role in their adjustment. So, in order to adjust each dumbbell, first you have to place all the weight plates in the tray and align them correctly. Then insert the handle and twist it until the desired weight shows on each selector.

Needless to say, since you rotate the handle into the plates, each selector should show the same number, which represents the weight of the dumbbell.

Another important aspect to mention here regards the trays. They actually have small “keys” that unlock the handles and allow you to twist them. Therefore, when the dumbbells are removed from the trays, they won’t twist, offering a secure grip on the plates.

Accessories

The only accessories included with the Core Fitness dumbbells are their trays. As we’ve mentioned above, not only they fulfill the role of dumbbell storage, they also play an important role in their adjustment. They’re made of two base aluminum bars and several hard ABS elements. A stand is not included with this particular set.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Space-saving
  • Quick adjustment system
  • Excellent weight range
    5-50 lbs
  • Superior safety locks
  • Rubberized, convex grips
    for optimal comfort
  • Storage trays included

Cons

  • Not as durable as regular
    dumbbells

Summary

The Core Fitness 50 lbs are selectorized adjustable dumbbells with a twist-lock system. They offer a weight range between 5 lbs and 50 lbs, with 5 lbs weight increments. They’re great for exercises that require dumbbell sets of different weights. In all, they offer excellent value for the price.

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MX Select MX55

The MX Select MX55 are selectorized dumbbells like other models we’ve presented here. However, they have a different adjustment system and a different design. Also, they’ve been around for quite a while and so far, they’ve gathered a pretty decent feedback from users.

Dumbbell Construction

Like most other selectorized dumbbells, the MX Select MX55 are slightly larger than regular dumbbells. The handles measure 16″ in length, while the plates are approx. 8.5″ in width.

These MX Select dumbbells feature steel weight plates encased in a durable ABS shell. This being said, they’re not as durable as all-metal weight plates, so they’re not made for commercial use. But nonetheless, they pretty durable.

The weight plates feature an ergonomic design. They’re angled at the bottom. This allows a better positioning of each dumbbell when resting it on your leg in-between exercise sets.

It’s important to mention that the weight plates connect together when several are picked by the handle. However, their main support is the handle, which passes through their holes in the middle. Therefore, even if one of the plates sustains damage, it won’t fall off as it will remain on the handle.

The MX Select MX55 dumbbells feature quite a unique handle design. The ends of each handle extend and retract as a certain weight is selected. When the shaft of the handle extends, it will pick up the selected number of plates; each plate will connect to the one next to it via a double interlocking system. Also, each shaft has a safety locking mechanism that prevents it to retract.

Needless to say, the handles are steel-made; they have a knurled surface to provide a secure grip. Their heads are also metallic, but covered by ABS shells, just like the plates.

Weight Range & Increments

The MX Select MX55 dumbbell set includes 40 weight plates, 20 for each dumbbell. All the plates have the same weight – 2.5 lbs. Each handle weighs 5 lbs. Therefore, the starting weight, without any plates attached is 5 lbs, while with the first two weight plates attached, each dumbbell weighs 10 lbs.

This being said, the weight increments go up in 5 lbs. The maximum weight for each dumbbell is 55 lbs.

Adjustment System

The MX Select MX55 adjustable dumbbells have a different adjustment system than other selectorized dumbbells. Each handle head features a turn-knob numbered from 1 to 10. So, if you select 5 for example, the handle will extend and pick up 5 weight plates.

The selectors are independent. This means you can have an off-set weight for each dumbbell if you want. For example, you can select 3 on one side, and 7 on the other. This way, the handle will pick 3 plates on the first side, and 7 on the other.

One last aspect to mention here regards the safety buttons on each handle head. In order to make a weight selection, you have to press the safety button for that side of the dumbbell. Once you’ve selected the desired amount of plates, simply release the button, and the plates will lock, eliminating the possibility of falling off.

Accessories

The main accessory included with the MX Select MX55 dumbbell set is a stand. This stand is metallic and requires assembling. It is approx. 18.7″ long, 22″ wide, and 30.6″ tall.

