The first time I saw a pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, they were sitting on the ground in my friend's garage beside his brand new padded weight bench, a brand new heavy bag, and new padding on the concrete floor. I have to admit, I was skeptical at best. The weights just looked odd, what with a dial controlling how much weight was loaded onto each bar and the dumbbells looking almost dainty when not loaded up to their full 52.5-pound capacity. And what a waste of time fiddling around with dials when you could just have a larger set of multiple solid weights to grab as needed.
Then I did a few reps of chest exercises and curls. Guess what? The skepticism was gone. These dumbbells feel sturdy whether laden with just a few pounds for a lateral raise or with more than 50 pounds for bench presses or lunges. They adjust so quickly — you just set the dumbbell into its base among the weight discs, turn the dial to the desired load, and pick the bar up again. And given the fact that this one pair of dumbbells can replace fifteen separate sets, there is simply no comparison when it comes to price.
Yes, the $250 price tag is not exactly a lightweight, but think of it like this: Assuming each of the 15 pairs of dumbbells you would have to buy to match this set cost only $25 each, which is in fact about half the price of most pairs of hand weights, you would still pay $375. The actual price to match the variety of weights offered by this pair would probably be closer to $600 or more, in fact.
Also, while many people might not need every single weight configuration offered by the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, their broad range of adjustments makes them suitable for multiple users. There is only one drawback here, and it's the fact that 52.5 pounds is not enough weight for some exercises for some people. But hey, you can just buy the heavier weights you need, you big strong someone.
With nearly 4,000 reviews logged at the time of this writing, these dumbbells have a stellar 4.7-star average rating on Amazon. One satisfied exercise enthusiast loves the convenience of these dumbbells, saying: "With very little time to get to the gym ... these to maximize the time I do have to workout." Another owner notes their "amazing flexibility" and said "the weight changes are fast and seamless."
The product review experts at The Wirecutter called these dumbbells "user-friendly" and felt they represented a great value, too. A FitRated writer said the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells had a "sturdy feel and solid rubber grip" and were ideal for home gyms.
Pros: One pair of dumbbells replaces 15, quick and easy weight changes, comfortable grips
Cons: Maximum weight of 52.2 pounds too light for some users
Sometimes simple really is better. I know I just sang the praises of a set of fancy adjustable dumbbells, but in a perfect world, I would have a home gym large enough to accommodate multiple sets of these classic CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells instead of one adjustable pair.
With a solid iron dumbbell in each hand, you can workout for hours every week, drop the weights a thousand times (assuming you have pads on the floors!), and never run the risk of damaging your gear. Frankly, I'm not really sure how you could even damage these weights without a furnace that could reach the 2,800-degree melting point of iron.
The dumbbells come in a pair with individual unit weight spanning everything from 5 to well over 100 pounds. Each weight has a textured grip that helps you maintain a safe, proper grasp on the weights even when your hands are damp with sweat. The hexagonal shape of the weights prevents them from rolling round on the ground — which protects people from injury and walls or other equipment from damage — and also helps the dumbbells rest more stably on a rack.
I personally have dumbbell pairs weighing 50, 40, 25, and 15 pounds (OK, I only have one of the 15 pound weights, having dumped the other while way off the path during a training hike that turned into a trail blazing and route finding ordeal) and have been using the weights for more than seven years so far. Yes, adjustable dumbbells are convenient, but solid iron is forever.
The CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells get a solid 4.5 out of five-star rating with hundreds of reviews posted on Amazon. A gentleman named Tyler called them a "solid buy" and was impressed with the accurate weight of each dumbbell after he tested them with a scale. A buyer named Amanda called them "no frills dumbbells" that "get the job done."
A writer with USA Home Gym called the CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells well-made and appreciated how the hexagonal shape stops "the dumbbell from rolling" and can "provide easier storage."
Pros: Last for a lifetime, hexagonal shape prevents rolling, easy to read weight numbers
Cons: Price adds up with multiple pairs
There is one major drawback to using a Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell: during the course of a set of reps, the star shaped locking collars that keep the weight plates on the handle almost always loosen, letting the weights jostle and spin and potentially impacting your form or even your safety. Here's the thing: you can counter this loosening either with a rubber O-ring or simply with a rubber band twisted around the threaded posts.
