Our roundup of the best all-in-one adjustable dumbbells to help you save space and money
Dumbbells are a great piece of equipment to have at home, not just for strength training and building muscles in your arms and shoulders, but also for full-body workouts. So, the best adjustable dumbbells should be versatile, offering a range of different weights in one package to help you further vary your workout.
Ideally, you need a variety of different dumbbell weights for different exercises and for working different muscle groups. Though heavier weights are perhaps best for packing on serious muscle, lighter weights allow for a better range of motion, and are also good for exercises such as pilates and injury rehabilitation. Plus, if you’re a beginner, you’re going to want to start light before advancing to the next weight up as you progress.
The only catch is that building a comprehensive collection of dumbbells can take up a lot of time, space and money. Adjustable dumbbells, on the other hand, can help you save on space while being cost-effective in the long run. We’ve put together a quick list of the best adjustable dumbbells available to order right now, as well as a buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.
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Best adjustable dumbbells: At a glance
- Best overall: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbell | £200
- Best spinlock set: York Fitness 20kg Cast Iron Dumbbell Set | £55
- Best entry level set: Strongology Adjustable Dumbbell, 2.2-11kg | £60
- Best lightweight adjustable dumbbells: Nice C Dumbbells | £52
- Best space-saving dumbbells: PowerBlock Sport Dumbbells | £400
How to choose the best adjustable dumbbell for you
What is an adjustable dumbbell? How does it work?
There are two main types of adjustable dumbbell:
The most sophisticated adjustable dumbbells work via a combination of plates that can be attached and released from the dumbbell bar using a dial or switch. They come with a stand that keeps hold of the plates that you aren’t lifting. These are known as selectorised dumbbells.
Spinlock dumbbells, on the other hand, can be adjusted by removing or adding plates which are secured onto the bar with a nut. As spinlock dumbbells are adjusted manually, they require a bit more effort and don’t have the added convenience of a weight stand. However, they are generally much cheaper than selectorised dumbbells.
Although water-filled dumbbells also technically fall into the adjustable dumbbell category, it is primarily these two types outlined above that we’ll be covering in this roundup.
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How much should I spend?
On the face of it, adjustable dumbbells appear very expensive, with very few selectorised adjustable dumbbells falling below the £150 mark. While you’re sure to find regular dumbbells at a cheaper price, we’d argue that the money a good adjustable dumbbell will save you in the long run, by combining multiple weights into one, makes the steep upfront cost worthwhile.
Here’s an example to illustrate my point. The Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbell featured in our roundup usually sells for around £220, and includes 15 weight options between 2kg and 24kg. If you were to buy these separately, you could easily end up spending a lot more – not to mention the space that it would take up in your home gym.
With this in mind, adjustable dumbbells can be a great investment, but perhaps only if you’re going to commit to a dedicated weightlifting regime. If you’re just after a basic pair of dumbbells for a causal arm workout, then you should check out our best dumbbells roundup first.
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The best adjustable dumbbells you can buy in 2023
1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell: Best overall adjustable dumbbell
Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon
Before you wince at the idea of spending over £200 on a single dumbbell, understand that you’ll be saving a great deal of money and space in the long run with this piece of kit.
Bowflex’s SelectTech dumbbell is a selectorised dumbbell, which means its weight can be adjusted simply by turning a dial when the dumbbell is resting in its base. It combines 15 weights ranging from 2kg to 24kg, so you can easily achieve a varied workout.
Key features – Main material: Metal, plastic base; Weight range: 2-24kg; Number of weight options: 15
Also consider: Everlast Adjustable Dumbbell
With a dial to adjust the weights, Everlast’s adjustable dumbbell works very much in the same way as the Bowflex one above, yet at a fraction of the price. Around £150 will get you a dumbbell range of weights between 2.5kg and 25kg, which can be adjusted at 2.5kg increments. A heftier version of the Everlast adjustable dumbbell, with a maximum weight of 32.5kg, is available for £200, as well as a smaller 12.5kg version for £60.
Despite the (comparatively) affordable price, Sports Direct categorises the Everlast Adjustable Dumbbell as an “oversized delivery” which will cost £15.