The stand features two trays specifically designed to keep the weight plates aligned. They make it much easier to select the desired weight keeping them in place. The dumbbells can be adjusted without the trays as well, but in this case, you will have to keep them aligned by hand.

Each dumbbell tray has a sticker on the bottom that shows the increment table. This allows you to see at a glance the total weight of each dumbbell for each setting.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Sleek, ergonomic design
  • Excellent weight range
    (5 – 55 lbs)
  • Excellent micro-adjustment
    (5 lbs increments)
  • Quick adjustment system
  • Independent adjustment knobs
  • Knurled handles
  • Stand with storage trays
    included
  • Stickers with weight
    increments on each tray

Cons

  • Slightly larger than classic
    dumbbells
  • Not as durable as classic
    dumbbells

Summary

The SELECT MX55 are selectorized dumbbells designed for quick adjustment. They offer an adjustment range between 5 lbs and 55 lbs and 5 lbs weight increments. They’re great for exercises that require dumbbell sets of different weights. They also come with a stand for storage and easier docking.

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Yes4All 105 lbs

The Yes4All 105 lbs is a standard adjustable dumbbell set. As opposed to most other dumbbells that we’ve covered here, they are not selectorized. They feature a simple, collar-based adjustment system and a full-metal construction.

Dumbbell Construction

As we’ve mentioned above, the Yes4All 105 lbs adjustable dumbbells have an all-metal construction. The weight plates a made of cast iron with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. They don’t have any plastic elements or fancy locking mechanisms; therefore, they are very durable and can take quite some abuse.

As opposed to most selectorized dumbbells, the Yes4All are smaller in size. The handles are 16″ long, and the weight plates are 6.5″ in diameter. Therefore, they shouldn’t create any awkwardness during any exercise, even for a smaller person.

The dumbbell handles are steel-made, featuring a chrome finish, with knurled grips. The actual grip measures 5″, while the sleeves are approx. 5.5″. The sleeves are 1.25″ in diameter, while the weight plates have 1.25″ holes. This means you won’t be able to fit standard 1″ weight plates on these bars. However, the weight plates supplied with this set can be loaded onto 1″ standard dumbbell bars. They may rattle a bit on a 1″ bar, but still, you’ll be able to use them.

The included collars are also steel-made. They feature a chrome finish just like the handles. The set comes with four collars, two for each handle.

Weight Range & Increments

First of all, Yes4All provides several standard dumbbell sets. This is the 105 lbs set; therefore, it includes two dumbbells which can have a maximum weight of 52.5 lbs each.

The handles themselves weigh 5 lbs, so this is basically your starting weight. Therefore, considering the supplied weight plates, up from 5 lbs, you can basically increase the weight of each dumbbell, by 5 lbs, or 10 lbs, up to a total of 52.5 lbs.

The set includes 4 x 1.25 lbs, 4 x 2.5 lbs, and 16 x 5.0 lbs weight plates. This being said, you can have adjustment increments of 5 lbs, starting from 5 lbs.

Adjustment System

The Yes4All dumbbells have a standard, straightforward adjustment system. They’re not selectorized, so you have to load the weight plates on each handle and then secure them with the provided collars. The task is simple, but each dumbbell takes a bit of time to adjust, so alternating different exercises with different weights will take considerably more time and hassle than with selectorized dumbbells. But nonetheless, you can always use 2-3 dumbbell sets.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All-metal, sturdy construction
  • Space-saving
  • Standard, collar-based adjustment
    system
  • Excellent weight range
    5 – 52.5 lbs
  • 5 lbs weight increments
  • Possibility to create
    an off-set weight
  • Knurled handles
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Adjustment takes longer
    than for selectorized dumbbells

Summary

The Yes4All 105 lbs are classic adjustable dumbbells. The set includes 2 handles, 4 collars, and 24 weight plates. They offer an excellent weight range from 5 lbs to 52.5 lbs per dumbbell. They also have a sturdy, all-metal construction so there’s little chance of breaking them in any way. Plus, since they are not selectorized, they cost considerably less than a Bowflex or NordicTrack set.

