Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Introduction | Benefits of adjustable dumbbells | Adjustable dumbbell Buyer's Guide | The 6 best adjustable dumbbells | Plate adjustable dumbbells | Station adjustable dumbbells

A picture of a pair of adjustable dumbbells in a home gym.


Adjustable dumbbells are a great addition to any home gym. They are as versatile as Swiss Army knife and they can be incorporated into every conceivable style of training. Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for circuit training, HIIT and AMRAP sessions.

In addition, adjustable dumbbells can help you build functional strength and muscular endurance. They are also the favourite training tool for those people trying to sculpt a lean, defined physique.

Unlike barbells, kettlebells and strongman equipment, which typically target whole muscle groups, adjustable dumbbells enable you to target and isolate specific muscles. This makes them perfect for developing a lagging muscle, or increasing the sharpness and separation between muscles.

The benefits of adjustable dumbbells

A picture of two strongmen. One is striking a muscle pose and the other is holding a huge dumbbell.

Dumbbells aren't the Stone Age training kit that they used to be, back when circus strongmen bolted two boulders to an iron rod. Dumbbells have evolved!

Adjustable dumbbells are superior to singular dumbbells for three reasons. Firstly, thanks to their innovative design they enable you to access an extensive weight range. For example, Athlyt's Adjustable Dumbbell features a weight range from 2.5kg up to 25kg.

This not only provides you with the opportunity to work through your drop sets, but the broad variation in weights means that all members of your family could use them.

Another benefit of adjustable dumbbells is that they are comparatively cheap. Athlyt's adjustable dumbbell block will set you back £150, which sounds a lot for qone piece of training equipment.

However, with Athlyt's adjustable dumbbells you get 11 weight options (2.5kg, 5kg, 7.5kg, 10kg, 12.5kg, 15kg, 17.5kg, 20kg, 22.5kg and 25kg). If you were to buy all these as singles, it would cost you nearly four times the price. With adjustable dumbbells you get a lot more kilogram for your pound - if you know what I mean.

The final benefit of adjustable dumbbells is that, unlike singles, they are space sensitive. Most people building a home gym probably won't have the luxury of a large space. The majority of home gyms are situated in a bedroom or garage. Consequently, space is everything.

This is where adjustable dumbbells trump singles. For not only do they feature an extensive weight range, but they are compacted into a single block no bigger than a small tool box. It's these reasons and few more besides why adjustable dumbbells are becoming increasingly popular.

The bewildering versatility of adjustable dumbbells

The adjustable dumbbell is an extremely versatile training tool. If you’re into static exercises you can curl, pull and extend until you’ve got that Lou Ferrigno thing going on.

But if you’ve got an itch for something a bit more functional then you can always shake things up and pop a snatch or a clean into your session. And as I mentioned in the introduction, adjustable dumbbells can be used to develop strength, muscular endurance while also being incorporated into any style of training from HIIT to CrossFit.

16 different exercises you can do with adjustable dumbbells

Bicep curls
Reverse curls
Triceps extension
Single arm row
Lateral raises
Chest press
Chest flys
Overhead squats
Single arm press
Vertical lift
Swing (as you would a kettlebell)
Bent-over rows

That, I think you would agree, is a pretty extensive list of exercises – told you dumbbells were as versatile as a Swiss Army knife. Didn't believe me did you? Thought I was exaggerating? And to think, I haven’t even mentioned those exercises we can incorporate dumbbells into for that extra kick – such as weighted pull-ups, Russian twists, squat jumps and the like.

Adjustable dumbbell Buyer's Guide

A man in his home gym is adding weight to his adjustable dumbbells.

As with everything nowadays we’ve got an abundance of choice. Not only do we have to decide which pair from the plethora of products to choose (though hopefully this article will help with that) but also the style of adjustable dumbbell. Thankfully this is not quite as complicated as there are only two. I will discuss each one in turn.

1: Plate adjustable dumbbells

Plate adjustable dumbbells are the classic style where, after smashing out a drop set, you’ve got to park the dumbbells at the pit-stop and perform a quick plate change. Spin off the stoppers, slide on (or off (or on and off (or off and on))) your plates, spin back on the stoppers and off you go in 12.4 seconds.

With a bit of practice the process is not half as laborious as I’ve made sound. But irrespective of how efficient you get when you’re using a pair and you have to change 4 plates for every set sometimes it can feel as though most of your session was spent in the pit.

There is a solution to this problem.

2: Station adjustable dumbbells

Station adjustable dumbbells offer a quicker, sleeker alternative to plates. Instead of parking your pair in the pits every time you need to change a plate, with station adjustables you merely plonk them into the station, click the desired weight and away you go. Easy as that!

Another positive of SAs (to save repetition) is that, because the weights are housed in a nice neat unit (or ‘station’ – hence the name), you are spared the highly irritating and inevitable eventuality of losing a plate – or (and we’ve all be here) loading up the wrong weights and spending a set convincing yourself the left dumbbell is the same weight as the right.

Ok then, I think I’ve gabbed on long enough. Let’s have a look at some adjustable dumbbells! The first three products are plate adjustable and the final three are station adjustable.


The 6 Best Adjustable Dumbbells


Plate Adjustable Dumbbells

Best adjustable dumbbell set #1: JLL 20kg Cast Iron (£109.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • The JLL 20kg Dumbbell Set is a great starter piece.

  • Set Includes: 4x 0.5kg, 4x 1.25kg and 4x 2.5kg Cast Iron Weight Plates. 2x Chrome Plated Dumbbell Bars, 1 steel connecting bar with Spinlock collars.

  • Fully adjustable starter set.

