The 9 Best Adjustable Dumbbell Sets in 2023

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Strength training should be part of every runner’s exercise regimen.

It offers numerous benefits, helping prevent overuse injuries, improve your running economy, and increase your bone density.

With the right equipment, resistance training is something you can easily do at home.

However, multiple sets of weights can be costly to purchase and take up quite a bit of space, especially as you begin to lift heavier.

Adjustable dumbbell sets are the answer, replacing up to an entire dumbbell rack with just one compact piece of kit!

They have become so popular that there are heaps of brands to choose from, making it tough to decide which are right for you.

That’s why I’ve put together this simple guide to help.

Read on to discover the features to look for in a good set of adjustable dumbbells and the top 9 options on the market right now.

adjustable dumbbell set

What to Look for in Adjustable dumbbells

The first thing you want in adjustable dumbbells is durability, so check the construction.

Look for sets with components primarily made from tough materials like metal or nylon.

Rubber coatings can enhance durability, too, helping prevent rust and also reducing sound.

Other things to think about include:

adjustable dumbells

#1: Type

The sets you’ll encounter in your search will adjust in various ways, some of which are quicker and easier than others.

The most basic type are traditional spinlock weights, which are made up of barbells, a selection of weight plates, and spinlock collars that screw into place to hold the plates in position.

These tend to be the most affordable but take a bit longer than other styles to adjust.

More common are dial-type sets, where you place the dumbbell on a holding rack and rotate a dial to engage or disengage the plates.

This is my favorite option during HIIT workouts, as it’s easy to do and ideal if you need to change weights frequently.

You can also get digital dumbbell sets, or those that allow you to adjust the weight with voice commands!

man setting up adjustable dumbbells

#2: Weight Range

For light resistance training, a range of up to around 20 pounds should be sufficient.

For more hardcore lifting, however, you’ll need a set with a range of up to at least 50 pounds or more.

Check the increments, too. If you’re just getting started with strength training, I recommend adding no more than 2.5 pounds of weight at a time.

Some sets, however, can only be loaded in 5-pound increments – ideal for advanced lifters but too much of a jump for beginners.

Please note that in the specs for each set below, I’ve listed the weight range per dumbbell (not per set).

woman with adjustable dumbbells

#3: Comfort

It’s important that the dumbbells you choose feel comfortable in your hand since some can feel quite different from traditional weights you’ve used at the gym.

In most cases, it’s simply a matter of getting used to the change.

But some adjustable dumbbells have longer than usual bars, which can be quite uncomfortable if you have a small frame and may even limit your range of motion.

The 9 best Adjustable Dumbbells

#1. Best for Lighter Resistance Training – FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells

Weight Range: 3-15 lb, Weight Options: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, Replaces: 5 Dumbbell Sets

FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells
Easy, one-handed weight adjustment3lb increments may be too much for beginners
Durable cast iron plates
Compact design

This set is perfect for anyone looking to train with weights at the lower end of the scale – it’s one of the most affordable in this guide and the dumbbells have a very traditional shape.

I also found it really easy to use – you just pop the dumbbell into the tray provided, line up the plates, twist the non-slip handle to your chosen weight until you hear it click, then continue with your workout.

It’s also good to know this is a very secure design – there are 8 safety locks to ensure that the weight will stay in place while you train.

The tray itself feels sturdy, plus it’s handy for storing the dumbbells once you’ve finished with them and ensures they won’t damage your flooring.

#2. Best Budget Option – Amazon Basics Adjustable Dumbbells Set with Case

Weight Range: 2.7-19 lbs, Weight Options: N/A, Replaces: N/A

Amazon Basics Adjustable  Dumbbells Set with Case
Comes with a carrying caseCase could be more durable
Comes with carrying caseTextured grip is quite rough (I needed gloves)
Painted plates to minimize rust

As their name implies, these traditional spinlock dumbbells are indeed basic, but the quality is great and they provide excellent value for money.

The set includes four 2.5-pound and four 5-pound plates, plus four 0.5-pound threaded collars to attach them to the barbells (which each weigh 2.7 pounds).

Perfect for anyone preferring lighter resistance, the plates are made from durable steel while the barbell features a textured grip, so it feels secure, even with sweaty hands.

Of course, physically unscrewing the collars to change the plates takes a bit longer than with other types of adjustable dumbbells, but these are still a great choice if you’re looking for a simple set at an unbeatable price.

#3. Best Light Resistance for Cardio Workouts – NiceC Adjustable Dumbbells

Weight Range: 2.3-4.5 lb, Weight Options: 2.3, 2.85, 3.4, 3.95, 4.5, Replaces: 5 Dumbbell Sets

NiceC Adjustable Dumbbell
Simple to adjustNo storage for extra weight cylinders
AffordableThreaded ends vulnerable to wear and tear
Foam spacers included to stop weights shifting

If you like to include a little resistance during your cardio workouts – during kickboxing or an indoor cycling session, for example – then these neoprene-coated adjustable dumbbells are ideal!

They have a pretty unique design, where you unscrew the end of the dumbbell and then either add or remove weight bars to set your resistance level.

The process is very simple, although it does take a while to make adjustments to all four ends.

Each dumbbell has an ergonomic, countoured shape that’s comfortable to hold and a non-slip coating that gives you a good grip.

