health and fitness

The Very Best Adjustable Dumbbells

They’re a solid space-saving addition to any home-gym setup. These are the best ones available.

These are the best adjustable dumbbells of 2024.
Photo: Marcus McDonald
These are the best adjustable dumbbells of 2024.
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

As someone who has lived in and moved between several small apartments over the past decade and who works out with weights several times a week, I’ve found adjustable dumbbells to be a solid investment when it comes to home exercise equipment. Instead of installing heavy, awkwardly shaped gym equipment — like a squat rack and barbell or a full set of individual dumbbells — during each move, I can more easily transport these space-saving dumbbells and keep them tucked away in my closet when I’m not using them.

The best-known brands in this space are Bowflex and Powerblock, and I tested five different sets from these companies and a few others over the course of the past six years — using them for weight-lifting workouts and even some HIIT circuit training — to get a sense of the best pairs. Plus, I spoke to eight personal trainers and fitness experts — who frequently do at-home workouts and use adjustable dumbbells regularly — to get their recommendations for dumbbells for every type of user.

What we’re looking for

Adjustment mechanism

The defining feature of an adjustable dumbbell is the ability to switch between different weights on the same handle. And how you switch between those increments is crucial — a complicated mechanism that requires lots of tinkering can result in an inefficient and unsafe workout. “Adjustable dumbbells come with an inherent risk factor,” explains Colin Gray, the general manager and master trainer at EVF Performance. When compared to a traditional dumbbell, adjustable models have the potential to fail (though that’s a rare occurrence because most models are designed well enough to avoid this): The mechanism could malfunction and potentially cause an injury. “My number-one criteria is ease of use,” freelance writer and Outside magazine gear columnist Joe Jackson says. “So much can go haywire with an adjustable dumbbell. My worst fear is having one of those weights fly off the handle. If it doesn’t click into place easily and well, I assume it’s going to break on me.” There are a few different types of adjustments to expect, and the best one for you comes down to preference.

Pin: Similar to what you might see on weight machines at the gym; you slide a pin to select the plates. It might not be the fastest adjustment style, but it’s my preferred mechanism.

Dial: You turn the dial to select the weight you want. This type of adjustment can also come in a handle that you twist to make the weight selection. This is the most straightforward adjustment style and the best for beginners.

Screw-on: Some of the more basic adjustable dumbbells have screw-on limiters, like the collars that prevent barbell plates from sliding off. Since the screw-ons are manual, dumbbells that use this adjustment style are only as secure as you make them.

Electronic: Some dumbbells have electronic adjustments, which, like the dial adjustments, vary slightly from model to model. Most electronic mechanisms simply do the dial or pin adjustment automatically. If there’s a delay (or if the buttons or voice commands don’t work), then this process might take longer than it should. But if everything works, it’s a quick adjustment style. We have not included the previously recommended NordicTrack iSelect dumbbells in the list below because they appear to have been discontinued.

Range and increment of weights

We’re looking at not just the overall weight of dumbbells but also the different increments of weight that each dumbbell set offers. “Some folks prefer to keep their home workouts simple — that means one or two weights — and therefore don’t need an adjustable dumbbell with a big range of weight increments,” says Gray. “Others who are generally lifting heavier will want a wider range of weights.” Some of the weight ranges per dumbbell span two to 20 pounds, five to 50 pounds, and five to 90 pounds. The models in this list come with weights in 2.5- and five-pound increments.

Handle type

Some models come with different grip shafts, such as knurled metal, rubberized, or foam — all of which come down to preference, but could affect your workout. (Someone who wants to avoid calluses might opt for a softer, rubber grip, while users who want a more classic barbell feel might prefer the rougher texture of knurled metal, for example.)


While all of these adjustable dumbbells will save space, some have different modes of storage, such as round or flat plates (rounder ones are more prone to rolling), and the types of case or resting platforms they come with, if any.

Best adjustable dumbbells overall

Adjustment mechanism: Sliding selector pin | Range and increment of weights: 5 to 50 pounds (can expand up to 70 and 90 pounds), 2.5- and 5-pound increments | Handle type: Rubber grip | Storage: Rectangular plates

The PowerBlock Pro Series dumbbells are my top recommendation because they have a durable, stable design and allow you to switch between weights quickly and easily. They have a unique, rectangular shape that might be off-putting to some new users, but after dozens of workouts with them over the past three years, I find them just as secure as traditional dumbbells.

Multiple experts I spoke to agree and mentioned PowerBlock as the most reliable brand of adjustable dumbbells and the weights they’ve personally used and would recommend to most new training clients. Within the PowerBlock stable, the Pro Series was the most recommended because of its ease of adjustment — it uses a sliding selector pin rated to 500 pounds and magnets to hold the pin once it’s in all the way — and its secure construction, which keeps all weights in place without jiggling or rattling. I found the Pro Series weight increments surprisingly easy to use and adjust — and much faster than the screw-on system on the Yes4All dumbbells below. “Adjusting weights is pretty quick. It’s like the selector pin on weight machines you’d use at the gym,” says Chris Chung, a running-and-fitness-content creator who uses the PowerBlocks as his main dumbbell set in his home gym.

The PowerBlock’s rectangular build makes it easy to store, and there’s no need for a cradle or stand; the dumbbells rest flat and won’t roll away. One downside of its unique shape and recessed grip is that two-handed workouts can be a bit awkward. (When your wrist is surrounded by the plates, I found it hard to grip one dumbbell with two hands at a time, as when doing overhead tricep extensions.)

