Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells buyers guide

Dumbbells may be the ultimate tool for enhancing overall fitness.

If your goals include gaining muscle, losing fat, increasing strength, boosting power or enhancing endurance, dumbbells can help make it happen.

Their versatility allows them to be utilized in a wide variety of exercise programs while their unique design can help destroy asymmetries and increase range of motion.

Adjustable dumbbells offer all the benefits of traditional dumbbells while avoiding some of their biggest shortfalls.

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What are the best adjustable dumbbells?

For individuals looking for a cost- and space-efficient alternative to traditional dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells are an amazing option.

They’re especially attractive for those looking to exercise at home or those who prioritize easily-portable equipment (such as individuals who frequently travel).

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the best adjustable dumbbell sets currently available for sale.

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What are adjustable dumbbells?

At first glance, a pair of adjustable dumbbells may not appear so different from a pair of traditional dumbbells.

Both have cylindrical handles that allow for a strong, secure grip. Those handles are sandwiched between two circular objects, which is where the majority of the dumbbell’s mass is concentrated.

But while traditional dumbbells feature a fixed weight which cannot be adjusted, adjustable dumbbells have a unique design that allows the user to easily increase or decrease its mass on demand.

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What are the benefits of adjustable dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells offer all the amazing fitness benefits of traditional dumbbells in a smaller, more convenient package.

Training with adjustable dumbbells is a form of resistance training.

Resistance training requires us to use our body to move an external load. Done consistently over time, resistance training leads to adaptations in our body that make us better and more efficient at whatever tasks are included in our workouts.

Depending on your training and recovery protocols, these adaptations may include fat loss, increased strength, increased muscle mass improved balance/coordination, enhanced endurance and increased power. Other key benefits of regular resistance training include improved mood, greater confidence, better sleep, more energy and sharper focus.

Compared to other popular resistance training methods such as barbells or exercise machines, dumbbells possess a few key advantages.

While barbells more easily allow one to handle very heavy loads, dumbbells are better for unilateral training. Unilateral training is exercise that focuses on one limb at a time — for example, a single-arm dumbbell overhead press. Unilateral training enhances core stability, reduces muscle asymmetries and aids in injury prevention.

Dumbbells also allow for an extraordinary amount of exercise variety. A barbell, with its more unwieldy design, doesn’t allow for the same amount of diversity in exercise selection.

Compared to exercise machines, dumbbells do a superior job of activating our stabilizer muscles, which are the smaller muscles throughout our body that helps us move more efficiently. This is because dumbbells require the exerciser control their mass in all planes of motion simultaneously, while machines typically require control in just a single plane at a time.

The key differentiator between traditional dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells is the latter’s easily adjustable nature.

Since traditional dumbbells have a fixed weight, more experienced exercisers often require a rack of 20-30 dumbbells of varying weights to successfully execute their fitness program.

While this may work fine in a commercial gym, purchasing and storing so many dumbbells yourself can be exceedingly expensive and wildly inconvenient.

A good pair of adjustable dumbbells essentially offers the same variety as an entire rack of traditional dumbbells while taking up a fraction of the space. The average pair of adjustable dumbbells only take up about one square foot.

What’s more, adjustable dumbbells are typically more affordable than an equivalent range or set of traditional dumbbells.

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How to choose the best adjustable dumbbells for you

Finding the perfect adjustable dumbbells for you depends on factors such as your budget, training level, fitness goals and available space. It also depends on how you rank the importance of items like durability, ease of use, comfort and safety.

Every pair of adjustable dumbbells on our list is more affordable than buying an equivalent range of traditional dumbbells. However, as with any type of weight training equipment, heavier weights are more expensive than lighter weights. And as a general rule of thumb, adjustable dumbbells models that allow for a more seamless adjustment in weight tend to be more expensive than those where the process is more cumbersome.

Dial-and-cradle systems like the Bowflex SelectTech and ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbells offer incredible ease of use, a wide variety of weight settings and easy storability. Meanwhile, bar-and-plate systems like the PANMAX, LEADNOVO and Nice C Adjustable Dumbbells offer a high level of comfort and, thanks to accessories like the barbell connector rod, greater overall versatility.

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No matter which adjustable dumbbells you choose, all of these options can deliver the incredible benefits of resistance training in a relatively small, convenient and cost-efficient package.

Happy training! 

Rich is an avid bodybuilder who has dedicated over 20 years of his life to the sport. He has a strong passion for health and fitness, living a clean lifestyle with a commitment to helping others educate themselves and fulfil their true potential.

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