You might think that the best adjustable dumbbells aren't a viable option for workouts now that restrictions on gyms are pretty much fully lifted, but that’s not the case at all. Showing fitness fans the world over just how easy it is to work out at home, the lockdown has significantly impacted how people keep fit.
Adjustable dumbbells are the best dumbbells for home use as you can achieve almost the same results with them as in a gym with limited equipment. You don’t need a huge home gym set up that will cost you the earth. All you need is to buy a few key pieces of home gym equipment and know what to do with them, and you can pretty much replace the pro-level equipment found at your local fitness studio.
If you’re unfamiliar with how adjustable dumbbells work or compare to regular dumbbells, here is the lowdown. This type of dumbbell can be adjusted in weight as needed so that - when you pick them up out of their base - they can be heavier or lighter, thanks to a clever mechanism that switches between weight plates. The max weight, minimum weight, and weight increments depend on the particular set you buy, as does the adjustment mechanism.
The obvious primary benefit here is that you can save on some floor space (and money) over buying a wide-ranging set of dumbbells individually. So, if you’re looking to get those muscles rippling again before summer ends and it’s back to covering your bod with a duffle coat, then let me take you through the best adjustable dumbbells money can buy.
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The best adjustable dumbbell to buy now, in order of preference
Switching weight on these beefy monsters by Bowflex is as easy as spinning a dial. This works exceptionally well for mid-workout weight changes when you need to act fast and be efficient. It’s also a lot less frustrating than having to unscrew a metal spin collar to change the plates when you’re in the zone.
The included plastic stand enables users to change the weights between sets in a smooth fashion. However, with no colour coordination, you do have to pay careful attention to certain configurations. They are definitely not the cheapest out there, but they are certainly the most reliable and have become some of the most popular adjustable dumbbells thanks to their high-quality design and ease of use.
The SelectTech 552 are our favourite adjustable dumbbells out there simply because they offer weightlifters everything they need, especially those into fast-paced HIIT or intense 'drop set' workouts.
Need something heavier but equally as quality as this one? Have a look at our Bowflex SelectTech 1090i Adjustable Dumbbell review – after all, this home weight is the Rolls Royce of dumbbells.
The DumbbellConnect by JaxJox is probably one of the most innovative sets of adjustable weights we’ve laid our guns on. They're well made, clever, look great and - in most instances - work effortlessly. With Bluetooth connectivity, each unit can be adjusted digitally via the tap of a button to offer 16 different weights ranging from 8lbs up to 50Ibs (3.6kg - 22.7kg)
While not a major concern, the care required when docking the dumbbells to switch between weights could become irritating for those that prefer fast-paced, HIIT-style wright sessions. That said, they work well, look the part and come with an app that syncs up with the dumbbells to track your reps alongside on-demand classes led by fitness professionals. Adjustable dumbbells don’t get any smarter than this!
Not all adjustable dumbbells have a clever weight-changing mechanism. If you’re looking for a more budget adjustable weight, you could opt for a dumbbell with a quick-fix collar design like the Domyos Weight Training Dumbbell Kit by decathlon.
We’re not sure why it’s called a “kit” when there is only one dumbbell supplied per purchase, but still, they are cheap enough to warrant buying two, priced at just £25 per dumbbell. Naturally, the quality doesn’t come close to what you’d find with some of the others on this list, but with a 2kg solid bar, four 1kg plates and two 2kg plates, who cares for that price.
Weight range is obviously lacking here but still an excellent choice for beginners or those looking to add low weight to their cardio endeavours.
The BLK BOX Adjustable Dumbbell boasts one of the most impressive weight-changing mechanisms we’ve ever used on an adjustable dumbbell, purely because it’s just so darn easy to use. All you have to do is twist the handle forwards or backwards to cycle through the increments and select your weight. It’s very satisfying to use and great for timed workouts where you need to change weights quickly.
Featuring steel weight plates and a chrome-plated knurled handle, this adjustable dumbbell is very well made but, at the same time - dispute its hefty price tag - doesn’t quite have the polished finish as other dumbbells we’ve used, such as the JaxJox DumbbellConnect.
Touting an unconventional yet compact design, these rather odd-looking dumbbells from Power Block won’t be to the tastes of everyone, but at least they’re something different to have in your home gym.
Replacing eight pairs of traditional weights into one contraption that allows you to change the weight in seconds with a selector pin (like a weight stack machine at the gym) these dumbbells are a little limited in terms of weight spread (going up to 10 kg per dumbbell) but they’re well built and take up less space than most on this list. And at just £110 per dumbbell, they’re definitely worth considering.
How to choose the best adjustable dumbbell for you
So what should you be looking out for when buying your ideal pair of adjustable dumbbells? The first and most obvious is the weight range.
If you’re thinking about using these adjustable home weights more for aerobic, fat-burning exercises alongside a cardio workout, for example, then look for a pair with a lower weight range as you’ll be using these in high-repetition exercises.
If you’re more about bulking and adding muscle, you’re going to want a pair of loadable dumbbells with a higher range as you’ll be performing fewer reps buts at a heavier weight.
Then, let’s talk about dumbbell type. Some adjustable weights let you change the weight using additional plates that can be fixed to the bar as needed, whereas others have an adjustable plate system built in that uses a dial to more easily alter the required weight before you curl or lift. The second option is obviously more efficient (you won’t have to stop mid-workout to screw and unscrew plates off and on) but they do cost more.
Also, consider the material of the adjustable dumbbells you’re buying. If you’re going to be using them on a wood or tiled floor, for instance, you might want to opt for weights with a rubber coating that will protect surfaces from damage.