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Best Budget-Friendly Adjustable Dumbbells: Get Fit on a Budget

NordicTrack 55 Lb. Select-A-Weight Dumbbells top our list for their user-friendly design and diverse weight range.

Equipment
9 min read2024-01-06T17:04:52.241Z
MKWritten By Michelle King

OVERVIEW

From bulky weight racks to endless dumbbell sets, home gyms can quickly become costly and space-consuming. Investing in adjustable dumbbells allows you to maintain a consistent strength training regime without taking up much room in your home.

On the hunt for quality adjustable dumbbells that won't break the bank? Explore our top picks for affordable options below.

Best Budget-Friendly Adjustable Dumbbells

How I Use Adjustable Dumbbells to Help Me Reach My Fitness Goals

I spent the majority of my twenties running and teaching yoga classes. Occasionally, you'd find me in the weight room, but those occurrences were few and far between. As I approached thirty, I realized there was a huge gap in my fitness regime, and I wasn't strength training nearly as much as I should.

According to the University of Maryland Medical System, you stop building bone mass and start losing muscle in your late twenties. This can lead to more serious health issues down the line, like sarcopenia. If I wanted to optimize my health and maintain strength as I got older, I knew I needed to start lifting weights.

In the past, I had struggled to stay consistent with a lifting routine because I hated the hassle of packing a gym bag and driving 15 minutes to the gym. My husband and I had also recently bought a small starter home that wasn't conducive to an extensive collection of weights.

After some research, I invested in a set of adjustable dumbbells that allowed me to exercise at home without taking up half of my garage. I found that I could easily perform any exercise I would typically perform with traditional dumbbells and quickly fell into a strength training routine.

Today, my adjustable dumbbells are a staple in my small home gym and one of my go-to pieces of strength training equipment.

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What Experts Say About Adjustable Dumbbells

Mike Silverman, CPT and Master Trainer at Living.Fit is a major advocate for training with adjustable dumbbells.

"Adjustable dumbbells are a game-changer for at-home workouts. The key benefit is versatility," says Mike Silverman. "With a single set, you can easily adjust the weight to match various exercises and fitness levels. This makes them ideal for at-home exercisers who may not have the space (or budget) for a full rack of traditional dumbbells. Plus, the convenience of adjusting weights on the fly keeps the workout flow seamless and time-efficient."

How to Choose Adjustable Dumbbells

Even the most budget-friendly adjustable dumbbells cost a few hundred dollars– which is a deal when you think about them replacing several pieces of equipment. So, you want to choose a quality set that can withstand years of exercise while helping you work toward your fitness goals. But, with so many options on the market, how do you know which dumbbells are best for you? Use the following considerations to help guide your dumbbell search.

Weight Range

When shopping for weightlifting equipment, it's important to consider your current fitness level. This can help you choose an appropriate dumbbell for your current strength while allowing for progressive overload.

Progressive overload involves gradually increasing weight or movement repetitions over time. Research shows that including progressive overload in your training can help increase strength and muscle growth in both men and women.

Most adjustable dumbbells range from five to 50 lbs, making them a versatile option for your average lifter. If you're looking for something on the heavier side, some options go all the way up to 90lbs.

Weight Increments

Once you've determined your ideal weight range, check for weight increment jumps. Most fitness experts agree you shouldn't increase weight or intensity by more than 10% each week. Opting for a more gradual strength progression helps reduce your risk of injury.

Some adjustable dumbbells increase weight in increments of 10 lbs. Depending on your fitness level, this may be too intense of a leap between weights. If you're a beginner lifter, look for dumbbells that increase by two to five pounds per increment.

Handle Grip

When you're in the middle of a sweaty workout, the last thing you want are your dumbbells slipping out of your hands. Not only does this take you out of the zone, but it also presents a safety hazard. To help prevent slippage, choose dumbbells with a knurling or textured grip. This gives your hands some traction, making you less likely to lose your grip and ensuring a more secure and effective workout.

Adjustability Mechanism

When choosing adjustable dumbbells, prioritize those with a user-friendly adjustment mechanism for easy weight changes during exercises. Some models have a dial system, allowing simple weight selection by turning a dial or a pin/lever mechanism. Also, make sure the adjustment system securely locks the dumbbell in place after choosing the weight to avoid wobbling and ensure a safe workout.

Durability

Just because you're opting for budget-friendly dumbbells doesn't mean you have to settle for low quality. When choosing adjustable dumbbells, look for ones crafted from durable materials like steel or iron. This helps ensure your new exercise equipment can withstand the demands of your workouts and last for years to come.

