Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2014
Having a pair of adjustable dumbbells is a must for anyone who would be interested in building some muscle or toning any part of their body. Being such a basic element of any exercise program, the quality of your dumbbells can save you much time and effort, while giving a boost to your bodybuilding results. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that to identify and purchase the best adjustable dumbbells is the primary step you need to take towards an enhanced physique. The text at hand is aimed to give you some idea about adjustable dumbbells and help you in finding the set of dumbbells you need. In this review, I have listed some of the best adjustable dumbbells and attempted to point out their strengths and weaknesses in an unbiased way so that you can make up your mind about the model that best answers your requirements.
Before we review the top dumbbells available, let us discuss why and how you need to get an adjustable dumbbell set.
Adjustable Dumbbell vs. Regular Dumbbell
Adjustable Dumbbells give you some important advantages over regular or fixed dumbbells. A single pair of adjustable dumbbells can be loaded with different weights and used in different types of workouts that train various muscles, which is something that would require many pairs of fixed dumbbells. So, using adjustable dumbbells saves you a lot of space as well as saving the money that you would use to buy several fixed dumbbells. Moreover, if you feel like going heavier in the future all you have to do is to go buy additional weights instead of buying more massive dumbbells.
How to choose the Best Adjustable Dumbbell
You need to consider a number of features when deciding the set of adjustable dumbbells you want to get. The first and the most important factor is speed of assembly and adjustment. You do not want to spend your entire day loading and reloading weights onto a rod. A quickly adjusted dumbbell set saves you time can devote to lifting more or finding some protein rich food.
A pair of dumbbells that take little space will not only make it easier to store the dumbbells when not in use but also it will give you greater liberty in your workout. Length of the dumbbells is especially important because in certain exercises such as overhead presses, the ends of your dumbbells come close to each other and even a single inch can decide whether they will hit one another or not.
Weight increment is a factor as well. The smaller increments a set can be adjusted in, the better. However, ability to set the weight of your dumbbells to every 5 lbs should be quite enough and to look for increments less than that may actually be an excess.
Buy Dumbbells Online?
For a number of reasons it is a great idea to buy dumbbells online instead of going to a fitness shop. First, a dumbbell is not something you need to try like clothing so it is safe to choose by looking at a website. Second, dumbbells are not delicate things that are likely to break during shipping such as a mirror. Finally, carrying the dumbbell to your car and then into your home or even transporting it with public transport if you don't own a car is pure trouble because you will be carrying around dozens of pounds of iron. When you buy from an online store, someone else does all that for you.
Cap Barbell 40-Pound Dumbbell Set
The first dumbbell set we are going to review has a classic, austere design with no special features. CAP Barbell is a fitness equipment supplier that is known for its plain-vanilla products and competitive prices. I do not find it surprising that this brand is the choice of people who are on a budget and are simply looking for something to lift. Cap Barbell 40-Pound Dumbbell Set is yet another one of the popular items from CAP Barbell and actually, it is the second best selling adjustable dumbbell set after Bowflex SelectTech.
As seen in the photo, the set consists of a number of iron plates with handles and bolt. You also get a case to keep things inside. The iron is covered in black paint to offer some protection. It is fine for the price but should not be expected to resist corrosion for decades. Also, some customers find the paint smell somewhat unpleasant.
There is a reason people are paying more to get the fancy-looking dumbbells you will see below and that reason is bascially quick adjustability. While CAP dumbbells are very cheap, they will take you forever to shift between weights. You know how it works: Remove the bolt by turning it. Remove or add the desired weight plate. Put the bolt back. Check bolt regularly to make sure things are not falling apart. If you have little time to spend on fitness, this dumbbell set is not your best choice. If you are planning to do something very fast like P90x, this is not at all what you are looking for.
As for the handles, they are 20 inches making this one the lengthiest adjustable dumbbell set ever. Get ready for iron hitting iron while you do overhead presses.
Not everything is gloomy about these cheap adjustable dumbbells have some advantages, too. Their weight can be set in increments as small as 5 pounds, which is decent.
