Best Adjustable Dumbbells Comparison and Reviews: Top Choices for 2015Multiple studies have been conducted that show how beneficial training with weights can be as you age. By training for strength increases you are able to improve many aspects of your life such as bone health, heart health and body composition. The problem that many people have after learning of such benefits is how to actually strength train. There are a few options, joining a commercial gym being the obvious choice but that doesn't work for anyone else. After ruling that out, we are left with the problem of how to train at home? The most affordable option (and space saving!) is to purchase an adjustable bench such as the Cap Barbell Adjustable Deluxe Utility Bench and then a set of adjustable dumbbells as your weight resistance source. Adjustable dumbbells allow for easy selection of varying weights to allow you the correct weight for each exercise. Another added benefit of these special dumbbells is that there is always room to make progress. If you are trying to get in shape you must follow the overload principle (either add weight or reps every workout). You can get a quality workout in the comfort of your home with dumbbells and a weight bench in just minutes every day!
Four Reasons You Buy Adjustable Dumbbells?
- More economical: Many people will purchase a gym membership that hits your bank account on a monthly basis. While this is a a smaller initial investment, over time it adds up to much more than a home gym. Purchasing regular dumbbells will run into the thousands of dollars when you get done buying enough weights for each exercise that you will be doing. The best option is clearly a set of selectorized dumbbells that allow you to easily add and subtract weights.
- Custom Weight Selections: As previously mentioned, adjustable dumbbells give you the ease of changing the weight of your dumbbells for each exercise, you simply don't need multiple sets of dumbbells to get through one workout correctly.
- Train When You Want: The addition of a home gym allows you to train on your schedule, not by the hours of a commercial gym. This is a great benefit and allows many people to stick to a routine when life would normally get in the way.
- Unlimited Exercise Options: A set of dumbbells combined with a weight bench can give you unlimited options for exercise routines when compared to treadmills, stairclimbers, rowers and all in one home gyms. Just do a search online and you will find multiple well thought out routines with only dumbbells. Here is a favorite of ours http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/ultimate-6-week-home-workout
The Big "Three" Styles of Dumbbells
There are three major styles on the market when it comes to adjustable weight dumbbells: dumbbell handles, dial, and selector pins. Each option accomplishes the same task, it is just a personal preference as to which type you like. We will review each style more in depth.
- Adjustable dumbbell Handles- These dumbbells have probably been around the longest, they feature a spin locking collar and then multiple plates that can be added to the dumbbell handle to come up with a variety of weight combinations. You can find dumbbell handles that feature either standard or olympic weights with some form of locking collar. An example of these types of dumbbells is the One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells Cast Iron Total 105 Lbs (2 X 52.5 Lbs) seen below
- Dial Based Adjustable Dumbbells- The dial based dumbbells are more commonly thought of as the Bowflex dumbbell system. This style of dumbbell features a rotating dial that quickly selects the weight to be used on each dumbbell. The dial based dumbbell allows weight changes to happen in seconds.
- Selectorized Adjustable Dumbbells- This style of dumbbell was revolutionary to the advent of "adjustable dumbbells" and at home training. This dumbbell has a unique stacking feature that allows all of the weight to essentially rest in the same block footprint. Weights are adjusted by simply removing the selector pin to another setting. These types of dumbbells are what you will find in the Powerblock system.
Adjustable Dumbbell Buyer's Guide: Things to Consider
This guide will give you a few tips before buying a set of adjustable dumbbells and walk you through some important decisions that you will need to make prior to your purchase.
- Price- What is your budget? This is probably the most important factor as it will point you in the right direction toward style and rule some dumbbells out immediately. The biggest rule that I think you should adhere to is the idea of "Buy nice, not twice." This means that you should not try to cut corners on cost only to buy the perfect set of dumbbells later on after you realize that you don't like your initial purchase. Learn from my experiences as I did just this.
- Available Weight- How much weight do you need for your exercises? Weights can vary GREATLY between dumbbell styles and models. What is the max amount that you can flat dumbbell press? For most people this will be the gauge of weight needed as it will be your strongest exercise. You will most definitely pay more for dumbbells that offer the heaviest of options.
- Increments- Consider the jumps you would need to make in between dumbbell weight to ensure continuous progress. For many people the ideal jump might be 2.5lbs, for others the standard jump of 5lbs is good. It will depend on your strength levels and the exercise that you are performing. A general rule of thumb would be that if your max dumbbell bench is less than 30lbs you are far better using 2.5lb increments to make slow and steady progress. A bigger jump will be too high of a percentage based off your max.
