Back in the day, the concept of owning a full set of dumbbells was realistic only for the most dedicated of muscleheads. The cost was prohibitive, as was the fact that you had to dedicate a substantial portion of your garage or basement to a couple of rugged racks stacked with everything from 10s to 75s.

But in the past 10 years or so, the whole game has changed thanks to an ever-growing lineup of adjustable dumbbells. Employing a variety of clever mechanisms, these products enable you to quickly transform, say, 10-pound dumbbells you're using for weighted arm circles into 30-pounders for Zottman curls.

Not only do these dumbbells cost less than a complete set, they take up a heck of a lot less space, making it realistic for just about anyone to snag a pair and open up a whole world of great strength training options. From durable staples from some of the top fitness brands to hefty heavyweights for serious training, connected workout accessories and more, here are some of our favorite adjustable dumbbells on the market today.

Who Are Adjustable Dumbbells For?

While strength training is an inclusive discipline, the equipment requirements make it difficult for at-home enthusiasts to partake in the modalities. After all, weight plates and other structures can begin to consume a space quickly. The same can be said for standard dumbbells. Even if you want a lightweight set from 5-25 pounds, that’s (at least) five pieces of fitness gear that can’t be stacked or neatly stored.

Adjustable dumbbells are for those home gym athletes that want to reap the benefits of strength training without giving up a ton of space. You’re able to pack multiple weight ranges into just two dumbbell handles, allowing for more flexibility in your setup as you chase down PRs. Adjustable dumbbells also range in weights available, allowing even the strongest athletes to train their muscles without expensing an entire wall to house multiple loads.

How Do Adjustable Dumbbells Work?

Unlike fixed-weight dumbbells where the weight is constant on both ends of the handle, adjustable dumbbells feature varying plates that can be either added or subtracted from the frame. Locking mechanisms can vary by brand, anything from lock-and-pin to turnstyle devices, but typically, these locks are only operational when the dumbbell is sitting in its base. This helps eliminate the chances of a rogue plate coming loose midway through your workout.

What to Look for in Adjustable Dumbbells

Weight

Adjustable dumbbell sets can range in weight from 2.5 pounds all the way up to 80 pounds and more. Naturally, though, not every athlete will need these gargantuan numbers, so pay close attention to the available weight range when making your decision. If you’re able to lift those heavier weights, or at least aspire to, then opt for an adjustable dumbbell set that caters to your totals. Otherwise, you may be paying for equipment you’ll likely never use.

Material

When it comes to adjustable dumbbells, you’ll likely see a combination of metal and plastic within each silhouette. The adjustable plates will be made of either material, which should be noted if you plan to really toss around your weights. Metal adjustable dumbbells will be more durable than plastic options and can withstand the occasional drop or clang at the top of a rep better than others. It’s still not advisable to drop any adjustable dumbbell since there are more moving parts that can be compromised on impact.

It’s also important to look at the knurling and handle of your adjustable dumbbells. While some replicate a traditional dumbbell with diamond-plated knurling for better grip, some adjustable dumbbells showcase a rubberized and textured grip to provide similar security. While we’re partial to the knurling style, either option can provide excellent stability when gripped properly.

Size

Yes, adjustable dumbbells can save a lot of space when compared to standard dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean size shouldn’t be considered when choosing a set for your home gym. You don’t want to add a cumbersome piece of equipment, regardless of the space-saving perks. Additionally, take note of how long the dumbbells are and how the weights are balanced throughout the range. Longer dumbbells can feel less stable when pressing, which can compromise your form and open the door for potential injury. The more compact a dumbbell is, the better.

How We Tested

collage of adjustable dumbbells
Ben Emminger

Over the course of a few weeks, we turned a corner of our basement into a makeshift dumbbell area, testing a number of these adjustable fitness accessories in a variety of movements and modalities. We pressed, rowed, raised and flew our way through the gambit of available weights, highlighting how durable and secure each dumbbell felt in the hand, as well as how easy it was to navigate the available weight range. Bonus points were given for aesthetically-pleasing sets, as well as how diverse the listed weight ranges were.

Editor’s note: the prices shown are for paired dumbbell sets, unless otherwise noted.