  • It is fully adjustable so you can select the weights you desire to lift. It is quick and easy to adjust the weights as they can be slid on to the bar and secured into place by the spinlock collars.

The JLL cast iron dumbbell is an extremely well rated product and for good reason. For the price of a coffee at a service station you could be the proud owner of the equivalent of (about) sixteen dumbbells. This product has a lot going for it. They are reasonably priced. They have received excellent customer feedback. And they are made from durable materials meaning they’ll last longer than you will.

Over 230 reviews and only two spikes of 5 stars


Best adjustable dumbbell set #2: PROIRON (£199.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • The dumbbell set includes two handles, four 0.5kg plates, four 1.25kg plates, four 2.5kg plates, 4 collars, and a extended bar.

  • Free connection steel tube to change dumbbell to barbell. Give you more functions to build up muscle. With the steel connection tube, you can add more weight plates from 4kg to 33kg (includes bar weight)

  • Ergonomic designed knurled handle grip makes your hands more comfortable.

This is an entry level set of adjustable plate dumbbells from PROIRON. For a penny shy of two hundred quid you’ll get a fairly decent range of weights that’ll offer you the option to work on muscular tonality as well as strength (though if you’ve got your sights set on World’s Strongest man/woman then you’ll probably grow out of these pretty quick as they only go up to 20kg). One point I will mention before moving on, the customer feedback is sensational. After more than 3200 reviews this pair of adjustable dumbbells is still holding on to 4.5 stars.

3200 reviews with 4.5 stars!


Best adjustable dumbbell set #3: CCLIFE (£190.00)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Including: 4x 1kg, 4x 1.25kg and 4x 2.5kg weight plates; 2x plastic coated hollow dumbbell bars; 1 x connecting bar; 4 x spinlock collars

  • The easy adjustment spinlock collars make weight changes a breeze.

  • Floor friendly rubber coating prevents scuffs, scrapes and dents.

If you plan on doing a Ronnie Coleman during your training sessions, and disdainfully throwing your dumbbells to one side after each set, this is probably not the pair for you. The CCLIFE adjustable dumbbells, though well rated, are plastic coated and sand filled. Thus if you do throw or drop them you might be incorporating the hoover into your training session. However, despite the fact that they're sand-filled, CCLIFE's adjustable dumbbells sport an innovative and quite unique feature. They come with an additional attachable rod that enables you to extend them into short barbells.

4 stars with 262 reviews


Station Adjustable Dumbbells

Best adjustable dumbbell set #4: Athlyt 25KG (£ 159.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • The heavy-duty laser cut steel not only looks great but ensures these bad boys will survive a bomb blast.

  • Eleven interchangeable weight options. The increments include: 2.5kg, 5kg, 7.5kg, 10kg, 12.5kg, 15kg, 17.5kg, 20kg, 22.5kg and 25kg.

Athlyt's station adjustable dumbbells are by far one of the best products on the market. The laser cut steel gives these adjustable dumbbells a highly professional finish. But they do more than just look good. They have been constructed from high-quality steels meaning they're built to last. In addition, they feature an interchangeable device that enables you to change up or down the weights with ease. Imprinted on the selector is the corresponding weight, so you won't mistake the 2.5kg for the 25kg. Athlyt’s heavy-duty steel plated dumbbells are reasonably priced and they offer a great rang of weight options.


Best adjustable dumbbell set #5: ZYCSKTL 6-speed 'Fast Adjustable' (£335)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • The dumbbell is made of high-precision silicon steel sheet to enhance the corrosion resistance of the dumbbell.

  • The surface of the dumbbell is high-strength nylon. This material is sweat-resistant and extremely durable.

  • Unlike other adjustable dumbbells to select your weight you merely have to turn the handles.

Damn these are a mighty fine set of adjustable dumbbells! They look like something you’d find in the on-board gym of the Starship Enterprise. I could see Captain Kirk cracking out a set of curls with these bad boys, Spok at his side sinking into a deep ass-to-grass squat.

ZYCSKTL 6-speed 'Fast Adjustable' dumbbells feature an innovative feature. To select the weight you just turn the handle to engage the appropriate gear. Once selected lift the dumbbells out of the block and off you go! There are 8 locking grooves to lock the dumbbell chassis and dumbbell piece in place. So when you start curling they won't rattle and roll. The weight range extends up to 16kg each.


Best adjustable dumbbell set #6: PowerBlock Sport 2.4 (£341.55)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Adjusts from 1.5 kg in 1.5kg increments to 10kg.

  • Selector pin lets you change weights easily, just like with weight stack at the gym.

  • More compact and balanced than traditional dumbbells; padded handle for wrist protection.

The PowerBlock was one of the first station adjustable dumbbells on the market. Really they’re responsible for most all the other variations available today. Though they are a bit pricey this one pair of adjustable dumbbells provides you with eight different weight options.

Perhaps the only other drawback with the PowerBlock is their unconventional shape which could put people off; the iron pumping purist might not be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that in his (of her) home gym sits a pair of square dumbbells. After all, dumbbells are typically cylindrical. However, why not break the mould; sometimes you can reinvent the wheel.


Final Thoughts

All of the dumbbells reviewed in this article will more than suffice for a home gym providing a wide range of weight options without gobbling up the garage. The pair you pick will hinge on two factors:

1) how much of a difference it’s going to make to your life manually changing weights between sets; and 2) how much wonga are you willing to part with.

If you’re building a home gym on a budget and you don’t much care about spending a bit of time spinning plates on and off then the plate adjustable dumbbells are for you. But if you’re an obsessive clock watcher with money to burn you’d be better off with a station adjustables.


(As we are very interested in user feedback at Hungry4Fitness, I would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)

Blog Author

Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.

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