The best adjustable dumbbells are now a home gym essential—they’re cost-effective, take up very little floor space, and can be used for any type of strength training, muscle-building, or HIIT workout.
They’ve been a mainstay for those who opted to not return to traditional gyms after the pandemic and offer a way to get a quick pump in between Zoom when working from home. They sound great, but sometimes old-school weightlifters are left wondering why adjustable dumbbells are better than a traditional dumbbell set.
Are Adjustable Dumbbells Worth It?
If you’re trying to build up a home gym, its worth opting for adjustable dumbbells over a regular set. With them, you get the same basic function as traditional dumbbells without sacrificing precious floor space and no longer need a whole rack filled with different weights. With these bad boys, you can simply turn a dial or toggle a switch to change the weight resistance as needed.
The change in footprint alone is monumental—a rack of dumbbells can take up an entire wall or most of a room if the weights are scattered across the floor. On the other hand, even a large set of adjustable dumbbells only occupies about a 12-by-12-inch space.
Even with their compact nature, they still deliver the same workout benefits as traditional dumbbells. Depending on the set, you can use adjustable dumbbells for heavy-strength workouts with major movements like squats, deadlifts, military (overhead) presses, and bench presses. Alternatively, you can go light and do fast-paced HIIT workouts with them. If you want to build muscle, adjustable dumbbells are also perfect for advanced bodybuilding techniques like supersets and drop sets, where changing weights helps you keep workout intensity high.
The Bottom Line: They’re better. With adjustable dumbbells, you can get stronger, build lean muscle, and do high-level conditioning workouts right at home with minimal space at a much lower cost than a complete set of traditional dumbbells.
How to Choose an Adjustable Dumbbell Set
To choose the right set of adjustable dumbbells, first consider the weight range you need. Different models will offer varying minimum and maximum weights, though weight increments are mostly standard—most are adjustable in 5-pound increments, though some heavier sets may only offer 10-pound increments, while others, like the Bowflex SelectTech 552, can adjust in multiple increments and go as “micro” as 2.5 pounds per switch.
When shopping for adjustable dumbbells, you can expect to generally find them in one of three maximum weight sizes:
- Beginner: around 25 pounds
- Intermediate: around 50 pounds
- Advanced: up to 80-100
As for minimum weights, most sets will go down to 5 or 10 pounds, even heavy sets. That means it behooves you to aim for a higher weight when shopping for an adjustable dumbbell set. If you’re new to weightlifting, we recommend starting with a lighter set.
You’ll also want to be mindful of storage space. While most sets are pretty compact, they vary a bit in size, and since they’re heavy, it’s best to store them on the floor close to where you’ll be working out. With a light pair (25 pounds), you can easily stow them in a closet when not in use. A heavier set, however, will probably stay in one place. Thankfully, many sets come with a floor storage tray to help you keep your home gym tidy, but savvy brands sometimes make additional stands that are typically very nice-looking to house your weights as an alternative option.
Average Cost For an Adjustable Dumbbell Set
Depending on features and weight ranges, adjustable dumbbells typically cost between $100 and $400. If this sounds pricey, consider how much a complete set of traditional dumbbells would cost in 5-pound increments at a dollar per pound.
Ultimately, they’re just a better investment. Not only are adjustable dumbbells more budget- and square-footage-friendly than traditional dumbbells, but they also provide the same strength, conditioning, and muscle-building benefits.
The Best Adjustable Dumbbells of 2023
A titan of the fitness industry, Bowflex has been outfitting home gyms since 1986, and the SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are one of the company’s bestsellers. The weight range runs from five to 52.5 pounds, and you can make adjustments with two easy-to-use selection dials on each dumbbell. The first 25 pounds are adjustable in increments of 2.5 pounds, which gives beginners the ability to gradually work on increasing their strength.
