Updated: Nov 16
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Adjustable dumbbells are a great addition to any home gym. They are as versatile as a 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.
Best adjustable dumbbells
Ok then, I think I’ve gabbed on long enough. Let’s have a look at some adjustable dumbbells! The first two products are plate adjustable. They have been selected because they have received substantial customer feedback. In addition, they are durable and inexpensive. Making them perfect for those kitting out a home gym on a budget.
The four products that follow are all station adjustable dumbbells. The dumbbells range in price, customer feedback, and resistance options. To check out the dumbbells click the image or any of the highlighted titles. The link will take you to the product page where you'll find a full outline of the dumbbell features.
Best adjustable dumbbells #1: JLL 20kg Cast Iron
The JLL cast iron adjustable 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. With over 1200 reviews, JLL's adjustable dumbbells are one of the best-rated on Amazon.
Best adjustable dumbbells #2: PROIRON
This is an entry-level set of adjustable plate dumbbells from PROIRON. For a penny shy of eighty pounds, 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 the 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 is that customer feedback is sensational. PROIRON's adjustable dumbbells boast a jaw-dropping 11,300 reviews. And over 95% of these reviews are 5 stars. This accolade makes them the best-rated adjustabll on the market.
Best adjustable dumbbells #3: ATIVAFIT
ATIVAFIT's best adjustable dumbbells are the best-rated station adjustable on Amazon. Having received nearly 4000 reviews, over 95% of which are 5 stars, they are a fan favourite. One customer stated that they 'absolutely adore these adjustable dumbbells,' and another said they are 'excellent dumbbells.'
There are two reasons why ATIVAFIT's adjustable dumbbells have been rated so well. The first is the build quality. They are manufactured from 'heavy-duty chrome-plated steel'. These dumbbells have been designed to last a lifetime – and by all accounts, they will.
The second reason why they've receieved nearly 4000 5-star reviews is the price. It's rare that you will find quality training equipment at an affordable price. Other than competition kettlebells, which are comparatively inexpensive and are all but indestructible, ATIVAFIT's adjustables are a close rival.
Best adjustable dumbbell set #4: Athlyt 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 range of weight options.
Best adjustable DBs #5: MuscleSquad 32.5kg
MuscleSquad's station adjustable dumbbells are mighty fine! They look like something you’d find in a state-of-the-art home gym or leisure complex. In addition to the sleek design and professional finish, MuscleSquad adjustable dumbbells boast a maximum weight of 32.5kg - making them the weightiest adjustable available.
MuscleSquad's adjustable dumbbells feature an innovative 'resistance dial'. 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 32.5kg each. They have received over 120 reviews and still retain 5 stars.
Best adjustable dumbbells #6: Power Block
The Power Block adjustable dumbells were one of the first station adjustable on the market. Arguably, they’re responsible for inspiring the movement toward station adjustable and the slew of variations available today. Though they were initially expensive, retailing for a wallet-aching £350, they have come down in price considerably. The Power Block adjustable above cost a competitive £209.
Perhaps the only other drawback with the PowerBlock adjustables 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 (or 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.
The benefits of adjustable dumbbells
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.
Related: 6 reasons to start using dumbbells >
Adjustable dumbbells are cost-effective
Another benefit of adjustable dumbbells is that they are comparatively cheap. Athlyt's adjustable dumbbell block will set you back £150, which sounds like a lot for one 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.
Variable dumbbells are space sensitive
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. Not only do they feature an extensive weight range, but they are compacted into a single block no bigger than a small toolbox. It's these reasons and a few more besides why adjustable dumbbells are becoming increasingly popular.
Related: 10 Must-have pieces of training kit for the home gym >
Adjustable dumbbells are versatility
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. As I mentioned in the introduction, adjustable dumbbells can be used to develop strength and muscular endurance while also being incorporated into any style of training from HIIT to CrossFit.
16 exercises you can do with adjustable dumbbells
Bicep curls → Reverse curls → Triceps extension → Single arm row → Lateral raises → Lunges → Flys → Chest press → Chest flys → Shrugs → Squats → Overhead squats → Snatches → Cleans → Single arm press → Vertical lift → Swing (as you would a kettlebell) → Bent-over rows → Try this dumbbell back workout >
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.
Related: The best dumbbell back exercises >
Best adjustable dumbbells Buyer's Guide
As with everything nowadays, we’ve got an abundance of choices. Not only do we have to decide which pair from the plethora of products to choose from (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 adjustable you merely plonk them into the station, click the desired weight and away you go. Easy as that!
Another positive of station adjustable dumbbells 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.
Best adjustable dumbbells final rep
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:
The first factor is how much of a difference it’s going to make to your life manually changing weights between sets. The station adjustable dumbbells are a bit more expensive than plates, but they are much more efficient to use and they take up a lot less space.
However, if money is not an option and you want a state-of-the-art home fitness suit, any of the station adjustables will do fine.
About Adam Priest –
A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and wellbeing practitioner. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam via LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org.