But what makes the PowerBlock Pro Series my top recommendation is how well they stand up to abuse over time. They have a urethane-coated steel construction throughout the dumbbell, as opposed to the plastic knobs and adjustment systems generally found in cheaper models, which are more prone to cracking and chipping — this makes them a solid long-term investment. “Their quality makes them stand out from the rest of the competition,” says Dean Pohlman, yoga instructor and founder of Man Flow Yoga, who uses PowerBlocks for weight training in addition to his yoga routine. Phillip Doblosky, a sales representative at Johnson Fitness & Wellness, has been helping customers shop for adjustable dumbbells for over a decade, and recommends PowerBlocks for peace of mind: “I can count on one hand the amount of service calls I’ve received regarding defects with PowerBlock products that my customers have bought,” he says.

You can add one or two 20-pound kits (sold separately) to the EXP for a maximum weight of 70 or 90 pounds per dumbbell, if you want to expand the plate range beyond 50 pounds.

Best (less-expensive) adjustable dumbbells

Adjustment mechanism: Screw-on | Range and increment of weights: Up to 40 pounds, 5-pound increments Handle type: Knurled metal handle | Storage: Round plates

I’ve used these simple cast-iron dumbbells for quick at-home workouts over the past five years, and they’ve shown no signs of wear. They’re about as bare bones as you can get. There are no fancy sliding pins, like you’d find in the PowerBlocks above — just screw-on collars that tighten around the plates on each end. Given how simple the weight adjustment is, the onus is on the user to tighten the collars as snug as possible to prevent the plates from moving around or sliding off the dumbbell — that is one downside I found in this style of adjustable dumbbell. If I was in a hurry to change out the weights in between sets, the plates would sometimes clink and move around a little, but tightening the collars would fix the issue. Some users might prefer a more streamlined, less manual process (which does take longer, compared to, say, the PowerBlocks), but I found the process similar to reracking a barbell in between sets. With a price point hundreds of dollars below every other item on this list, this pair is hard to beat when it comes to value.

Best dial-adjustable dumbbells

Adjustment mechanism: Dial | Range and increment of weights: 5 to 52.5 pounds., 2.5- and 5-pound increments | Handle type: Rubber grip around metal handle | Storage: Round plates with included plastic storage tray

The popular Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are a solid contender for the best-overall pick because their adjustment mechanism is straightforward and easy to use, and they come in at a cheaper price than the PowerBlocks. In our roundup of the best at-home workout equipment, celebrity fitness instructor Kira Stokes recommends the SelectTech 552, which “allow you to just click in the specific weight you want to use,” she says.

The most stand-out feature of the 552 is how long they are — each dumbbell is over 16 inches long (the PowerBlock Pro Series dumbbell is 12.5 inches long at most), and this bulk could affect certain exercises where you might pair them together (like front shoulder raises), but not to the point where the dumbbells will be unwieldy.

Best adjustable dumbbells for heavier weights

Adjustment mechanism: Dial | Range and increment of weights: 10 to 90 pounds, 5-pound increments | Handle type: Studded, squared-off metal handle | Storage: Round plates with included plastic storage tray

Similar to the Bowflex SelectTech 552, the 1090 offer a straightforward adjustment dial and storage tray — just with more weight options (up to 90 pounds per dumbbell). When I asked strength and conditioning coach Hayden Carpenter for adjustable dumbbell recommendations, he pointed me toward the 1090: “Bowflex makes pretty high-quality equipment,” he says. He frequently uses the company’s adjustable kettlebell for hangboarding workouts. The biggest difference between the SelectTech 552 and the 1090 is the handle. The 552 has a rubberized grip, while the 1090 has a squarer, studded metal grip that some customers have called uncomfortable to hold, especially when lifting during heavier sets. That said, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable set of adjustable dumbbells that offers heavier weights past 50 pounds, the SelectTech 1090 is definitely worth considering.

Best adjustable kettlebell


Adjustment mechanism: Dial | Range and increment of weights: 8 to 40 pounds (8, 12, 20, 25, 35, and 40) | Handle type: Round, smooth handle | Storage: Kettlebell nests into its own stand

This adjustable kettlebell from Bowflex is the top kettlebell I recommend. Much like the SelectTech dumbbells above, the 840 kettlebell uses a dial selector system: You turn the dial to pick the weight, and then you lift the kettlebell with the handle off its base.

I’ve used the 840 for at-home workouts, and I like how easy the selection system is. It’s efficient during HIIT workouts, when I only have limited time in between sets to switch weight increments. (Since you can only switch weights when it’s nested in its base, I had to keep the base nearby during my workout.) Its handle is smooth, unlike powder-coated models, so swinging and catching the 840 might feel a bit different if you’re used to the textured feel of traditional kettlebells. It also comes recommended by Carpenter, who uses it for rock climbing strength workouts.

Some more strength-training equipment we’ve written about

Our experts

Hayden Carpenter, strength and conditioning coach
Chris Chung, running and fitness-content creator
• Phillip Doblosky, sales representative at Johnson Fitness & Wellness
• Colin Gray, general manager and master trainer at EVF Performance
Joe Jackson, Outside magazine columnist and home-gym expert
• Dean Pohlman, yoga instructor and founder of Man Flow Yoga
Kira Stokes, celebrity fitness instructor

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The Very Best Adjustable Dumbbells