5 Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Serious Lifters: Heavy Dumbbells Only
Top 5 Best Adjustable Dumbbell Sets

5 Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Home Gyms: PowerBlock vs Ironmaster vs Bowflex & More

Rank

Dumbbell Set

Rating

Price

#1

PowerBlock Elite 90 - 5-90 lbs

PowerBlock Elite 90 Dumbbells

#2

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells

#3

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells

#4

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

Yes4All 200-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell

#5

Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Handle with Weights and Collars

Cap Olympic Dumbbell Handle

Are you constantly missing out on gym sessions due to inflexible hours? Do you want to begin performing a 2-a-day workout program but don’t feel like driving to the gym twice in one day? Want to begin your fitness journey in the comfort of your own home?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then having a set of the best adjustable dumbbells is the solution.

In this article, I'll teach you all about adjustable dumbbells. Then, I'll lay out my top 5 picks for the best adjustable dumbbells, including the pros and cons of each system.

I've chosen to review only heavy adjustable dumbbell systems. My criteria is that each dumbbell set must be able to adjust to at least 90 pounds per dumbbell.

This can include dumbbell sets that come with a base model that is less than 90 lbs per dumbbell, but which have add-ons that for increase the max capacity.

Now, let's get started! You can start reading the full article, or jump to a specific part of it by using the table of contents below:

Advantages of Using Adjustable Dumbbells

While you may be accustomed to using that long line of dumbbells at your local gym, adjustable dumbbells are far more convenient. Adjustable dumbbells only require you to buy two pieces of equipment, which will save you the hassle of transporting dozens of traditional dumbbells. What’s more, you only need a small corner space to store adjustable dumbbells.

Compared to a traditional dumbbell set, a pair of adjustable dumbbells is the more cost-effective option and they are also a great long-term investment as you move through different fitness goals and training.

Finally, if you’re just starting out with your weight loss or muscle building goals and you prefer the privacy of your home gym, adjustable dumbbells make it possible to achieve your goals at home.

Are All Adjustable Dumbbells the Same?

Adjustable dumbbells, unlike most commercial gym dumbbells, are quite different from one another.

First, the size and shape of adjustable dumbbells can vary drastically.

Some may be top heavy while other brands may balance the weight throughout. Some adjustable dumbbells may have a circular shape while others have a block or boxy shape. You may find that you prefer one size and shape over another so it’s important to take this into consideration.

Next, the method in which you change the amount of weight you’re using can be very different depending on the adjustable dumbbell. Some dumbbells have a twist-action change while others have movable pins.

Finally, not all adjustable dumbbells are built the same. If you’re someone who tends to get rough with their gym equipment, you’ll want to avoid certain brands of adjustable dumbbells because of their durability.

With all of these differences to consider, let’s jump into the top 5 adjustable dumbbells for home gyms.

The 5 Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Home Gyms

#1 PowerBlock Dumbbells

PowerBlock is one of the veteran brands in the fitness industry for adjustable dumbbells.

PowerBlock Dumbbells

I want to focus on two sets of PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells: the Elite 90 and the U-90 Stage 4 sets.

PowerBlock Elite 90 Pros

If you’re on a budget and you still want to ensure that you’re getting a top-quality product, the Elite 90 adjustable dumbbells by PowerBlock are your best bet.

PowerBlock Elite 90 Adjustable Dumbbell Set - 5-90 lbs

PowerBlock Elite 90 Dumbbell Set: This is the most popular adjustable dumbbell set made by PowerBlock.

Easy and quick to adjust, a pair of Elite 90 adjustable dumbbells are maxed-out at 90 pounds, which means that they are going to be ideal for the greatest number of weight lifters regardless of physique goals. In terms of quality, the Elite 90 set was built to take some punishment. Still, I wouldn’t recommend throwing them around as you would with traditional dumbbells.

PowerBlock Elite 90 Cons

The biggest complaint that you’ll hear about the Elite 90 adjustable dumbbells is that due to their box-like shape they can be awkward to handle. This, of course, can be remedied with time and practice.

