If we’ve learned anything from the past year, it’s that you can never be too prepared. And it’s important to keep up with your health and fitness routine: to stay in shape generally and to help protect yourself from getting sick.
For both reasons, having gym equipment at home can be invaluable. While there was a shortage of dumbbells in the pandemic, as well as extreme price gouging, the market is cooling off, and adjustable dumbbells are available again at regular prices. A set of these can be a versatile, space-saving tool for an at-home workout routine, good for hundreds of exercises. And they can help strengthen your legs, which can improve your running over time. But with so many adjustable dumbbell options out there, it can be hard to know which to buy.
What To Consider When Buying Adjustable Dumbbells
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The first is how heavy they are—and make sure to note if listed weights (and prices) are per dumbbell or pair. If you’re lifting between 30 and 40 pounds regularly, getting a pair of adjustable dumbbells that only goes up to 20 pounds each won’t be too helpful. You also need to consider any gains or progress you may make as you continue with your training program. If you’re using 15 to 20 pounds now, you might want a pair that goes higher than 20, so you have room to grow. All our listed weights are per dumbbell, and prices are per pair unless noted otherwise.
And think about how you’ll be using the dumbbells. Are you constantly switching weights for different exercises in the same superset or workout? If so, you’ll want a pair that adjusts easily and quickly. If you’re only changing weight from day to day, a pair that takes a bit longer to adjust may work just fine.
How We Chose
As a fitness and health writer and editor, runner, and National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, I’ve personally used many different types of dumbbell, both for stories and in my own workouts. Whether from home use or at fitness studios, I’m directly familiar with most of these products and own sets from several brands. Other options below have received rave reviews, cover various price points and needs, and are options I’d consider using myself based on recommendations from other trusted fitness authorities. With all that in mind, these are among the best adjustable dumbbells on the market based on our personal testing, research, and reviews. Find a pair that will fit your needs below.
If you’re looking to lift a decent amount of weight and have some range to go from lighter tricep kickbacks to a heavier chest presses, consider this set of adjustable weights. It offers 15 different loads from 10 pounds to 55 pounds on each dumbbell. Two holders come included, and we found them easy to adjust—simply lift the blue selector, slide it to the desired weight load, and release it. We were able to perform supersets, changing the weight quickly between exercises. The weights are compact, which is important when you’re using them for multiple exercises or at home when you don’t have a ton of space.
Adjust these dumbbells from five to 52.5 pounds in increments of 2.5 pounds (until you get over 25, then it increases by five pounds). They’re suited for families that are looking to get weights for home and need different sizes for different people. These not only save space, but they’re also extremely easy to adjust via a simple turn of a dial. We tried them at home and in a partner workout in a gym setting, where we needed different weights quickly, and the adjustment on these dumbbells made for fast, seamless set swaps. Download the accompanying app for some workouts.
Taking on a slightly different shape than your usual dumbbells, these adjustable weights range from three to 24 pounds in three-pound increments using the selector pin. While their rectangular design looks awkward, they’re actually very easy to use and more compact than other adjustable options. Plus, they don’t feel bulky as you’re lifting them. As soon as we tried them and experienced how easy they were to adjust and hold, the rectangular shape wasn’t off-putting. The rubber grips ensure a solid hold even during hard workouts.
These weights go from five to 50 pounds in five-pound increments and very much resemble your typical dumbbell shape, so they feel familiar in your hands. Some reviewers found that the plates sometimes get stuck together, but it’s not hard to get them apart, and that won’t negatively affect your overall workout. Once you choose your weight, you don’t have to worry about the plates moving around as you push or press the dumbbell. And the contoured, textured handle allows you to have a good, tight grip, no matter how sweaty you get.
Take all the work out of adjusting your dumbbells with this set of “smart” dumbbells that tracks your progress via an app. Simply press the up and down buttons on the stand-mounted LCD display until the weight you’re looking to use pops up, and the weights automatically adjust to that setting. Each dumbbell starts at eight pounds and goes up to 50, increasing in six-pound increments. Sync the set to the JaxJox app, and allow the app to automatically track sets, reps, weight, and workout duration, so you can watch yourself improve over time.
This premium offering is 17 sets of adjustable dumbbells all housed in one for the most serious pump. While they’re on the pricier side, at over $400 per dumbbell, they go up to 90 pounds each—not common for adjustable options. They use the same twist technology as the Bowflex SelectTech 552s, making them just as easy to adjust. They start at 10 pounds and increase in increments of five.
If you’re hunting for adjustable dumbbells at an affordable price and don’t need them to be too heavy, look no further. The Flybirds start at five pounds and go up to 25 in five-pound increments. Just turn the handle so that the pointer is facing the weight you want to work with. The dumbbells also have a scratch-resistant coating, a nice touch for small apartments where these might be stored in the open. The plates stay firmly in place when you’re using them, and the handles are comfortable to hold all workout long.
For those sticking to a budget, don’t adjust weights much in the same workout, and you don’t need dumbbells over 25 pounds each, this economical set of cast-iron weights might work well. Similar to an actual barbell, you’ll have to physically add plates (three- and 7.5-pound options included), and then screw a lock on the ends to hold the weights in place. We’ve used these in apartment building gyms, and they work well—they just take a little more time to set up. The textured chrome handle allows a confident grip that won’t slip mid-lift.