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Which Dumbbells Are The Best For You

In order to choose the set of dumbbells that fit your needs perfectly, there are several aspects to consider. So, the first and most important one concerns the training regimen that you want to follow. For example, a workout program like P90X requires the use of dumbbell sets of different weights in an alternative manner. Therefore, if you want to ironmaster quick-lock dumbbells - 75 lbs setfollow such a program, a set of adjustable dumbbells with a quick selection system is the best to go with, in case you don’t want a full set of 5-50 fixed-weight dumbbells, for example. Classic adjustable dumbbells, the ones that require the loading/unloading of weight plates onto the bars may really diminish your momentum, as the adjustment of one dumbbell may take up to 40-50 sec. On the other hand, you can opt for several bar sets, load them with the desired weight range for your next workout session, in order to avoid adjusting. But still, in this case, a set of “selectorized” dumbbells is best to get.

When it comes to home fitness equipment, storage space may always be an issue. And this stands for dumbbells as well. Thus, in case you don’t have a lot of space to keep several sets of hex dumbbells for example, or a whole rack, it’s pretty obvious that an adjustable dumbbell set is the best to go with. Some of them actually replace up to 20 fixed-weight dumbbell sets or even more, and with all the weight plates loaded into the bars, they don’t take more than 18″ x 8″ (46 x 20.3 cm) per dumbbell. So, in this case, whether you opt for a Standard or Olympic set, or a “selectorized” set, the results are about the same. They’re all space-saving.

Price is pretty much an important factor for choosing any product. When it comes to dumbbells, it’s pretty obvious that a full set of fixed weight dumbbells is typically more expensive than a set of adjustable ones. That’s because a set of fixed dumbbells with a weight range of 5-50 lbs, with increments of 5 lbs, has a total weight of 550 lbs. So, even the cheapest poorest set will cost more than $600, because you’ll rarely find a pound of iron cheaper than $1. On the other hand, a set of adjustable dumbbells packs less total weight, and may save you up to a couple of $100s.

Cast Iron vs. Rubber, Urethane And Other Materials

You probably are aware already that many dumbbells are labeled as “rubber”, “urethane” or “neoprene”. The first aspect to be specified here is that these types of dumbbells are not entirely made of these materials. The rubber, neoprene or urethane is usually a coating that covers their weight plates or weight heads. Their handles are typically made of steel, and also may have a coating on them. However, there are dumbbells, typically the vinyl ones, for which the weight plates are made of cement. For these, each weight plate is encased in a vinyl shell. In general, the urethane, rubber or neoprene ones are more expensive than the plain cast iron ones. The vinyl weights though are usually cheaper than the cast iron ones as they integrate much less iron.

Evidently, each type of weight plate coating comes with its own advantages. To begin with, urethane coated weights are usually more expensive, as this material is quite durable. It’s a common misconception that urethane is plastic, but this material actually has several properties that plastic doesn’t have. First of all, it’s not brittle, and will not crack or break due to impact or shock. Since it’s a true elastomer, it’s also elastic actually maintaining its elasticity and strength over a complete range of hardness. Also, as opposed to rubber or latex, urethane doesn’t emanate any smell and feature a specific gloss, that looks better than rubber.

neoprene-dumbbell

Neoprene Dumbbell

Rubber is typically used for the weight heads of fixed dumbbells, such as hex dumbbells. It’s also elastic and won’t break or crack if you drop the weights. It endows the weights with a bit of cushioning, so they are less likely to nick or scratch your floors. But then again, rubber doesn’t have the neat aspect of urethane. Rubberized weights usually look a bit rough compared to the urethane ones. Also, rubber weights may release the typical rubbery odor for a while, which can be a problem for some users.

Neoprene is a synthetic material with a rubber-foamy structure. It’s typically used as a coating for the small dumbbells used in aerobic training. It’s not as durable as urethane or rubber, and the primary role of this coating is to increase the ergonomics of the weights.

On the other hand, there are the plain cast-iron weights, which feature either chrome or oil paint finish. Obviously, these weights are less expensive than the ones with various other coatings. Depending on make, the chrome or paint may be more or less durable. But in general, even if the finish comes off, they can be re-painted.

