If, like Adele and Victoria Beckham, weight lifting is your workout of choice, you'll know how tricky it is finding dumbbells that make working out from home as enjoyable as heading to the gym. If you don't have the cash, or space, to buy dumbbells of different weights, adjustable dumbbells might be exactly what you're looking for.
Dumbbells are a key component of the best home gym equipment, thanks to their versatility and space-saving convenience, and adjustable ones provide flexibility and options for your weightlifting workout.
Lifting weights isn’t just for bodybuilders. Resistance training does build muscle mass, but it can also improve bone density, boost metabolism and increase stamina. With the best adjustable dumbbells, you can perform the best arm workouts with dumbbells, which target different areas. They’re great for arm exercises like bicep curls, tricep presses, deadlifts, flys and rows. And since the dumbbells on this list are adjustable, you can easily and quickly use different weight levels for different exercises.
What are the best adjustable dumbbells?
The best adjustable dumbbells have a wide range of weights, making them suitable for most exercisers and versatile enough for many different kinds of workouts. The adjustment mechanism varies; some sit in a case and use a dial to load and unload plates, while others come with plates that are switched manually.
At the top of our list of the best adjustable dumbbells is the NordicTrack iSelect Voice-Controlled Dumbbells, which can be connected to Alexa, and adjusted using your voice. Far more than just a gimmick, we found this extremely useful, and the streamlined design saved time between sets.
Before the NordicTrack knocked them off the top spot, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 were the best adjustable dumbbells on this list. They're extremely versatile, whatever your workout and they use dial technology, which makes changing the weight between sets exceptionally easy. Our tester gave them 4.5 out of 5, writing, 'these best-in-class adjustable dumbbells will take your weight-training routine up a notch or three'.
The best adjustable dumbbells also include sets that meet specific needs. If you don't want to spend a fortune, the best value adjustable dumbbells on our list are the Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells, which feel similar to the more expensive options on this list, without the price tag.
Voice-controlled dumbbells sounds like something from a gym of the future, but thanks to NordicTrack, they're here, and we really rate them. When plugged in and connected to Alexa, you can switch the weights of the dumbbells by saying things like, "Alexa, increase the weight by 10 pounds", or "Alexa, set my dumbbells for deadlifts". While it might seem gimmicky, during testing we found it extremely helpful, and it allowed us to actually rest between sets, rather than fiddling with weight plates.
The weights come with a free 30-day iFit membership, which gives you access to live and on-demand classes to get you into the swing of things. Alternatively, you can use them for your own home workouts, and adjust them from five, to fifty pounds each at the click of a button (or command).
Of course, like all good tech, it doesn't come cheap, and these are some of the most expensive dumbbells on the market. That said, this is a premium product with a premium price point, and if you can afford them, you won't regret the time you save between sets.
Read our full NordicTrack iSelect Voice-Controlled Dumbbells Review here.
If you’re not ready to spend a fortune upgrading your home gym, the Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells represent excellent value in the ever-saturated world of strength-training gear.
Performance-wise, these dumbbells are very similar in feel and function to the more expensive BowFlex, NordicTrack, and Core Home Fitness brands. The mini-weight plates fit snugly together and don’t rattle around too much. The knurl is also top-notch; the contoured design lets you get a firm grip on everything before you pick it up. Not everyone needs a full 55 pounds of dumbbell for their home gym, and Flybird hits the mark with their 25-pound adjustable dumbbells. While you won’t get the same extras as more expensive competitors (ex, fitness apps, a dumbbell stand), you won’t be disappointed in these functional fitness tools.
Read our full Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell review.
If you’re lucky enough to find the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells in stock, be quick! These best-in-class dumbbells are ready to help you take your weight-training to the next level. The dumbbells’ 15.8 x 9 x 8-inch footprint (when maxed out to full weight capacity) is somewhat bulkier than old-school steel dumbbells, but each one is fully adjustable between 5 and 52.5 pounds in 5-pound increments. Swapping out those mini-weight plates is as simple as twisting the knobs on either end of the dumbbell to the desired weight, and you’re good to go.
The dumbbells’ rubber-and-steel grip feels substantially more ergonomic than comparably priced competitors, but they do get a little slippery if your hands are sweaty. The grip style isn’t really meant for two hands, but you can load weights on just one side of the dumbbell for skull-crushers and sumo squats. Just remember that these dumbbells are simply not designed for powerlifters, especially since dropping them on the floor is a big no-no.