Smrtft Nüobell

Smrtft
BEST OVERALL ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELL

Smrtft Nüobell

saksfifthavenue.com
$745.00

  • Heaviest weight range of 5–80 pounds
  • Clean design for an aesthetically-pleasing workout experience

  • Some athletes might not need the full 80-pound range
  • Center knurling could be too aggressive for some
  • Weight Range: 5–80 lbs.
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Turnstyle Handle
  • Base Included: Yes

    If you typically pull heavy weights or just want a set of dumbbells that look damn good, the Nüobells from Smrtft is our preferred pick. We tested the massive 80-pound set, but the brand also offers sets ranging from 5–50 pounds. The machined steel plates are well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing, but despite the steel profile, the locking mechanism is plastic, so we would recommend not dumping these fitness beauties from an extended height.

    In addition to the looks and sheer weight, the Nüobell is also easily adjustable; just twist the center knurling to your preferred weight, lift from the stand and bang out your next set of muscle-building presses.

    Bowflex SelectTech 552

    Courtesy
    BEST UPGRADE ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELL

    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

    bowflex.com
    $429.00

    • Comfortable handle and easy-to-use adjustment dials
    • One-year JRNY membership included

    • Requires both dials to be twisted for secure weight changes
    • Weights can wobble slightly when in-use

    • Weight Range: 5–52.5 lbs.
    • Adjustment Mechanism: Weight Selection Dials
    • Base Included: Yes

      One of the original adjustable dumbbells still has plenty of merit in today’s landscape. The Bowflex SelectTech 552s offers an impressive 15 available weights ranging from 5–52.5 pounds. Our tester appreciated how the micro-adjustments within the first 25 pounds allowed for targeting lighter totals, which made these perfect for shoulder exercises or light repetitions.

      While the included plastic stand effectively holds each dumbbell, we’d also recommend the Bowflex Dumbbell Stand, which raises the base for more convenient storage, along with a tablet holder for following along to your favorite training workouts. And if live and on-demand classes are your preferred way to train, the SelectTech 552s come with a complimentary one-year membership to Bowflex’s JRNY digital fitness platform.

      Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

      Courtesy
      BEST BUDGET ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS

      Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

      Yes4All amazon.com
      $64.00

      • Durable cast-iron plate design
      • Additional connector available for barbell training

      • Plates can be prone to inaccuracies
      • Collars need to be securely tightened for optimal safety
      • Weight Range: Up to 25 lbs.
      • Adjustment Mechanism: Locking Collar
      • Base Included: No

        Considering these weights pack a number dumbbells into a single unit, thanks to the inclusion of four 3-pound plates and four 7.5-pound plates, Yes4All's dumbbells present quite a value proposition. There are even options that let you connect a couple of dumbbells to turn them into a barbell for added training opportunities.

        The big downside? They aren't nearly as quick to adjust as the competition: you must unscrew the collars at the end of each bar, then remove or add plates to decrease or increase the weight. Additionally, the cast iron plates are extremely durable, but can be rough on your floors if thrown around. Consider adding a pad or carpet to your workout area — or be sure to mind your feet at the end of your set.

        MX Select MX85 Rapid Change Adjustable Dumbbells

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        BEST ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS FOR GOING HEAVY

        MX Select MX85 Rapid Change Adjustable Dumbbells

        mxfitnesssupply.com
        $899.00
        $599.00 (33% off)

        • Locking mechanism features metal gears for added durability
        • Base includes helpful key to better determine weight totals

        • Handle, while comfortable, does not feature a knurling patch
        • Larger weight profile may compromise range of motion, particularly when pressing
        • Weight Range: 12.5–85 lbs.
        • Adjustment Mechanism: Plastic Push-Button Knobs
        • Base Included: Yes

          When you’re moving some serious weight, you want to ensure your tools are ready for the job at hand. Boasting metal adjustment gears that toggle via plastic push-button knobs, the MX85s from MX Select are plenty strong enough for powering through those max effort lifts. We also appreciated the easy-to-read legend across the accompanying base, which allowed us to easily find the proper settings across the expansive weight range.