The fixed-length weight bar is just under 16 inches long, and the plates are spaced out for an even distribution of weight. We also like the molding around the metal plates, which allows for quieter workouts and keeps the plates from scratching your floors. Considering its attractive price point and functionality for lifters of all levels, it’s no surprise the SelecTech 552 is a popular choice.[$369 (was $429); amazon.com]
This set gets very high rankings, with over 13,000 satisfied Amazon shoppers who gave it a perfect five-star score because it’s simple, solid, and effective. The weight plates (included with the set) fit snugly together and are kept secure with twisting collars. You have many size options, too, from 20 to 52.5 pounds. Make sure to pay attention to the weight you choose when buying—while most are sold in pairs, at least one is sold as a single. They’re reasonably priced though, so the value is great either way.[From $50; amazon.com]
This set from Core Fitness earns high marks for value and ease of use. It comes with a sturdy cradle for each dumbbell, with weight ranging from 5 up to 50 pounds (adjustable in five-pound increments), and you can switch up your resistance just by twisting the handles. For even more fine-tuned adjustability at a similar price, try the Bowflex SelectTech 552 above.[$349 (was $379); amazon.com]
With its square design and unique pin lock system, PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells don’t look like the typical set. But there’s a lot to like with this quirky setup. It comes with a comfy rubberized grip handle, and once you get the hang of the pin lock system, it’s easy to use. The EXP model ranges from 5 to 50 pounds in 5-pound increments, with the capability for 2.5-pound increments with the included adder weight.[$410; amazon.com]
This adjustable dumbbell set from Kiss Gold provides maximum affordability and adjustability. Its unique two-in-one design means you’re also getting an adjustable barbell (the dumbbells connect via a central connector bar). This not only gives you more sculpting options for your home gym, but also saves lots of space. Each adjustable steel dumbbell weighs up to 22 pounds, and the rubber handles provide ample grip. At less than $150, it’s also one of the more affordable options you can get.[From $120 (was From $170); amazon.com]
NordicTrack gets many things right with this Select-a-Weight dumbbell set. For starters, the set offers maximum adjustability—including 15 different weight options—thanks to a simple two-step adjustment process. A sliding pull tab adjusts in 10-pound increments, while a separate dial allows you to tack on an additional 2.5 or 5 pounds.
The length of the bar automatically adjusts based on the weight, and the rubberized grip offers a comfortable, ergonomic feel. Additionally, each purchase comes with a free 12-month subscription to the iFit app which includes virtual training, video workouts, and more.[$399; amazon.com]
If you’re on a budget but still want to pump some iron at home, this adjustable dumbbell set from Amazon Basics is a no-brainer. Each dumbbell can be stacked to weigh up to 19 pounds, and the set comes with several lighter plates that slide on and off the bar, all secured by a threaded collar. It also includes a storage case. The combination of low weight and low price makes this an ideal set for a beginner lifter.[$50; amazon.com]
PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells also cater to advanced-level lifters with the USA Elite series. This set goes up to an impressive 90 pounds per dumbbell, while still offering lighter weight down to 5 pounds. Use these for heavier bench and overhead presses, bent-over rows, and other big lifts. Due to the squared-off design, you can also rest them on the floor and use them as push-up handles to take strain off the wrists, elbows, and shoulder joints.[$827; amazon.com]
If you want to start lifting at home but aren’t ready to make a big investment, this affordable option from Lifepro is worth a try. The set only ranges from 5 to 25 pounds (adjustable in 5-pound increments), but it’s a great starting point for new lifters. Changing weight is straightforward—just pull the tab and shift it—and the knurled grip is solid and slip-resistant. It’s everything you need to get started on your home fitness journey.[$150 (was $190); amazon.com]
This set only goes up to 25 pounds per dumbbell, but sometimes that’s all you need—especially if you’re doing HIIT workouts or high-rep conditioning sets that call for lighter weights. We love the lightning-quick adjustability of Keppi’s dial system, as well as the contoured handles that provide a comfortable grip during grueling training sessions. The silicon steel plates are water-resistant and will last you for years. Overall, this is a sleek, practical set of adjustable dumbbells.[$200 (was $300); amazon.com]
From the anti-slip rubber handles to the fast-adjustment dial wheel and the sleek weight plates, this Ativafit adjustable dumbbell set has premium written all over it. Amazon shopper reviews are positive and, as a testament to their feedback, the set recently won an industry design award. The set is available in pairs of 44 or 66 pounds, adjusting in 5-pound increments, so it’s suitable for lifters of any skill level. Molded storage trays keep the weights organized to ensure your home gym remains uncluttered but Ativafit also offers a nice-looking stand to up the display.[From $299; amazon.com]