Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of workout equipment — including the best kettlebells, the best weighted vests, and the best yogi-approved yoga mats — here, we’ve rounded up the best adjustable dumbbells, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated adjustable dumbbells
“All I have to say is, if you’re on the fence [about] buying this set, just trust your gut like I did and just go ahead and make the purchase,” one satisfied reviewer urges. More than 3,500 shoppers give this adjustable-dumbbell set five stars, and many give it top marks for saving them both space and money, including this user, who writes, “I know several people who have spent over $500 on dumbbell sets that take up so much space, but Bowflex engineered these monsters in a way that makes it so easy to work out.” Another customer says, “With the cost of some gyms near $100 per month, these along with a bench, pull-up bar, and other basic equipment can start saving you money after less than a year.” Reviewers also agree that these dumbbells make it easy to switch between weights. “I like the versatility, and the selectors work flawlessly,” one writes, while another says, “These adjustable dumbbells take a few seconds to switch weight and take up very little space … They are an investment but one I think is definitely worth it.”
Best-rated (less expensive) adjustable dumbbells
“These are a very solid set, especially for their price,” says one reviewer, who was impressed that, for this price, he got real metal dumbbells, not plastic as “many similarly priced sets have.” He even thinks that these are particularly “conducive to pumping motions.” The only downside, he seemingly jokes, was that this set “did not come with any T-shirts with sweet phrases like ‘The big dawg’s in town, woof woof,’ or ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body,’” but he “already [has] several dozen of these T-shirts,” so perhaps it’s a nonissue. But more on the actual dumbbells: Another reviewer really enjoys the “good gripping surface on them.” He “got some decent blisters after [his] first workout,” so he recommends prepping your hands with tape or bandages if you’re not used to using dumbbells like this. Plus, over a dozen customers think that these dumbbells will last a long time, including one who says, “The weights looks like they are coated cast iron. I see no reason for these weights not to last a lifetime.”
And now some micro-picks for every adjustable dumbbell you might be looking for.
Best adjustable-dumbbell set under 50 pounds
A reviewer after our own heart writes, “I spent a lot of time (as in, over a year comparing) shopping for adjustable dumbbells but was very concerned about durability and safety.” Luckily, they found what they were looking for in this set: “These PowerBlocks are so beautifully engineered and designed that I feel very comfortable and confident that they will not break … They are easy to adjust, perfectly balanced, durable, and very easy to get used to.” Another says, “There’s just nothing on here that can easily break, due to the strong materials and smart, simple design.” Beyond durability, users also note how easy it is to adjust these dumbbells at any weight. One experienced lifter who says they “have used every brand of adjustable dumbbell” writes, “In short: These are by far the best … These are nearly instantaneous to adjust by 10-pound increments. It’s not as smooth to adjust the 5-pound micro-adjust, but even that is just a matter of seconds.”
Best adjustable dumbbells with textured handle
“They’re solid, secure, and just about the most bang you could get for your buck,” one reviewer writes about this adjustable-dumbbell set. Not only do many reviewers agree that this set is a great value, many attest that its quality is up there too. “This is one of the best-designed weight sets I’ve ever used,” one says. “The dumbbell handles are long enough in the center for even the widest hands, and the threaded ends leave plenty of room for more weights if you want to expand beyond this basic set.” Others call out the collars at the end of the weights for keeping all the plates secure. As one user says, “The collars do hold the weights on quite sturdy, even when doing something like triceps extensions (with the dumbbell totally vertical and the weights aimed at the floor).” At least one shopper also appreciates the textured handle and was pleasantly surprised to find that “it actually helps improve the grip and isn’t there just for show.” Many warn that the paint does chip but, as one user puts it, “That will happen with any weights, and the price really makes up for this small inconvenience.”
Best adjustable-dumbbell set for home workouts
More than 70 percent of reviewers give this dumbbell set five stars, and many note that they bought it to follow along with Fitness Blender workouts. “I have been working out with the YouTube sensation Fitness Blender for about 6 months and my individual 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12-pound weights just weren’t cutting it anymore,” one such shopper explains. “I had a personal goal to purchase the PowerBlocks (which I saw on Fitness Blender) and treat myself when I exceeded my existing weights that I already owned. These are genius.” Reviewers praise them for being easy to switch from weight to weight and for offering the perfect range for beginners. “I find myself alternating between different amounts of weights depending on each exercise with ease, and they store much nicer than an entire set of different-sized weights,” one writes, while another says, “This range is perfect for me, as I am just starting to lift heavier and still have PLENTY of room to grow with these weights.” Even if you don’t watch Fitness Blender, one reviewer says, “you might as well buy these instead of having several dumbbells all around … Less clutter, better fitness, it’s just the right choice in the end.”
Best cast-iron adjustable-dumbbell set for home workouts
Nearly 100 five-star reviewers bought these dumbbells for their home gym. One customer says he can definitely see “a vast difference in the variety of exercises [he] can do at home” since buying these. He noticed that “most exercise gurus sing praises of free weights,” and he wanted to get on board without spending too much money. “For a beginner, the plates included are heavy enough. The locking nuts spin on and off smoothly and quickly, and the rubber gasket things do a great job of keeping the nuts from coming loose,” he explains. He also “encourages” everyone to wear gloves while using them “or your hands will take some punishment” because of the grip. But they’re still good for beginners. One reviewer has been lifting weights for years and “uses the gym daily.” But he’s all about growth: “Four years ago, I could barely curl 10-pounds. I would recommend this set for beginners who have never weight-lifted before and want to start at home with some simple lifting exercises.” He also appreciates that these have a case to use “as simple storage when you’re done using them” and keep them out of your way at home.
Best compact adjustable-dumbbell set
While one of the main selling features of all adjustable dumbbells is that they are more compact than a full set of different weights, reviewers are particularly enthusiastic about the size of this pair. “I am by no means particularly muscular or demanding when it comes to my gym equipment. I just needed some adjustable dumbbells, and my wife needed me to not take up an entire room filled with weights,” one reviewer writes, calling these “the perfect solution, much easier and simpler than screwing off the end of the cheaper adjustable dumbbells and much smaller than getting a dumbbell set.” Another shopper describes these dumbbells as “compact, easy to use, and well built,” while another says, “They function perfectly and are so much easier to move around and store.” One common complaint, even among five-star reviewers, is that these dumbbells are a little loud. “To those that say this ‘clanks’ when you use it, well, they’re right,” one reviewer admits. “But it doesn’t clank any more than standard free weights do on a barbell.” Many compare these to the PowerBlock Elite set reviewed above, but one shopper notes the difference is that “this model is not expandable, and for that reason only, I wish I’d bought the PowerBlock elite set.”
Best twist-and-lock adjustable dumbbells
“These are the dumbbells that will make everything else obsolete,” one reviewer proclaims. “Weight is changed in 5 to 50-pound increments with a simple superfast ‘flick of the wrist.’” Users repeatedly choose words like simple and easy to describe how painless the twist-and-lock system is for adjusting the weight on these dumbbells. “The twist-lock system on these makes changing weights superfast and easy,” one writes, while another describes it as “easy to adjust, sturdy, with a reliable mechanism.” Reviewers also praise this set for feeling like a single dumbbell. “If [you’re] looking for adjustable dumbbells that are [ergonomic] and feel like real dumbbells, these are them,” one says. Another concludes, “This is the closest of the quick-adjust dumbbells to a real dumbbell, and it is also the fastest.”
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