When it comes to weightlifting, progressive overload can be both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, it means that you’re improving and need more weight, which can make you feel stronger than ever.
On the contrary, if you workout from home you may need to replace your dumbbells every couple of months because your current set just isn’t challenging enough for you anymore.
So, what are you supposed to do to save both your gains and your wallet? Get a set of adjustable dumbbells!
Thankfully, these handy pieces of exercise equipment sent from god can be pretty affordable if you know where to look. If you aren’t sure where to start though, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some of the best adjustable dumbbells on the market for cheap!
We’ve also brought you a nifty buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision.
OUR TOP PICK
There are a lot of things to love about the CAP Barbell Adjustable Set. One thing particularly worth noting, however, is the screw on design.
This means that you can make even tiny adjustments to the weight you are lifting, and you can put the plates on yourself to fully fine tune your workout.
The dumbbells consist of very durable materials - namely, steel and cast iron. With this, you can be sure that your investment is one that will stand the test of time.
The dumbbells feature knurling on the handle, and this helps to ensure that you have a secure grip while you’re lifting.
The last thing you want is to accidentally drop your dumbbells onto your feet while you’re working out! There aren’t many moving parts to maintain either.
Of course, it’s difficult to mention this product without bringing up just how flexible it is. It offers a lot of weight that you can lift, but without costing nearly as much as more premium models.
It should be noted though that some users have found that the knurling on the handle can sometimes cause calluses, so it may be worth investing in a decent set of weight lifting gloves or some chalk.
- Good value for money
- Durable build
- Lots of plate weights so you can make even minor adjustments
- The knurling on the handles can cause calluses
If you’re just starting out, you may not quite be lifting weights of 25lbs and above. You may not be looking for a particularly heavy set of dumbbells.
If this sounds like you, then the ProForm 25 lb Adjustable Single Dumbbell is a great choice.
These dumbbells weigh around 12.5 pounds each, totalling around 25 pounds when you use both of them together.
For beginners, this is more than sufficient for what you need. It may not be the best fit as your capabilities improve, but they can also be a lot less daunting to use too.
Adjusting the weights is incredibly simple, and can be done in mere minutes.
Furthermore, when you’re finished with the dumbbells, they’re pretty compact so you can just put them in storage without much issue.
They come with a little storage tray to put them in, and they’re even comfortable to hold thanks to the cushioned rubber handle.
In all, a good choice for newcomers to the weightlifting scene looking to get some gains in from home.
- Easy storage
- Lightweight - ideal for beginners
- The weight is rather low, so it may not be the best option to keep in the long run as you improve
There are very few better adjustable dumbbells on the market on a budget than the Bowflex SelectTech 552.
With a maximum weight of 52.5 pounds each, they are more than suitable for every day free weight lifting, in addition to helping you with any compound lifts.
Not only that but the dumbbells also have 15 different weight increments in total, so you can really customize them to your current training needs.
All you need to do to change the weight is turn the dial system, and it’s all sorted. This is definitely a welcome feature that saves a lot of time that could otherwise be spent lifting.
The comfortable round shape is ideal if you want something closer to the kinds of dumbbells you would find in the gym.
They don’t feel at all clunky or awkward to use after a little adjustment period.
As the weight is somewhat heavy, it may be a little too much for people that are total beginners.
- Stand for storing it
- Comfortable to hold
- The high weight can seem a little much for inexperienced lifters
NordicTrack are renowned for their cardio equipment, but their resistance training equipment is just as great! The NordicTrack Speed Weights are a great choice if you want to lift weights on a budget.
First of all, the dumbbells come with storage trays that you can keep them in when you aren’t using them. You can adjust them from 10 pounds right up to 55 pounds in total.
The adjustments are in 5 lbs increments. Changing the weight is pretty simple with the intuitive pulley system - you just need to move it onto the weight that you wish to use and then put it into the right place.
The handle is pretty comfortable as it has been comfort molded. They’re ideal for people that are quite advanced in their fitness journey.
What’s even better is that they take up very little space in your home, so it’s ideal if you’re in an apartment with limited room.
If you’re incorporating them into your home gym, you need not worry about color scheme as these black and blue dumbbells will look great with pretty much any gym set up.
The five pound weight increments are somewhat large though.
- Easy to use
- Reliable brand
- The five pound weight increments may seem a little intimidating for some
The ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbells are a great choice for anyone looking to get serious about lifting.
It’s very simple to change the weight on the dumbbells, as they just have a push and pull kind of design.
It does take a little bit of time to get each weight set up properly. It’s easy to store, too.
The dumbbell is very comfortable to hold and has been designed to be ergonomic for the lifter.
As a wholem these are high quality dumbbells that will be a great asset to anyone looking to hone their weight lifting skill.
They also look pretty attractive, coming in black polished paint that will fit with any home gym.
- Easy to change the weights
- Easy to store
- Comfortable to hold
- While it is easy to set up, it can take a while to do so as all of the weight stacks need to be locked and placed exactly right.
Why Get a Set of Adjustable Dumbbells?
You may be wondering, why not just invest in a set of dumbbells for where you’re at now and just keep buying more as your strength improves?
Well, there are a few reasons for that.
