Best Adjustable Dumbbells of 2018: Comparison & Reviews

If you’re looking for a best adjustable dumbbell, effective way to beef up your home gym and your workouts, you won’t find another piece of equipment more versatile then today’s new “selectorized” adjustable dumbbell set.

Best Adjustable Dumbbell Set 2018

Dumbbells have always been a reliable and important part of any strength training regimen. Practical in terms of cost and storage – adjustable dumbbells can provide a full body workout with a range of motion not available with other workout equipment.

Dumbbells FeaturesOur Rating
Bayou Fitness 50 lb

- Chrome plated steel plates
- Adjust from 10 to 50bls
- Storage Case Included
- Dimensions 14″ x 7.25″
4.0 out of 5
Bowflex SelectTech 552
[Best Seller]

- 5-52 lbs weight adjustment
- 2.5lb increments
- Has storage container
- Dimensions: 15.75″ x 8″ x 9″
4.5 out of 5
CAP Barbell 40-pound
Dumbbell Set

- Great set for beginners
- Standard 40 pound set
- Plates are solid cast iron and rust free.
- Collars are threaded so they lock in the weights.
4.5 out of 5
Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock
Set & Stand

- 10-75lbs Weight range
- Expandable with 120 lbs kits
- Comfort soft grip handle
- Dimensions: 14″L x 8.5″W x 7″H
4.5 out of 5
MTN Gearsmith Heavy
Duty Set

- Cast iron and chrome plated available
- 3 Models: 52.5, 105, 200lb sets
- Secures with Lock Nut
- Plates are very solid and won’t break easily
4.0 out of 5
Power Block Sport

- Weight range: 3 to 24 lbs
- Compact and balanced than
traditional dumbbells
- 15 Year warranty
- Dimensions: 10.5"L x5.25" W x 5" H
4.5 out of 5

Standard adjustable dumbbells usually work by sliding different sized plates onto a short steel bar. The plates are held in place with collars that are screwed onto threads located at each end of the bar.

This can often be inconvenient and impractical if multiple changes in weights and body parts are a part of your routine. Particularly if you are doing P90X or a Cross-Fit styled workout where rapid changes in plates are fast and frequent. For this type of training or any routine involving super-sets or circuits the “old-school” adjustable dumbbell sets just won’t work.

Several years ago, as Cross-Fit and P90X work-outs began to gain in popularity several manufacturers began to develop what we call “selectorized” dumbbells to better accommodate these fast-paced strength training routines.

With selectorized dumbbells, you can change the weight by simply adjusting a small pin or selector dial in a matter of seconds without having to unscrew both collars (4 for 2 dumbbells) and sliding new plates on.

best adjustable dumbbell

Once you’ve made your adjustment, the selectorized adjustable dumbbell set will leave the unwanted weights on a stand or on the floor. These designs are fast, super easy to use and are perfect when space is a concern and rapid weight changes are desired. Powerblock dumbbells, Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, Bayou Fitness, and Universal by Nautilus are top-rated manufacturers and are considered the best adjustable dumbbells by thousands of customer reviews on

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Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells Selecttech 552 (Full Pair)

If you’re looking for a great work-out the Bowflex Selecttech 552 Dumbbells are a perfect fit. With a new design, this pair of dumbbells easily adjusts from five lbs to fifty-two lbs with its exclusive dial changing system. In a matter of seconds, you can change the desired weight in increments of 2 1/2 lbs for the first 25 lbs (adjusts in 5 lb increments above 25 lbs) to over 52 lbs for each dumbbell.

More than enough to accommodate most work-out regimens. Whether you use the optional Bowflex dumbbell stand or put them on the floor, space and clutter will never be a problem again. The Selecttech 552 adjustable dumbbell set comes with a free DVD tutorial teaching you how to get an effective workout with over thirty different exercises. Includes a 2-year warranty on parts and disc plates.

PowerBlock Dumbbells

Considered by some to be the best adjustable dumbbell set under $300.00, PowerBlock dumbbells mimic a stack of dumbbells but only take up about 2 square feet of floor space. Changing weights is quick and simple with its specially designed selector pin. Just place the pin into the weights slot and lift it up from the stand or floor. Each dumbbell can be adjusted from five lbs to forty-five lbs in five-pound increments.

Selector pins are simple in the way they work and are less likely to break or be damaged. Sleek and compact in their design, the distributed weight load remains stable, comfortable, and the cushioned handle grips help protect the wrists during use. The Powerblock dumbbell system replaces eighteen fix-weight dumbbells and is very well built. Comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Universal Power-Pak 445 Adjustable Dumbbells with Stand (Combo)

Manufactured by the folks at Nautilus, the Universal Combo Pak includes 2, 45 lb adjustable dumbbells and a sturdy, ergonomically designed stand for storage and convenient weight changes. Beautifully designed with great engineering and rugged construction… this set is an excellent choice for professional trainers, athletes or even beginners.

Starting at four lbs per side, the weight selection can be changed five lbs at a time – up to 45 lbs per dumbbell with its dial selector system. The stand looks impressive too and comes with 2 dumbbell cradles customized for a perfect fit. The dial selector operates smoothly and is conveniently located on the sides of each dumbbell. With the stand included as part of the Power-Pak, this product is a great value for the price. Comes with a helpful workout guidebook and all parts have a 1-year warranty (stand, dumbbells, and parts).

Bayou Fitness Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells

With a clever design, sturdy all-metal construction and two convenient storage racks, the Bayou adjustable dumbbell set is built to last and will work fine for home or professional use. With its chrome plated all metal plates and handle the Bayou can withstand daily use while giving you or your students a flexible and demanding workout. With its unique plate sliding mechanism its one of the quickest changing units on the market – one of the best adjustable dumbbell kits for super-setting, Cross-Fit routines, Body-Pump or P90X.