Adjustable Dumbbells vs. “Selectorized” Dumbbells

There are two types of adjustable dumbbells: the “classic” ones and the “selectorized” ones. The “classic” type of adjustable dumbbells are mainly the Olympic and Standard ones, which require plates to be manually loaded and unloaded onto the bars, for the weight adjustment of each dumbbell.

“Selectorized” dumbbells are the ones with a quick adjustment system, such as the PowerBlock or PowerPak ones. These feature either a dial or a selector pin involved in the selection of the plates for each dumbbell. They typically come with storage trays which also play an important role in the weight adjustment, as they keep the weight plates in place. By turning the dial or moving the selector pin, you select the desired plates to remain locked onto the handle, the rest remaining onto the trays.

Now, each type of adjustable dumbbells has its own pluses and minuses. On the one hand, the Olympic or Standard dumbbells offer a lot of sturdiness and reliability as the plates can’t possibly fall off the bars, unless the collars or springs are faulty. Also, especially the all-iron ones, without any urethane or rubber coatings, can take a lot of abuse before breaking. But, adjustment can take quite some time.

On the other hand, “selectorized” dumbbells offer quick adjustment but sacrifice some of the sturdiness. The parts involved into the attachment of the weight plates to the bars may break if the dumbbells are dropped, which can result in the falling of the plates. Also, depending on the plates loaded onto the bars, they may be bulkier than similar, fixed dumbbells. For example, a 10 lbs fixed hex dumbbell, will be much smaller than the Bowflex 552 with the 10 lbs increment selected. But for the 52.5 weight increment there isn’t much of a size difference. Of course, if treated with care, a pair of “selectorized” dumbbells can last just as long as any other set.

Olympic vs. Standard

These are “classic” adjustable dumbbells, which come with circular weight discs and the dumbbell bars for them. Now, their system is pretty much similar, but the specs differ. The Olympic dumbbells feature bars with 2″ (5 cm) diameter sleeves, requiring plates with 2″ (5 cm) holes, while the main grip is usually less thick than the sleeves.

Standard dumbbells feature 1″ (2.5 cm) sleeves and naturally require plates with 1″ (2.5 cm) holes. The sleeves may or may not be threaded, depending on the locking system required. The grips of the bars feature the same thickness as the sleeves.

Now, in case you’re wondering, it’s possible to load Olympic weight plates on Standard bars, but they will rattle and move during your exercises, so this is not recommended. That’s why it’s important to choose the right plates for the right bars if you purchase them separately.

There’s one more aspect to be mentioned here, though. There are certain dumbbell sets similar to the Olymipc and Standard ones, but they feature sleeves of different specs. For example, the Yes4All dumbbells, although they seem like Standard dumbbells, they feature 1.25″ (3.1 cm) bars, so Standard plates won’t fit on them.

Commercial Grade vs. Home Use Weights

If you’ve been on the lookout for dumbbells, you’ve probably noticed that there are types that are labeled as “commercial”. These are typically more expensive. Most of them are hex-type, featuring a very sturdy construction, with durable joints, and heavy-duty weight heads. Some of them also have a rubberized coating on their weight heads. Also, adjustable dumbbells aren’t usually the types used in gyms.

However, in case you want a dumbbell set for your home gym, a set of commercial-grade dumbbells may not worth the financial effort. Also, a set of hex dumbbells, commercial or not may take a lot of space, plus, they’re typically more expensive. Therefore, you can either opt for a classic adjustable dumbbell set like the above Yes4All, or a selectorized set like the MX Select, or Bowflex.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right set of dumbbells to use in the comfort of your home may not be quite an easy task, as there are many types out there, which can pretty much fulfill the same purpose. But even though these fitness tools are pretty straightforward, there are quite many aspects to consider when choosing your set. Therefore, if you’re on the lookout for a set of dumbbells for your home gym, the selection we’ve pointed out into this post should help serve you as a starting point on choosing the set that fits perfectly to your needs and budget. These are some of the best, if not the best, adjustable dumbbells for 2021.

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