Something else to take into consideration is that none of the accessories are included with the Elite 90 set.

PowerBlock U-90 Stage 4 Pros

The U-90 Stage 4 adjustable dumbbells are for the lifter looking to make a long-term investment and go beyond a 90-pound limit. The U-90 Stage 4 adjustable dumbbells can be adjusted up to 125 pounds, which may make them ideal for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and anyone who needs to surpass 100 pounds per dumbbell.

PowerBlock U90 Stage 4 Adjustable Dumbbell Set - 5-125 lbs

PowerBlock U90 Stage 4

PowerBlock U-90 Stage 4 Cons

Aside from the awkward handles, the U-90 Stage 4 adjustable dumbbells are more expensive than the Elite 90 set but if you have the budget, they make an excellent fitness investment. Average Joe lifters may find the Elite 90 set to be better for them, depending on fitness goals and price tag.

#2 Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell Set

ironmaster dumbbell system

Ironmaster Dumbbell Set Pros

With the ability to max out the weight at 165 pounds per dumbbell and the durability of commercial grade gym equipment, the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells are a formidable choice.

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells - 75 lb Set

This is the base 75-pound dumbbell set

Ironmaster Dumbbells 120-lb add-on kit

This is the 120-pound add-on kit

Ironmaster Dumbbells 165-lb add-on kit

This is the 165-pound add-on kit

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells - 75 lb Set - 120 lb Set - 165 lb Set

This image shows visually how the different add-on kits, when combined with the base set, can be used to expand the maximum weight capacity to 120 lbs. or even a full 165 lbs.!

I really like this adjustable dumbbell pair because of the potential that comes with purchasing them. They are a vital tool for any fitness goal and they are built so tough that I believe they are going to last a long time once you make the buy.

I’m also a fan of the fact that the accessories come with the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells. Sure, you can buy additional accessories but the essentials and a few bonus items such as the resting stand, user guide, and suggested exercise program come standard. With other adjustable dumbbells, it’s rare to have the stand be included.

Ironmaster Dumbbell Set Cons

Things can get tricky when adjusting the weight of the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells. When you are increasing or decreasing the weight by full numbers such as 5, 10, and 15 pounds, you won’t have an issue.

As some other users have reported, if you try adjusting the weight by the 2.5 pound increments, you may have trouble with locking the weight in place. Personally, I never had this issue. I can only assume that the reported issue was due to not being familiar with the equipment or a reflection of the speed at which the weights were moved.

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells aren’t the fastest locking dumbbells either. They are much quicker than traditional spin-lock adjustable dumbbells. But they can’t compare to the speed of the PowerBlock or BowFlex brands.

At the same time, though, they are more durable than both the PowerBlock and BowFlex dumbbells – you trade adjustment speed for durability.

#3 Bowflex SelectTech 1090

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbell Set with Stand

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Pros

With a weight limit of 90 pounds that you can rapidly spin and set, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells are a great choice for anyone looking to build a respectable home gym. The 1090 dumbbells are reasonably priced for the quality and while not as tough as the Ironmaster brand, they’re more durable than most other adjustable dumbbells.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbell Set without Stand

This is what you'll get if you buy just the dumbbells.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbell Stand

You can buy the Bowflex dumbbell stand separately, or included with the dumbbells.

While I don’t own the 1090s, I did have the opportunity to train with them before. I found that the handle of the 1090 dumbbells helped me train up my grip strength considerably more than traditional dumbbells, because it’s thicker.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Cons

If you have never used adjustable dumbbells before, you might find the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells as awkward as the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells. During close-to-the-body exercises like twisting bicep curls, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells are tough to move through the complete range of motion. This may knock a few exercises off your list.

Most importantly, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells have a design flaw that is readily apparent as you begin to use them. The dumbbells are missing the groove that you’ll find on the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. This divot lets the weight plates firmly lock into place but since the 1090 dumbbells are missing this, they are quick to succumb to wear and tear, especially when using the heaviest plates.