2. York Fitness 20kg cast iron dumbbell set: Best spinlock dumbbell set
Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Amazon
If you can’t afford a selectorised dumbbell, opting for a spinlock one can be a more affordable adjustable alternative. This cast iron dumbbell set from York Fitness has a maximum weight of 20kg and comes with 12 discs of varying weights (0.5kg, 1.25kg and 2.5kg). Bear in mind that 20kg is the overall weight of both dumbbells, including the weights of the bars.
Adjusting the weights requires sliding the discs onto the bar and securing them in place with the spinlock collar. This is more of a laborious process when compared to a selectorised dumbbell, but a pair of these is significantly cheaper than a single Bowflex SelectTech dumbbell.
You can also purchase additional weight discs for the spinlock bars. Two 10kg discs, for instance, will cost you £55.
Key features – Main material: Cast iron; Weight range: 0.5-20kg; Number of weights: 12 (4 x 0.5kg, 4 x 1.25kg x 4 x 2.5kg)
3. Strongology Adjustable Dumbbell, 2.2-11kg: Best entry level adjustable dumbbell
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon
This dumbbell from Strongology has got a more limited weight range when compared to the Bowflex and Everlast dumbbells featured above, but it’s a good entry-level option for those who are unsure whether the investment into a more expensive selectorised dumbbell is worthwhile.
For well below £100, this is an easily adjustable dumbbell with weight options ranging from 2.2kg to 11kg. While it’s in its base, simply move the pin into the chosen slot and you’re good to go.
Key features – Main material: Unspecified; Weight range: 2.2-11kg; Number of weight options: 5
4. Nice C Dumbbells: Best lightweight adjustable dumbbells
Price when reviewed: From £52 | Check price at Amazon
The Nice C adjustable dumbbells, sold in pairs, are much lighter than the other options in our roundup. Each dumbbell has a weight of 1kg, which can be increased by inserting small metal weight blocks. There are four blocks for each dumbbell, and adding two on either side of the dumbbell will increase its weight to a maximum of 2kg.
You’re not going to be able to achieve the same levels of strength training that you are with some of the other dumbbells featured above. However, they’re a decent lightweight option for physical therapy and toning as well as cardio workouts. And the non-slip neoprene makes them easy to grip.
Key features – Main material: Plastic, neoprene, metal weight blocks; Weight range: 1-2kg; Number of weight options: 3 (per dumbbell)
5. PowerBlock Sport 90 EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbells: Best space-saving dumbbell
Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at Decathlon
US company PowerBlock takes a unique approach to the adjustable dumbbell as, rather than relying on a rotary dial and locking mechanism like rivals BowFlex, it uses a clever stacking system that’s adjusted via a sliding selector pin.
Designed to replace 16 pairs of dumbbells, the set ranges from 2.3kg to 22.7kg (blame the imperial to metric conversion for the odd numbers) which can be rapidly adjusted by dumping the weight back inside the rest of the stack and then moving the pin up or down.
Granted, the dumbbells are a slightly odd shape – quite large and blocky – proving difficult to wield. For example, it’s impossible to hold them as you would a normal dumbbell in a goblet squat or double-handed tricep extension. But they provide a great platform for performing press ups, or for single-arm rows from the floor.
Above all else, the weight spread is impressive, and should prove more than enough for even advanced lifters to perform a variety of exercises at home.
If the weight range (and price) seem too punchy, PowerBlock also offers the Sport 2.4, which is a much cheaper set, covering a weight spread of 1.5kg to 11kg over eight increments.
Key features – Main material: Chrome and plastic; Weight range: 2.3-22.7kg; Number of weight options: 16
6. JaxJox DumbbellConnect Adjustable Dumbbell Pair: Best high-tech dumbbell
Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Argos
JaxJox really missed a trick by not calling this clever piece of equipment the SmartBell, because it does a lot more than offering effortless weight adjustment via the touch of a digital button, from 3.6kg to 22.7kg per dumbbell.
The weights sync via Bluetooth to the JaxJox smartphone app which will track reps, volume, sets, average power, and workout duration in real time. You then have the ability to delve into data, post-workout. Or you can sign up to follow-along strength programmes, if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee.
Using and adjusting the weight mid-workout is simple, with a clear display on the front of the weight cradle showing the current weight, and plus or minus buttons to allow for 3kg incremental changes in either direction.
Key features – Main material: Latex-free plastic; Weight range: 3.6-22.7kg; Number of weight options: 8