          While we’re more inclined to choose an adjustable dumbbell with a knurled handle, the antimicrobial contoured handle was still comfortable enough for worthwhile training, and could be a solid option for those new to strength workouts. Be mindful, however, that the MX85s feature a taller profile in order to achieve that gargantuan weight. These larger plates could interfere with your range of motion, particularly during presses. If you’re a stickler for this workout aspect, you may want to consider other options.

          NordicTrack iSelect Voice-Controlled Adjustable Dumbbells

          Courtesy
          BEST CONNECTED ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS

          NordicTrack iSelect Voice-Controlled Dumbbells

          nordictrack.com
          $599.00

          • Alexa-enabled for hands-free weight changes
          • 20 available dumbbell weights from 5–50 pounds

          • Tablet holder is built into the base, which can limit viewing angle
          • Does not include rep-counting or form correction capabilities
          • Weight Range: 5–50 lbs.
          • Adjustment Mechanism: Digital Rapid-Adjust Knob, Alexa Voice Activation
          • Base Included: Yes

            “Alexa, let’s get training.” That’s right, with a simple voice command, you can use Amazon's cloud-based voice service to change up your workout routines. Simply connect the base to a power outlet, be within Wifi range and have your Alexa-enabled device close by to toggle through the 20 available dumbbell weights of the iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells. If you’d rather not have Alexa taking on your weight range, a convenient toggle knob in the center of the base allows for easy changes, too.

            iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells also come with a 30-day membership to NordicTrack’s iFit digital fitness library, where you can follow along to live and on-demand workouts. But if you plan on viewing these sessions on your smartphone or tablet, make sure to place the dumbbell base on an elevated, sturdy surface. Our tester found that the tablet holder built into the base can be hard to view if placed on the floor of your training space.

            PowerBlock EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbell Set

            Amazon
            MOST VERSATILE ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS

            PowerBlock EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbells

            amazon.com
            $529.00
            $394.69 (25% off)

            • Additional expansion plates can be purchased for heavier use
            • Contoured rubber grip for improved ergonomics

            • Boxy design can be cumbersome for some athletes
            • Pin locking mechanism and adder weights take longer to adjust
            • Weight Range: 5–50 lbs. (expansion packs available up to 90 lbs.)
            • Adjustment Mechanism: Magnetic Polypropylene Pin
            • Base Included: No

              If you seek dumbbells that can grow with you, you're looking at 'em. The EXPs from PowerBlock pack 16 dumbbells into each unit. Adder weights — weighing 2.5 pounds each — allow for micro-adjustment for those fine-tuned sessions as well. You can even purchase add-on stages (like this 20-pound addition) that let you boost the total weight per unit to 7o or even 90 pounds for more muscle-building potential. Plus, our tester really enjoyed the secure, stable setup that’s baked into the block design, allowing for confident pressing through any training session.

              One caveat about the EXPs, however: the boxy design and pin-based adjustment system make this product noticeably less user-friendly than many others. Our tester also noticed that changing the adder weights is best done before a workout, as there are a handful of extra steps that don’t lend themselves to on-the-fly adjustments.

              Ativafit 66 lbs. Adjustable Dumbbells

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              BEST ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS FOR BEGINNERS

              Ativafit 66 lbs. Adjustable Dumbbells

              ativafit.com
              $399.99

              • Weight range is more accommodating for novice athletes
              • Safety lock button ensures weights won’t jostle mid-set

              • Unable to achieve typical rounded weight totals
              • Honeycomb rubber handle can begin to slip during more grueling regimens
              • Weight Range: 11–66 lbs.
              • Adjustment Mechanism: Weight Selection Dials
              • Base Included: Yes

                It doesn’t make sense to purchase training equipment you’ll likely never utilize, and for athletes just getting started with dumbbell training, that means finding a set that isn’t too massive. We love the 11–66 pounds featured across Ativafit’s new 66 lbs. Adjustable Dumbbell set, as the 5-pound increments allow you to really get a solid foundation built while still delivering some heavy resistance for exercises like rows.