In short, CAP Barbell dumbbells are simple and inexpensive. If you have time to spend on changing the weight plated in between exercises and you are not prepared to invest in high-end weightlifting equipment, CAP Barbell can be a option.
Bayou Fitness Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells
Bayou is another one of the popular dumbbell brands that deserves a review. Its products don't have any serious issues and they will do what you expect from them. However, considering the features and design, they are not the best option for the most important exercise equipment in your home gym.
The 25lbs Bayou dumbbells can be adjusted in 5 lbs intervals while 50lbs set has a 10 lbs increment. In theory, you can halve the increments by putting one extra plate on one side but that would give you an uneven weight. In any case, considering that most people prefer adjustable dumbbell sets that weigh about 50 lbs, the weight increment is rather lame.
The weight adjustment mechanism of Bayou dumbbells is acceptable but not awesome. You've got two metallic keys for each dumbbell that you insert in one of the four sockets to lock in your desired number of weight plates and lift. That will not take a long time but still longer than Bowflex and other quickly set models. Moreover, although this is a rare case, some people do meet resistance when they push the key into the lock and in one or two cases, they managed to break the key, rendering the dumbbell useless.
A 50 lbs Bayou dumbbell has a length of 16 inches, which is the longest we've seen. Not good news for fans of Arnold presses.
A minor issue you might come across when purchasing Bayou dumbbells is they are not always round shaped as in the picture. The 25 lbs set is actually rectangular with round corners. Not an issue, unless you are strict about the contour.
To summarize, the Bayou adjustable dumbbells are fine but not truly the best adjustable dumbbells you will see today.
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System has a slightly higher than average price. It's definitely a high-end product but considering all the pros and cons, it is hard to say that the price is justified.
Although they are not exactly the type of adjustable weights I would recommend for efficient and quick workouts, Ironmaster dumbbells do have some great features. First, they are purely made of chrome plated steel. No plastic, no cheap looking paint and they have a lifetime warranty. The square shape of the dumbbells eliminates all possibility of rolling and falling off the stand and these are actually quite compact units that measure only 11.5 inches at 45 lbs. Thanks to the unique locking mechanism, Ironmaster dumbbells get even shorter with less weight plates making it quite comfortable to use these in all types of exercises.
Ironmaster Quick-Lock would be an interesting option, had it not been for the very slow weight adjustment system that belies its name. To change the weight of each dumbbell, you need to unscrew the locks on each end, remove or add plates and then put the lock back. This can take minutes and is hardle any quicker than what the cheap dumbbells from CAP Barbell have to offer. Although, it is a very well-built product, Ironmaster's quickness does not go beyond expression.
Ironmaster Quicl-Lock's handles and locking screws weigh 10 lbs with no plates and each set consists of 5 lbs and 2.5 lbs plates. You can actually set the weight in 2.5 intervals but that would give give you an uneven weight. If you want a balanced dumbbell, the weight increment is 5 lbs.
In short, the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbell set is not something you will regret buying but given the fact that they are a bit slow and the price is somewhat high, I have to admit other options look more appealing.
PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbell Set
This futuristic-looking dumbbell set by PowerBlock is the second best of this review and it has some excellent features we will discuss here.
Firstly, PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbell Set has a quick and simple weight change mechanism. There is a selector pin, which is fitted into one of the several sockets on the dumbbell to decide the 10 lbs range we are going to work with. This system takes a little more than a few seconds to adjust the dumbbell. To give you more control over the wieght. There are two 2.5 lbs weight bars stored inside the handles that can be taken out if needed.
The weight increment varies between 2.5 pounds to 5 pounds. The external lock system gives you an increment option of 10 lbs. The additional weight cylinders inside handles give you the ability to adjust for some 2.5 values so you can for instance get 7.5 lbs but not 12.5 lbs. It is in fact, a bit time consuming to take out the weights inside the handles so the 2.5 increment is not very practical. However, PowerBlock is very quick to adjust in 10 lbs increments, which is a decent increment.
The dumbbells are tough and secure. The weights are well-locked and not at all likely to slide away. The pin lock is not an easily breakable unit so there is no worry about this thing causing any danger. The set should be expected to last for many years as there is a ten year warranty, which is awesome when compared to the one or two year warranties other brands offer.