#4. Best Voice Controlled – NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells

Weight Range: 5-50 lb, Weight Options: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, Replaces: 10 Dumbbell Sets

NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells
Works with AlexaPricey
Digital screen shows weight selectionDumbbells cannot be individually adjusted
30-Day iFIT Family Membership includedBulky

If (like me) you’re a fan of all things tech, you’ll love this cool set which uses a motorized weight selector to respond to your voice commands (although there’s a knob for manual adjustment too).

The dumbbells have square plates which might not suit everyone, although – like hex dumbbells – I found the stability useful for exercises like renegade rows.

The set comes with an integrated tablet holder which comes in handy for taking advantage of the free iFit trial and I really liked the storage tray itself, which looked smart and felt sturdy.

My only problem was that I found these pretty bulky to use with my small frame and feel they are better suited to larger users.

#5. Best for Heavy Lifters – NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

Weight Range: 5-80 lb, Weight Options: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, Replaces: 16 Dumbbell Sets

NUOBELL Adjustable Dumbbell
Easy one-handed adjustmentIncrements may be too large for beginners
Very stable during useHigh price tag
High-quality custom cradle included

This is the most expensive dumbbell set I tried but also one of the easiest to adjust – just a simple twist of the handle is all that’s needed to switch the weight in seconds!

It also offers the best range in this guide, making it more than worth the investment for advanced lifters, especially when you consider how many sets of dumbbells it replaces.

The look and feel are very close to traditional dumbbells, with steel knurled handles that are comfortable to hold – and the plates sit nicely in position, with no annoying shifting.

The only downside is that the switching mechanism inside the handle is made of plastic, making it very vulnerable to damage if you drop the dumbbell.

#6. Best Value for Money – NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set

Weight Range: 10-55 lb, Weight Options: 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42.5, 45, 50, 52.5, 55, Replaces: 15 Dumbbell Sets

NordicTrack 55-Pound Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set
Relatively standard length and shapeMinimum weight too high for some users
Flat heads – comfortable to rest on legs between setsThe plates shift very slightly during lifts
Includes custom-molded tray with clear markings

Sitting at a more affordable price point than many others I tried, this durable set from NordicTrack offers plenty of weight options and small increments for versatility.

With a traditional shape and a grippy knurled handlebar, the dumbbells use a pin that you pull up and drag into position to select your desired weight.

It’s pretty easy to do, and although I found that it stuck once or twice, it’s relatively quick, too.

Unlike Bowflex’s SelectTech 552 (my runner-up in this guide) the dumbbells are not too wide if you don’t need the full weight, which I found a big advantage.

#7. Best for Long-Term Progression – PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells

Weight Range: 5-50 lb, Weight Options: 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50, Replaces: 16 Dumbbell Sets

PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
Expansion packs availableBoxy shape won’t suit everyone
Easy to stack/storeUnsuitable for use with with lifting hooks
No tray/cradle requiredFiddly to use smaller increments

Expandable to 70 or 90 pounds per hand with optional expansion packs, this set can grow with you as your fitness levels progress and is also suitable for multiple users at different stages of their fitness journey.

The unique square shape makes it easy to stack in a corner of your home gym and the overall build is tough enough to stand years of use.

Changing the weights is straightforward enough but a little more time-consuming than with other models – you have to use a 2-prong adjustment clip that slides in and out and is attached to an elastic cord.

My biggest problem with these was not being able to use my lifting hooks with the heavier weights – it’s almost impossible to reach the handle to attach them.

#8. Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Runner Up – Bowflex SelectTech 552

Weight Range: 5-52.5 lb, Weight Options: 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5, Replaces: 15 Dumbbell Sets

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Very heavy-duty designMay be too long for some users
Plastic plates are tough but quiet to usePricey
Includes 2 months JRNY Mobile-Only Membership

Offering the ideal combination of a wide weight range and small increments, this is a versatile adjustable dumbbell set suitable for multiple users and abilities.

It uses a simple dial mechanism at either end that I found easy to adjust in seconds and the dumbbells have a pretty traditional shape, although they are a bit bulkier and definitely longer, which can take some getting used to and made certain exercises difficult!

Another difference is that the handles are made from textured rubber rather than knurled steel, which I thought had a comfortable feel but may not suit everyone.

The quality is exceptional and the overall feel very durable, plus I liked the fact that the heavier plates are carried towards the center, which makes them easier to balance.

#9. Best Adjustable Dumbbells Overall – Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Weight Range: 5-50 lb, Weight Options: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, Replaces: 10 Dumbbell Sets

Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set
Fast, one-handed weight adjustmentHeavier dumbbells sometimes get stuck in the holder
Smooth, rubberized gripPlates are quite large
Sturdy aluminum cradles included

It was hard to choose between this and the Bowflex set as an overall favorite, but for me, the shorter dumbbell length gave this set the edge as it felt comfortable for a wider range of exercises.

What’s more, the interior rod locking system means that the width of the dumbbell goes down in size as you reduce the weight.

I also prefer the simple twist-of-the-handle adjustment, which I found a lot quicker than adjusting the dials individually, although the wider range of weight options and smaller increments may still make the Bowflex weights a better choice for some.

The coated plates feel very durable and the soft-grip, contoured handle is comfortable to use, although perhaps slightly slippery with sweaty hands.

The 9 best Adjustable Dumbbell Sets: Key Takeaways

An adjustable dumbbell set is one of the most useful pieces of exercise equipment you can buy, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of strength training while saving space as well as money.

I hope you’ve found this guide useful in finding a set that will work well for you and your home gym.

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Christine Albury is a dedicated runner and fitness nerd: when she's not working out she is studying the latest fitness science publications, and testing out the latest running gear!

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