Expert Guidance

Removing the guesswork from exercise helps eliminate a common hurdle some face when working out. Research shows that many people don't know which exercises are best for their body, making it challenging to exercise effectively. Trainer-led workouts offer structured routines and expert guidance, taking the guesswork out of exercise and helping to ensure proper form for maximum results and avoiding injuries.

If you're interested in guided workouts, choose adjustable dumbbells that offer fitness memberships like iFit or JRNY. These subscriptions have classes for a variety of preferences and fitness levels.

Price

While adjustable dumbbells offer a space-saving alternative to multiple sets, their convenience comes at a cost, with some options reaching up to $800. However, budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts can still snag quality options for under $500.

Individual Reviews

There's no need to spend $800 or more on dumbbells with so many quality options at an affordable price. To keep you from blowing your budget, all the dumbbell options below are under $500.

Individual Reviews
Buy today for $399

NordicTrack 55 Lb. Select-A-Weight Dumbbells

Best Overall

  • Weight range: 10 to 55 lbs.
  • 15 incremental weight adjustments
  • Ideal for use with iFit interactive training

NordicTrack's 55 lb Select-A-Weight Dumbbells offer everything we're looking for at a great price. For just under $400, exercisers can enjoy a complete set of 30 weights in one easy-to-use workout tool.

These dumbbells increase weight gradually from 10lbs-55 lbs in increments of 2.5lbs-5lbs, allowing you to increase intensity slowly and safely.

For optimal ease of use, NordicTrack designed the Select-A-Weight-Dumbbells with a simple weight selection system that lets you quickly adjust the weight mid-workout. The knurled handles provide traction, ensuring a secure grip during your exercises, and the flat, round dumbbell plates offer a similar experience to traditional dumbbells. These features make them an excellent option for home workouts with tons of functionality.

For additional exercise support, NordicTrack offers a free 30-day iFit trial. This platform grants you access to hundreds of workouts led by world-class trainers like Hannah Eden and Michael Vazquez.

User Reviews

Average Rating : 4.6 out of 5 stars

Customers enjoyed working out with these dumbbells, citing ease of use as a huge perk. While most reviewers were impressed with the quality, some expressed disappointment in the hardened plastic-covered plates.

NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Pros
  • 30-Day iFit Trial
  • Storage tray
  • Steel handles
  • 10lbs- 55lbs
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Cons
  • Additional cost for iFit membership
Buy today for $429

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Best for Beginners

  • Weight Range: 5 to 52.5 lb
  • Replaces 15 sets of weights
  • Weight selection dial
  • JRNY app with Motion Tracking

Offering many of the same features as NordicTrack's dumbbells, BowFlex's SelectTech 552 Dumbbells come in as the best for beginners our list.

This compact dumbbell solution slowly increases from 5 lbs to 52.5 lbs in 2.5lb to 5 lb increments, making it an excellent option for beginners who want a lower starting weight. The selector dials on the ends of the dumbbells are smooth, adjust quickly, and provide an audible noise to verify that the weight has been changed. This makes it easy to switch between different weights during your workout.

Looking for some workout guidance for beginners? BowFlex offers a 2-month free JRNY trial. This adaptive fitness membership not only features a variety of workouts, but it also provides real-time feedback on your form, ensuring you perform exercises effectively and safely.

User Reviews

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Users loved the easy to use adjustment dial for switching weight as well as the rubber handle for improved grip. While the majority of reviewers were happy with their purchase, a few noted that the weights can be a bit bulky, making it awkward to perform some exercises.

BowFlex SelectTech 552 Pros
  • 2-Month JRNY Trial
  • Storage tray
  • 5lbs-52.5lbs
BowFlex SelectTech 552 Cons
  • Additional cost for JRNY membership
Starting at $197.99

REP Adjustable Dumbbells

Best for durability

  • 5-52.5 lbs
  • Fully knurled, straight handles
  • Cast iron plates

On the hunt for some seriously durable weights that can handle years of wear and tear? Check out REP's Adjustable Dumbbells. The REP brand is known for its commitment to quality, and its dumbbells are no exception. Crafted with solid cast iron plates, REP's Adjustable Dumbbells are built to withstand the toughest workouts, ensuring lasting quality.

REP offers two adjustable dumbbell options, a 20-pound set, and a 52.5-pound set. The 20 lb pair increases in weight increments of 2.5 lbs to 5 lbs, and the 52.5lb pair increases in weight increments of 1.25 lbs to 5 lbs, making it one of the most versatile options on this list.

Looking for something a little heavier? REP offers a 40-pound weight upgrade, allowing you to lift 85 lbs per dumbbell.

User Reviews:

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

With 78% of Amazon customers giving these dumbbells a 5 star rating, it's safe to say people are pretty pleased with their purchase. Users noted that REP's adjustable dumbbells are versatile and easy to grip.