PowerBlock dumbbells take little space and the length increases with additional weight. In other words, you get very small dumbbells for small weights, which is good because you will have more space to do the bicep curls. A massive 90 lbs PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbell is 40 cm from one and to the other. At 10 lbs, it is hardly 20 cm.
The only concern with PowerBlock dumbbells -if that could be called a concern- is that you need to pay some attention when adjusting the selector pin. Both ends of the pin have to fit into the same weight socket for the dumbbell to function. Failing to do this will not damage the dumbbell in any way or cause any danger. It will just make you lose a few seconds. And it must be stressed here that this minor issue does not stain the great advantages of this set, which can be summarized as safety, durability and speed.
All in all, PowerBlock has done a great job and you are sure to enjoy its benefits for many years if you choose to invest this great adjustable dumbbell set. This set would be named the best dumbbell set of the review if it had not been for Ironmaster.
Universal Power-Pak 445 Adjustable Dumbbells with Stand
Universal Power-Pak Adjustable Dumbbells seem to be a more humble-looking version of the Bowflex dumbbells. One could call them a cheap replica, if they had been any cheaper than the actual best adjustable dumbbells in the market.
The good thing about Universal Power-Pak dumbbells is the simple and quick weight adjustment system. All you need is to move the dial on one end of the unit to the desired weight and pick up the dumbbell. Depending the adjusted weight, some plates will simply remain on the stand while others come tied to the handle.
Power Pak dumbbells can be adjusted between 5 and 45 pounds and in 5 pounds increments. Quite enough modifiability but nothing to get stunned by. The length of one dumbbell is 14 inches.
Power-Pak dumbbells come with a dull but functional stand although that does not change the overall cheap feel and look of the product. Permeated with plastic parts everywhere, Power Pak is not the ultimate choice for people who want something high-end in exchange fro their money. That being said, those who do get Power Pak seem to be satisfied with what it has to offer.
In fact, there are no major complaints about Power-Pak dumbbells that could dampen your intentions to get a pair of these. A few people come up with stories about cracks in the handles, which should be expected because of the apparently cheap build of the dumbbells.
What really makes Power-Pak an unlikely candidate for becoming centerpiece of your home gym is the availability of the higher quality Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells for nearly the same price. Not surprisingly, Bowflex is much more popular with fitness enthusiasts.
In short, Power-Pak is a viable choice only if you can find it sold for a price lower than that of a Bowflex set. Both dumbbell models are similar in concept and with their prices being close, Bowflex wins with its superior quality.
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells
Bowflex SelectTech has been at the top of the best seller list for dumbbells for years and it looks like people are very right in choosing this brand. Indeed, there is good reason to say that Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells are the best adjustable dumbbells you can hope to find.
There are two models by Bowflex. SelecTech 552 can be set from 5 to 52.5 lbs and the increment is 2.5 lbs until you get to 25 lbs and it can be set to every 5 lbs. This is the best adjustability in any dumbbell set. As for SelectTech 1090, it can be adjusted between 10 and 90 lbs and the increment is always 5 lbs.
Now, the big thing! The edge of the Bowflex that made it the most popular dumbbell ever is the incredibly quick locking mechanism that allows the lifter to change the weight within mere seconds. The number of plates that come up when you grab the handles can be adjusted by simply rotating the dials on each end of the dumbbell. So all you have to do is to set the dial to the desired weight and lift. This feature allow SelectTech to provide you with a unique adjustable weight experience that other dumbbell brands are yet to achieve.
The dumbbell set and cute plastic trays that come for each dumbbell look quite stylish and smart and the price is comparable to other high-end adjustable dumbbells in the market. Bowflex SelectTech is great for workout, great for your wallet and is even great for the décor of your home gym.
Finally, Bowflex dumbbells are quite compact with a handle length of 14 inches. That should minimize the size-related constraints you can come across when working out.
In the final analysis, Bowflex SelecTech is the winner in all categories. Backed up by a myriad of cutomers who made it the best selling strength training product, I am confident to name SelectTech units as the best adjustable dumbbells.
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