                We also found the adjustment mechanism to be simple and utilitarian, highlighted by a convenient safety lock that helped keep all the plates firmly in place, regardless of the chosen weight. These dumbbells don’t feature a knurling patch, however, instead opting for a honeycomb rubber grip that can begin to slip and slide once our workouts got a little sweatier. For newcomers, though, this rubber patch may be comfortable enough to learn the ropes.

                Titan Fitness 15-Inch Olympic Dumbbell Handle

                Courtesy
                BEST LOADABLE DUMBBELL

                Titan Fitness 15-Inch Olympic Dumbbell Handle

                titan.fitness
                $90.97

                • Medium knurling for improved grip
                • Chrome finish adds some pop to your home gym

                • Requires additional Olympic plates and collars
                • 3.5-inch loadable sleeve may not accommodate thicker plates
                • Weight Range: Up to 400 lbs.
                • Adjustment Mechanism: Standard Barbell Sleeve (Collars Required)
                • Base Included: No

                  Adjustable dumbbells aren’t just for those novice at-home lifters. They can be a great addition to any home gym setup, and if you already have a solid stash of Olympic weight plates, the 15-inch Olympic Dumbbell Handles from Titan Fitness are a must-own. The 3.5-inch loadable sleeves allow for a plethora of weight options, with a maximum capacity of 400 pounds. Knurled handles help with grip, and a chrome finish is sure to glisten as you sweat toward a new PR.

                  Our tester found the medium knurling exceptional at creating that secure in-hand feel, and the sleeves allowed for easy weight changes on the fly. One thing to note, however, is that these Olympic Dumbbell Handles are best paired with slimmer change plates. Our tester discovered that thicker plates began to crowd the sleeves, leaving little room at the end to add a security collar.

                  Nice C Adjustable Dumbbells

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                  BEST ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS FOR CARDIO

                  Nice C Adjustable Dumbbells

                  amazon.com
                  $52.99

                  • Five available weights for a convenient change to cardio training
                  • Non-slip construction for a comfortable grip

                  • Not ideal for more serious weight training
                  • Weight adjustment is not as efficient as other adjustable dumbbells
                  • Weight Range: 2.3–11 lbs.
                  • Adjustment Mechanism: Removable Weight Bars
                  • Base Included: No

                    You don’t need to go heavy for an effective strength training session. For example, carrying a light pair of dumbbells during cardiovascular training can be a nice way to mix up your routine. These adjustable dumbbells from Nice C can be loaded with 16 small and 2 large weight bars for a total of five potential weights ranging from 2.3–11 pounds. While those aren’t record-breaking densities, that can be enough to put a little more resistance in your next run or walk.

                    The Nice C Adjustable Dumbbells are crafted from slip-resistant Neoprene, allowing for a comfortable feel during training. And at less than 10 inches long, these fitness accessories can sit neatly in a corner, under a desk or anywhere you plan to store them.

                    RitFit Cast-Iron Adjustable Dumbbells with Connector

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                    BEST ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELL/BARBELL COMBO

                    RitFit Cast-Iron Adjustable Dumbbells with Connector

                    ritfitsports.com
                    $289.99
                    $249.99 (14% off)

                    • Convenient carrying case stores easily, allowing for on-the-go training as well
                    • Locking collars screw on easily for added security

                    • Does not substitute an Olympic barbell, making this more for studio-style workouts
                    • Poundage is in per set, so in a 100-pound package, expect to max out dumbbells at 35 plate pounds
                    • Weight Range: 40–100 lbs.
                    • Adjustment Mechanism: Locking Collar
                    • Base Included: Carrying Case

                      While dumbbell training can be a great discipline for building strength in your stability muscles, there’s still some benefit to implementing some barbell exercises for really pushing your strength to new heights. Rather than purchasing a separate set or kit, the Cast-Iron Adjustable Dumbbells from RitFit come with a convenient connector piece, turning the dumbbells into a singular structure for convenient barbell training.

                      This can be a wonderful set for those interested in studio-style workouts that need lighter, more nimble barbells to accentuate their sessions, but we wouldn’t recommend this as a full-stop replacement for traditional Olympic bars. The kit only reaches a maximum of 100 pounds, which may be too light for those more invested in barbell training.