Rep Adjustable Dumbbells Pros
  • Durable
  • 1.25-85lbs (with add-on weights)
Rep Adjustable Dumbbells Cons
  • No storage tray
  • No expert guidance via app
Starting at $49.99

Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Lifting Dumbbells

Best for affordability

  • 2.75 - 37.9 lbs
  • Durable
  • Simple to use

Looking for something less than $100? Look no further than Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Lifting Dumbbells. Costing just under $50, these dumbbells are the most affordable option on our list.

Don't let the low price point fool you. While Amazon's dumbbells sport a simple adjustable plate and star lock collar design, they're made from quality materials like alloy steel, making them sturdy and corrosion-resistant. The textured grip ensures a secure hold through your workouts, providing added comfort and control.

User Reviews:
Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Overall, people were pleased with the quality of these weights for the price. However, multiple reviews noted that the included case breaks easily.

Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Lifting Dumbbells Pros
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • 2.75lbs-37.9lbs
  • Includes storage case
Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Lifting Dumbbells Cons
  • Low max weight
  • No expert guidance
Starting at $429

Tempo Core Starter Gym

Best for guided workouts

  • 2 Olympic-grade adjustable dumbbells
  • 12 weight plates (35 lbs total)
  • 4 weight collars
  • iOS compatible docking station (lightning and USB-C compatible)

The Tempo Core Starter Gym provides more than just a set of Olympic-grade dumbbells. It creates an adaptable training experience.

When you purchase the Core Starter Gym, you receive two 7.5lb dumbbells, 35lbs of weight, weight collars, and 12 months of unlimited training with Tempo.

While other options on this list offer trainer-led workouts, none provide the level of personalization Tempo does. Using AI technology, the Tempo app tracks your movements to guide your form and positioning. It also notes what weights you're using to provide weight and repetition recommendations as you train. Users can also keep track of how much muscle they've gained using the app's body composition scans.

User Reviews:
Average Rating: 4.8 out of five stars

Tempo users were excited about the quality of both their dumbbells and the workouts, many citing that they enjoyed their home workouts so much, they canceled their gym memberships. However, a few noted frustration about needing an iPhone to access workouts.

Tempo Core Starter Gym Pros
  • 12-month Tempo membership
  • No additional cost for membership
  • Olympic-grade weights
Tempo Core Starter Gym Cons
  • No storage trays
  • Only 42.5 lbs total weight
  • Only 42.5 lbs total weight
Starting at $348.88

FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbells 55 LBS

Best for high end features at a lower price point

  • Effortless twist handle for weight change
  • 10 lb. increments from 15 to 55 lbs.
  • Coated with TPE, thermoplastic elastomer materials

Overall, we were pleased with these dumbbells, and from the very beginning, FLYBIRD made the shopping process effortless. They offer free shipping on all purchases, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and the set comes with a 1-year warranty.

Not only was shipping fast, but ours arrived early, and the dumbbells looked great upon inspection. The design is sleek and stylish, and we love that they come with a weight tray for easy storage.

The weight plates on the FLYBIRD 55 lb dumbbells are made of carbon steel, one of the most durable materials on the market.

These dumbbells have a tray design where the handle slides into the weight plate, making storage easy and compact. The dumbbell also features a safety lock design, so the plates cannot fall out and hit you on the face while lifting like some other models on the market.

FLYBIRD adjustable dumbbells Pros
  • Reasonable price point with good features
  • High quality materials
  • Twist handle weight change
FLYBIRD adjustable dumbbells Cons
  • Handle length is awkwardly long
  • Weight numbers are hard to see in low light
  • Large 10 lb increments

Compare Budget-Friendly Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable DumbbellPrice Weight Range Adjustment Mechanism Grip 
NordicTrack 55 Lb. Select-A-Weight Dumbbells$39910lbs-55lbsAdjustable PinKnurled Handles
BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells$4295lbs-52.5lbsAdjustable DialRubber Handles 
REP Adjustable Dumbbells$197.991.25lbs - 85lbs Spinlock Star CollarsKnurled Handles 
Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Lifting Dumbbells Weight Set $49.992.75lbs-37.9lbsSpinlock Star Collars Knurled Handles 
Tempo Core Starter Gym $4297.5lbs -42.5lbs Spinlock Star CollarsKnurled Handles 

Bottom Line

Quality exercise equipment doesn't have to cost you a fortune or take up tons of space. Investing in adjustable dumbbells can help you reach your strength goals while occupying only a tiny corner of your home. When choosing adjustable dumbbells, look for durable options with a weight range appropriate for your fitness level. If you're unsure which option is best for you, consider purchasing our top pick, NordicTrack's 55 Lb. Select-A-Weight Dumbbells.

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