The chances are that you aren’t lifting the same weight for every single exercise.
For instance, you may be able to carry more weight in a bent over row than you could with lateral raises. If you have a different set of weights for every exercise, that can be a little troublesome.
With adjustable weights, you can make even the tiniest of adjustments. So, instead of standard numbers like 1 lbs, 5 lbs, 10 lbs and more, adjustable dumbbells can actually let you alter the weight in quarters of a pound.
This means week by week you can make the tiniest adjustments to the weight you lift without buying any new dumbbells every time.
Furthermore, let’s face it - we don’t all have space for a full blown home gym in our garage, complete with a full weight rack.
If you don’t have the space, then you need to be smart about saving it. A set of adjustable dumbbells can give you the versatility that you would get with a whole rack of dumbbells but without space being limited.
You can do all sorts of exercises with adjustable dumbbells, including lateral raises, barbell curls, shoulder presses, upright rows and so much more.
Sold yet? If so, read on…
Things to Consider
One does not simply pick up the first set of adjustable dumbbells they see.
Oh no - you need to choose a set that will really help you to bring your training to the next level.
There are a lot of considerations to be made before you make your purchase, so let us break it down for you.
The main appeal of adjustable dumbbells is that you can alter the weight to fit with your individual needs, and you wouldn’t need to buy numerous solitary sets of dumbbells.
Of course, with that being said, when you are looking for a set of adjustable weights you need to take a good look at the range of weight levels available.
It’s crucial that you get a set of adjustable dumbbells that has a good enough weight range for what you need. For example, if you often exercise with rather heavy weights then an adjustable dumbbells set that goes up to less than 25 pounds likely won’t be suitable for you.
You can find adjustable dumbbells that can go from 20 lbs to more than 70 lbs so you don’t need to settle for less weight, which will be rather arbitrary for your training anyway.
You should also take some time to think about how much the weight can increase too.
It’s better to choose a set of dumbbells that can go up in smaller increments like 2.5 pounds rather than five or 10 pound increments, as it means you aren’t attempting to lift something too heavy for what you can handle at a single point in time.
You can also consider dumbbells that accommodate extra weight plates. These can help you to lift more later down the line, but they will cost more money to buy.
Adjustable Dumbbells are all pretty similar in a lot of respects. They allow your to remove or add weights, just locking them on to a bar in the middle.
If you aren’t using them, you can set them down on a holder or stand. With that being said, there are some that work a little differently.
There are some designs on the market that use things like grooved handles along with weight plats that you can detach.
With these, you screw them on and put cogs on the end to hold them into position. This means they won’t come off while you workout.
As you may imagine, this is a somewhat outdated design that can be a bit tiresome to use after a while.
It can get pretty boring trying to screw on the plates every time you want to go up a resistance level, so many modern options will utilize a modern design.
Some models are also more rounded, while others are shaped more box like and are thicker.
It is worth noting that you will likely find your adjustable dumbbells are much larger and wider than a normal dumbbells that weighs the same.
Some people may find this a little awkward at first. If you want something that feels closer to a normal dumbbell you should opt for the rounded design.
One of the scariest things about buying adjustable dumbbells for many is that they can be so expensive.
Yes, adjustable dumbbells do cost more money than traditional models, but it’s more of a long term investment. Thankfully though, finding an affordable set of dumbbells is certainly doable.
It should be noted that just because you’re buying a cheaper model, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a high quality.
There are a whole bunch of fantastic adjustable dumbbells at a low price tag that can last for quite some time and will give you everything you need for the perfect home workout.
You aren’t always going to have your dumbbells in your hands - not unless you’re just that into working out that you cuddle up to your equipment at night.
As a result of this, you need to make sure that you have a good way to store the dumbbells. There’s no need to buy a huge rack or anything.
You should ideally look for a set of adjustable dumbbells that come with a stand. This means that they will have a specific spot in your home, and they can be kept safe.
You can sleep well at night in the knowledge that your dumbbells aren’t going to come flying through your home at night, tripping you up as you walk because they haven’t been stored correctly.
Some adjustable dumbbells literally come with the bar and the weights and that’s it, while others give you a little bit of extra bang for your buck.
You may find some model that come with things like rubber handles, and this means that you can grip them with ease.
You may find that some have knurling on the metal bar to give you more support while you grip the dumbbells.
You should definitely take some time to look at the range of features that the set is going to offer.
If you are buying dumbbells on a tighter budget though, you should remember that you may not get as many additional features as you would get with a more premium model.
From now on, you’re just going to be using one pair of dumbbells to do a lot of your resistance training workouts. That’s why it’s so important that the option that you choose is durable.
You want something that’s going to stand the test of time. Take a moment to think about what sorts of materials that dumbbells are made out of, the exterior coating, and how the weight change mechanism works. These are key things that can influence the durability of the dumbbells.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use adjustable dumbbells?
It’s possible to use your adjustable dumbbells for a wide range of different exercises, which means you can use them to work all of your main muscle groups.
If you’re training upper body, you can try things like rows, bicep curls, tricep extensions and lateral raises.
If you want to train the lower body, simply hold onto the dumbbells as you do things like lunges, squats and deadlifts.
You can even do things like weighted sit ups, halos, seated pressed and more.