- Ease of Use- This is another premium option, you will pay more for ease of adjustability as it is basically what "makes the dumbbell".
My Story: Adjustable Handles vs Selectorized Dumbbells
I alluded to the fact that many of you could learn from my experiences when purchasing dumbbells for your home gym, here is my story to help you. I started my home gym with a power rack, flat bench, barbells and TONS of weight. For accessory work I knew that I wanted to include dumbbell exercises and would need some sort of option for this. Buying individual dumbbell sets was ruled out as it is both expensive and far too consuming of my limited basement space. I thought that because I already owned a lot of olympic plates in weight (700lbs+) the easiest most cost effective option was Olympic dumbbell handles. Here is EXACTLY what I bought.
So for basically $50.00 more dollars I thought that I had solved my home gym dumbbell issue. WRONG! Here is what I discovered (disclaimer: These could be perfect for you, I have no complaints on construction etc....this is just my experience)
- The collars are a pain to get tight. I used a small pipe as leverage to really torque the collars down to the point that I felt safe using them. Regardless of what I did, the question of whether or not my teeth would be rearranged by a plate falling off was something I couldn't escape. I bought new collars to solve this and my "price" on my dumbbell solution just increased by 19.99...
- I underestimated the number of small plates that I would need to buy to make the right adjustments for each exercise. I only had two 10's, two 5's, two 2.5's and two 25's....You need at least DOUBLE that if you want to be able to go above 50lbs on exercises. Looks like I need to buy more plates
- I realize that I hate using these things. When my girlfriend trains with me I STILL don't have enough plates for her to do barbell exercises while I use the dumbbells. This is a problem as I am not buying anymore small plates, I refuse to. What's worse, any exercise that requires you to warm up with lighter weights (AKA ALL OF THEM) means you are constantly taking off weird increments of plates and changing. In short....THIS SUCKS
- We completely stop using dumbbells altogether without really voicing our reasoning. Neither of us wants to admit that this was just a poor purchase. Months go by and then I finally say "we need to do more dumbbell work". Girlfriend agrees. Days later we find a set of powerblock dumbbells (all the way up to 90lbs!) for 300.00 cash. I purchase them and we live happily ever after.
Lets Breakdown the Math of my Adjustable Dumbbell Buying Experience
Dumbbell Handles = 49.00
New collars= 19.99
More weight= 110.00 (added both orders together)
Powerblock set 300.00
Grand Total 478.99 ( I didn't even both to include the shipping)
If I had simply waited and saved a bit more I would've saved close to 200.00 by getting the adjustable dumbbell set.
Top Adjustable Dumbbell Suggestions For 2015
There are numerous copycats out there when it comes to adjustable dumbbells, since we are dealing with a potentially dangerous activity I prefer to only purchase from reputable sources. It would really make me unhappy to see an injury that could have been prevented if I wasn't trying to save a few bucks. This buyer's guide will give you the absolute best and highest recommended options that you can find and weed out the competitors.
Bowflex has long been a staple of home gym training and products, you know you are getting a quality product when you deal with bowflex. More importantly, this is a well known brand that people recognize, should you want to sell you will really have no problem getting rid of these. Here are the specs.
- Price: 299.00
- Weight Range: 5-52.5lbs
- Increment: 2.5 up to 25lbs
I really like that these offer the 2.5lb increments up until 25lbs, this is usually where you no longer need the small increments anyway so it is truly helpful.
It should be noted that the max weight only goes up to 52.5lbs EACH dumbbell, while this isn't a con if you need more weight than you will be looking at a more expensive set (ex. Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell)
I own the Powerblock elite dumbbells and absolutely love them. Again, this is a well known dumbbell set and should you want to sell you will have no problem getting rid of these quickly. The specs are very similar to the Bowflex Dumbbell Set.
- Price: 299.00
- Weight Range: 5-50lbs
- Increments: 2.5lbs
This adjustable dumbbell set offers 2.5lbs increment changes all the way up to 50lbs. The set itself does only go up to 50lbs when compared to the Bowflex dumbbells.
Who wins? Our TOP ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELL PICK
PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
These dumbbells take the top pick for one reason and one reason alone. While they are slightly less in weight for the same price as the Bowflex SelectTech 552 they have one advantage. The Powerblock Elite Dumbbells offer more adjustability options. The dumbbells offer a 2.5lb increment increase per adjustment. More importantly there are more options to expand the current set that you purchase to involve higher weights. Each set also has the option to expand to either 70, 90, or 130lbs per hand. The Bowflex 522's require you to purchase a different set of dumbbells altogether (remember buy nice, not twice) and for this reason the PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells are the #1 adjustable dumbbell for 2015