I used these exact types of dumbbells for many years, switching to solid weights only after somehow losing a few of the plates over time, thus making it difficult to create a properly balanced weight. And while not ideal for the serious power lifter, for most casual to intermediate strength training enthusiasts, these weights are a great option because they're easy to use and affordable.
To adjust the weight you have on each bar, you just twist off the holding ring, slip on the desired plates (making sure to evenly balance the weight) and then twist the collar back on. The inch-thick grips are a perfect size for most hands and the fact that you can adjust each dumbbell from as light as a pound or so when the handle is unladen to many dozens of pounds makes them quite versatile. Just remember that when a set says 60 pounds, that means total, i.e. a maximum of 30 pounds per hand, for example.
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells are quite popular among online shoppers, with an average rating of 4.4 stars. An owner named Jarred says these weights give you "more than your money's worth" when compared with other dumbbell options. A customer called Stephanie said they make it "very easy to set the amount of weight that you want."
A fitness writer from Dumbbells Reviews calls the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells yours for "a very friendly price" and appreciates their ease of adjustment. A review from FitnessRocks called these weights "versatile" and "high quality" noting their solid cast iron construction.
Pros: Affordable option, easy to adjust weight, space saving design
Cons: Weight discs sometimes come loose, circular weights can roll on floor
If you think you can't get a meaningful workout using a pair of low weight dumbbells, try holding them in an arm outstretched and parallel to the floor for a few minutes — you'll feel the burn. The AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell set comes with pairs of two-, three- and five-pound weights that are ideal for use during a walk or jog or added into calisthenic exercises like knee bends, arm extensions, and so forth.
Low weight dumbbells are great for people doing physical therapy, for older exercisers, or for people who are looking more for toning and leaner muscle than larger, more cut musculature. And a low cost set like this is always welcome regardless of your fitness goals. This three pair set comes with a stand and is yours for less than $25.
The dumbbells are color coded for quick and easy identification and are entirely coated with a thick layer of neoprene. This covering enhances grip security and comfort and also protects flooring and furniture from a dropped weight. You probably can't achieve a Schwarzenegger-like physique with these weights, but you can tone and tighten and also do wonders for your cardiovascular health.
The AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells have a healthy 4.6-star average rating online, with one user saying she "love[s] these weights" and calling them a "tremendous value for the money." Another owner loves the compact "size of the set" and the color-coding system.
A writer with TheLifeVest called the AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Set a great choice thanks to the "comfortable grip" and affordability, while a TopBestProductReview write up noted how "easy to assemble" the handy included stand is.
Pros: Great low price, stand comes included, color-coded weights
Cons: Much too light for some people
Usually, a dumbbell helps you build muscle by requiring resistance against the downward pull of gravity. When you bring the Trademark Innovations Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells into the pool, you will instead be challenged the keep these highly buoyant EVA foam dumbbells down under the surface of the water.
Floating weights are a great way to challenge your body without putting undue strain on your muscles or joints and while minimizing the risk of injury. Not only is it harder to hyperextend yourself while using aquatic dumbbells, but should you let go of one, it will bob to the surface instead of smashing down on your foot!
Using aquatic barbells can provide a targeted workout for the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and even across much of your back, depending on how you hold the "weights" while in the water. Keeping them partially above the surface provides only a bit of added resistance and is great for the early stages of physical rehab. Holding the dumbbells all the way under the water can present more of a challenge than you might expect, actually helping tone and strengthen muscles.
The one major drawback here is that you will need a pool, lake, or ocean in which to use these things.
Hundreds of people have sounded off about the Trademark Innovations Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells and the consensus is that they're a great choice. One user speaks for many when she says: "I love these! I go to the pool with a friend 5 days a week [and] these provide a great workout." All told, the dumbbells have a 4.5-star rating.
The product review team at Wiki.Ezvid took a look at the Trademark Innovations Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells and liked what they saw, calling the foam durable and saying the dumbbells offered a "decent amount of resistance."
Pros: Great for low impact workout, low price point, durable closed-cell foam
Cons: Not enough resistance for many users