Weight selections can be adjusted from 10 lbs to 50 lbs with their unique adjustment knob located on the side. Re-shape your body with the adjustable free weight system from Bayou Fitness. These units are built for more quality and typical weight lifting abuse and are little pricier then the other models we’ve looked at. All models from Bayou come with a one year warranty.

Cap Barbell 40-Pound Dumbbell Set

For anyone looking for a non-selectorized adjustable dumbbell set, this CAP 40-pound combo pack is the one I recommend. Well built and priced right this set features all cast iron plates, metal collars, comfortable ergonomic handles and a tough plastic carry case.


The set comes with (4) 2 1/2 – lb plates, (4) 5 lb plates, rubber coated collars, an attractive shiny finish and are guaranteed to be rust free. If fast changing weights are not a concern, this is an affordable and well built adjustable dumbbell set. The storage case is easy to carry, measuring twenty inches long, nine inches wide and 42 lbs fully loaded.

Guidelines For Using An Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Whether you buy a complete set of standard dumbbells or a selectorized model adjustable dumbbells can be a great way to build up your home gym without breaking the bank. With so much versatility in the number of exercises you can perform, these hand-held free weights can give anyone a terrific work-out all by themselves. The best adjustable dumbbells are ideal for fast-paced circuit training, weightlifters (due to an increased range of motion), or medium intensity workouts. Plus they don’t take up much space.

Of course, having the right equipment is not enough to tone and recondition your physique. You’ll need to eat right, get in a few days of cardio every week and throw in some consistency as well. The discipline that surrounds a healthy lifestyle is not really within the scope of this website – but I’m sure you get the picture. Before moving forward with any adjustable dumbbell routine at home, I’ve listed below some essential tips you’ll want to consider.

Setting Up Your Home Dumbbell Gym

  • Pick up a rubber floor matt to protect the floor from your dumbbells and to use for floor exercises.
  • If your adjustable dumbbell set doesn’t come with a stand or rack consider getting one.
  • You’ll need a flat bench for flys, bench press, etc. Try to get a bench that’s adjustable for incline and seated exercises (45 -90 degrees).
  • That’s all you need! Setting up a home dumbbell gym is about as simple as it gets.

Smart People Use Dumbbells – The Basics


Your own personal goals and fitness level will determine how often and how intense your workouts should be. But here are some general guidelines to follow: Fat loss, toning, and beginners should go with high reps and lower weights – 3 to 4 sets and 12 to 15 repetitions are typical. For bulking and more experienced trainers higher weights and lower reps are recommended although variations that can create an atmosphere of “muscle confusion” (see Cross-fit, P90X, Body-Pump) are gaining in popularity and are very effective.


For full body workouts, every other day is standard. A training week would typically have you lifting weights 3 days a week and doing cardio 3 days a week. As you become more advanced you can increase the frequency of your strength training by splitting up body parts. For example, you could train upper body with your adjustable dumbbell set on Mondays and Thursdays with lower body exercises on Tuesday and Friday. Throw in cardio at least 3 days a week and you’re training at a more advanced level.

Dumbbells Allow You To Target Specific Body Parts

Most people think of dumbbell exercises as limited to curls and a few basic arm and shoulder movements. However, virtually every body part can be trained effectively with dumbbells once you familiarize yourself with these movements. Lunges, squats, deadlifts, weighted crunches, side bends, calf raises, bench press, chest flys, triceps extensions, upright rows and military press are all easily done – at high-intensity levels if you’d like, with dumbbells.

Flexibility and Strength

Athletes have known for a long time the importance of maintaining flexibility to avoid injury and/or to improve sports skills. The extreme range of motion allowed by a dumbbell work-out is perfect for this, and much safer since the rotation of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder is much easier with dumbbells over a straight barbell or machine. Stretching the muscle fascia is critical to the improved strength and building of new muscle tissue.

Negatives And Failures Anyone?

With dumbbells, you can safely incorporate two advanced techniques known as “negative reps” and “be going to failure”. Understanding negative reps are simple. When lifting the weight in a controlled smooth motion it’s considered a “positive rep”, while lowering the weight in a controlled motion is called a “negative” one. “Going to failure” with a specific exercise actually means what it says – you perform repetitions until you cannot do another one. The beauty of dumbbell training is that these highly important movements can be done without a spotter and without risking injury. Both negative reps and going to failure should be in the training arsenal of all intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts.

Balance, Coordination and Core Strength

Dumbbells can be used to improve balance and core strength as well. Used in conjunction with large work-out balls, balance boards, standing on one leg, etc… you can create an environment that forces your inner core and trunk muscles to work over-time while improving your overall balance and coordination.

Dumbbells Are Good For Your Heart

Circuit training with dumbbells has been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure, increase cardiovascular strength, and improve your cholesterol levels. Fast-paced workouts with lightweight resistance training are what make up the foundations of so many popular workout programs. They’re heart-healthy, burn fat and give you a toned, ripped physique. The best adjustable dumbbells allow you to use these routines due to the speed and versatility of the selector pin/dial adjustments.

Know Before You Buy

When you consider the above benefits that adjustable dumbbell sets provide it makes perfect sense to use dumbbells as part of your exercise regimen. They’re relatively inexpensive – especially when you compare them to other home gyms. They take up virtually no space in your home or office and are incredibly versatile in the type of training you intend to use them for.

The models I’ve reviewed are the best adjustable dumbbells (under $300) on the market today. Whether you end up choosing Powerblock Dumbbells, Bowflex Adjustable dumbbells, Bayou’s all metal dumbbell set, Universal’s Combo Pak, or even the “old-school” Caps adjustable dumbbells, you’ll be getting a good quality piece of exercise equipment… not to mention a great work-out.