The compatible BowFlex SelectTech app includes dozens of dynamic exercises you can perform with your new dumbbells, along with six targeted workouts, a six-week weight-training program, and a digital journal. It’s a genuinely useful app, and you just can’t argue with the price — free.
Read our full Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbell review.
The next evolution of muscle-building is surprisingly simple, and the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set is poised for popularity amongst those looking to expand their home gym setup, without the faff.
The contoured, rubberized grip on the dumbbell handles are the best I’ve tested so far, and feel secure in the hand when exercising. The dumbbells’ 14.5 x 7.9 x 7.5-inch footprint (when maxed out to full weight capacity) is adjustable up to 50 pounds in 5-pound increments. Swapping out those weight plates is as simple as twisting the handle on either dumbbell to the desired weight. (This only works when the dumbbells are resting securely in their cradles; as a safety measure, the plates can’t be removed from the handle once you pick the dumbbells up.)
Overall, the structural design is very similar to what BowFlex has to offer, and equally easy to use. Whereas the BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells have adjustment knobs on either end of each dumbbell, the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set gets the job done even quicker with their handle mechanism. Thanks to sleek ergonomics, intuitive adjustment mechanisms, and an uber-grippy knurl, you won’t be disappointed in this premium gym gear, especially if you spring for the additional stand.
Read our full Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set review.
Some of the best adjustable dumbbells we’ve reviewed lately cost upwards of $300, and one of the big draws for such premium brands has to do with how quickly you can adjust the weight plates — often in just a few seconds. Tepson is not only much cheaper than such competitors, but their unique dumbbell set doubles as one modest barbell with all the pieces connected. The design is far from perfect, but for anyone looking to start a home gym, it’s not a bad value overall. Reracking the weights is tedious, sure, but it’s not a deal-breaker at this price.
These adjustable dumbbells aren’t exactly top-of-the-heap when it comes to build quality, but for the average gym-goer, there’s plenty to like about the Tepson Adjustable Dumbbells Barbell 2-in-1 with Connector.
AmazonBasics isn’t pulling any punches with this dumbbell set; it’s a solid example of getting exactly what you pay for — but in a good way. The weight plates fit snugly together, and the textured knurl is top-notch, though not nearly as comfortable as the contoured grip on the BowFlex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells, which can hold up to 52.5 pounds each. (At $400, though, the price of entry is much steeper for this premium option.)
If you’re looking for an affordable option, that you can get Amazon Primed to your house for tomorrow’s workout, these tick the right boxes, but dedicated gym-goers might not find them the most comfortable.
Read our full AmazonBasics Adjustable Weight Set review.
How to choose the best adjustable dumbbells for you
When selecting the best adjustable dumbbells, you’ll want to consider several factors. The first is weight range. If you’re more of a hardcore body builder, you’ll want individual dumbbells to go up to 50 pounds at the least. For exercisers who want to do minimal resistance training, a maximum of 20 pounds should suffice. But you will want a good range, since that’s essentially the point of adjustable dumbbells.
Then, consider how the adjustable dumbbells work — whether you prefer manually adding and removing plates, or if you want to use a simple dial system. Some sets are designed for easier adjustment, but may feel less secure and safe to you.
Depending on those two factors, the price will vary. Heavier weights cost more and dial system dumbbells also tend to be more expensive.
Other factors you may want to think about are storage (does it come with a rack or case?) and portability.
How we tested the best adjustable dumbbells?
In order to help you find the best adjustable dumbbells for your home workout needs we spent time lifting them! For each of the weights we did a number of home workouts, involving adjusting the weights multiple times to test how easy this was to do between reps.
What are the best exercises to do with dumbbells?
Dumbbells are a super-versatile item you can use for a number of different home workouts and strength-training sessions. Whether you're a bodybuilder, a cross-fitter, or a runner, adding dumbbells to your training can really help elevate your training.
Not sure what to do with your new weights? Here's some of our suggestions:
- The best arm workouts to do with dumbbells
- 10 exercises that blast away belly fat
- 5 exercises you should stop doing now — and what to do instead
And check put how this $10 piece of gym equipment has revolutionized my home workouts.