#4 Yes4All 200-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set (100 Lbs per Dumbbell)

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells Pros

When you want the feeling of holding a traditional dumbbell and the option to expand your weight limit to 100 pounds per dumbbell, the 200-pound set of Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells may be what you need.

It's the least expensive set of twist-on collar style adjustable dumbbells I could find that adjust up to 100 pounds per dumbbell.

Do not confuse the 200-pound set with the 105-pound version of the Yes4All dumbbells. The 105-pound set only comes with enough weight plates to adjust each dumbbell up to 52.5 pounds per dumbbell. If you're a serious lifters, you're going to want use more than that eventually, on some exercises.

Of course, if you did get the 105-pound set, you could buy more plates later on so that it's effectively the same as the 200-pound set. BUT there's a catch: You can't buy just any standard weight plates. You can only buy plates that fit the 1.15" diameter handle (the standard size is 1 inch). Yes4All sells these, but when you buy them separately from the dumbbell set, they're more expensive than many other 1 inch standard weight plates...

...All of the above just lends itself the 200-pound set being the smartest buy to begin with--even if you don't think you'll need more than 52.5 pounds per dumbbell at first, you will eventually. So you may as well buy it now and save. That is, of course, if you choose Yes4All dumbbells vs the others I mention in this article.

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells Cons

The issue that I have with the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells is  the twisting cap that secures the plates. It is quick to wiggle and become loose. I think this won’t be a problem for the observant lifter but if you tend to get into the zone, you may not realize you’re about to lose some weight plates.

#5 Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Handle + Olympic Weights

Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Handle with Weight Plates and Collars

Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Set Pros

If budget is your main concern when buying adjustable dumbbells, Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Handle with Olympic Weights is a low-cost option that gets the job done.

It gives you that old school feel of traditional dumbbells with the Olympic-style plates. What’s more, you can rest assured that you’re getting a set of dumbbells with a high durability level.

Also, if you already have an Olympic weight set already (i.e. plates with 2-inch diameter hole), then you can just buy 2 handles and use your existing weight plates.

Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Set Cons

My concern is with the collars that come with the Cap Barbell Olympic Dumbbell Handle + Olympic Weights. I don’t think they are the best quality and if you’re moving heavy weights above your body, you may be putting yourself at risk.

The one remedy to this is to purchase secure and higher quality collars. This isn’t ideal but it may be a necessary solution if you can’t afford the higher priced adjustable dumbbells.

Which Adjustable Dumbbell Should You Buy?

1st Place: PowerBlock Elite 90

I believe that the greatest long-term investment is going to be the PowerBlock Elite 90. These adjustable dumbbells offer excellent weight expandability up to an impressive 90 pounds.

PowerBlock Elite 90 Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Possibly the biggest draw of the PowerBlocks is their incredibly fast adjustment. You can go from 5 pounds to 90 pounds in literally just a few seconds.

Outside of having sufficient weight and an easy adjustment mechanism, my biggest concern is safety. And the Elite 90 adjustable dumbbells are incredibly safe and secure. You don’t have to worry about wear and tear, unlike with the BowFlex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells. So you can rest assured that what you’re buying will last a long time.

2nd Place: Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells

My runner-up would be the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells. The brand’s greatest asset is the fact they expand up to 120 lbs with the first add-on kit, and then even higher to a whopping 165 pounds with the second add-on kit.

Ironmaster Quick Lock Dumbbells with 120 lb add-on kit

I love how most accessories come standard with these dumbbells and their durability is elite quality. They are super safe, secure, and effective. I own the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells and love them.

The only reason I gave them the #2 spot was because you can adjust the PowerBlocks noticeably faster. I know that a lot of people in the market for adjustable dumbbells value adjustment speed very highly. However, if you're okay with just fast adjustment (as opposed than very fast), and prefer a more robust and natural-feeling dumbbell, then the Ironmasters are for you.

About the Author Alex

Hey! My name is Alex, and I'm the owner and author of King of the Gym. I started this website back in late 2009 during college, and it has been my pet project ever since. My goal is to help you learn proper weight training and nutrition principles so that you can get strong and build the physique of your dreams!

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