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In this article we look at the best adjustable dumbbells available in the UK.
If you go to a gym, you will find a rack full of dumbbells in a range of weights. Which is great as you can select the weight you require, return them to the rack and choose the next size up. The gym will generate enough space to store them. However, at home, even if you have a gym setup, you’re less likely to have the room for all the weights you might need, so adjustable dumbbells could be the ideal solution. Even if you have plenty of space, adjustable weights can be quick to change so can still be a better choice.
Quick List – In a rush? Take a look at our recommendations here;
What are adjustable dumbbells?
There are basically two types of adjustable dumbbells; Plate-adjustable and Station adjustable.
Plate-adjustable are probably the most common – the ones that have a bar and you can add and remove the weight plates and secure with a collar; and
Station adjustable or selective dumbbells: Ones that have the ability to move a pin or dial selector that attaches or detaches the weights.
The latter would be my personal choice as the operation is much quicker and easier, and definitely a more compact option. Removing plates normally ends up with a load of them carelessly scattered around the room during your workout, and sometimes afterwards too.
Why choose adjustable dumbbells?
As with any home gym equipment, it’s worth taking some time to think about why you want a particular type. What are you trying to achieve and why?
When I am deciding what gym equipment I want to buy for my home setup, I look at what I use in the commercial gym and how I can replicate it at home. When I first started training at home, which I actually do in addition to the local gym, I bought a reasonably heavy pair of fixed-weight dumbbells, 20kg (45lbs), thinking that would suffice. It wasn’t long before I realised that they were too heavy for some exercises and too light for others. I mean, it’s fine for the occasional session, but not for a regular, full body workout.
If I look at what I use in the gym, just the dumbbells, I go from around 10kg (25lbs) to 30kg (70lbs). Sometimes heavier, but then I might use barbells instead, as they are readily available.
Adjustable dumbbells take up much less room, and can be substantially cheaper than having to purchase the whole set of weights.
What to look for when choosing adjustable dumbbells
As we’ve established, adjustable dumbbells have huge benefits over fixed-weight dumbbells, and Station adjustable/Selective dumbbells offer more versatility than Plate-adjustable. Though everyone is different and you may prefer a different option, so we will include both types in the reviews.
Check out the lightest and heaviest weights you can achieve in your set.
You will probably also want to look at the range of weight options available in your chosen set. Not just the lowest and heaviest possible, but also the combination in-between for different workouts.
Find out if you can expand the set you buy in future – can you add more weights, or is what you get the limit?
What are they made of? – Cast iron will probably last the longest, but this might not be a single factor to your decision process, based on what’s available.
How long is the Warranty? – the longer the better (obviously!)
Top 6 Adjustable Dumbbells
Let’s have a look at what we recommend in the adjustable dumbbell area for your home gym;
Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells
If you are on a budget, or are a beginner, you may want to start off with something low-cost and simple to use.
York Fitness is a well-known brand and has been around for decades, setting their mark on the fitness products world.
This set of two dumbbells gives you a maximum of 20 kg in total: 4 x 0.5 kg, 4 x 1.25 kg, 4 x 2.5 kg (the remaining amount made up by the bars).
The included chrome bars also feature a spinlock for each end to secure the weight plates in place.
- Adjustable hand weights set for strength training in the gym
- York dumbbell workout guide included for home fitness
- 2 x York Chrome Spinlock Collars
- Black 20 kg cast iron dumbbells with 4 premium heavy-duty spinlocks prevent the plates rattling and provide secure workout
- 2 x York 14″ Chrome Spinlock Dumbbell bars; York Cast Iron weight plates = 4 x 0.5 kg, 4 x 1.25 kg, 4 x 2.5 kg
For a little extra, you can upgrade to the Dumbbell Spinlock Set + Spinlock EZ Curl Bar
You can add extra weight to this set, for example the York Fitness Cast Iron Weight Plates will give you an extra 20 kg, or 4 x 5 kg plates.
For an alternative to the above budget option, we recommend this set by Proiron.
The pair of dumbbells gives you the same 20kg total weight, but as a bonus feature, you are given an extender bar, which essentially converts the dumbbell bars into one long barbell, and increases the overall weight to 33kg.
- The dumbbell set includes two handles, four 0.5kg plates, four 1.25kg plates, four 2.5kg plates, 4 collars, and a extended bar.
- Strictly selected materials, free of phthalate and lead. Unique rubber O-ring anti-loose design
- 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.
- 143mm wide hand grip part give more room for your hand to grip, making it easier to lift without bumping your wrists for doing certain exercises.
Extra weights are available for this set too: PROIRON Cast Iron Weight Plates Set
This offers a more customisable option, as you can select which weight variant and quantities you require (in pairs).
Best Mid-Range Dumbbell Set
Surprisingly, there is not much on offer in between a budget and ‘pro’ set, but we did find some great options:
Moving into the Station-Adjustable category, we start with the Power Block Sport 24. The 24 indicating 24lbs in each hand, or 11kg.
They come highly recommended and offer a range from 1.5kg up to the maximum 11kg.
Great starting point, but as you increase your strength you may find you have to upgrade to a heavier set.
- Pair of adjustable dumbbell weights for efficient, cost-effective strength training
- Adjusts from 3 to 24 pounds in 3-pound increments (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24 pounds)
- 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
- Offers maximum weight of 24 pounds per hand; limited 10-year warranty
Next up in the mid-price range you get slightly more weight in your hand, 25kg but just the one dumbbell this time. You can choose a wide range from 2.5 up to the maximum 25kg using a weight adjustable dial.
A great choice in my opinion, with the increased maximum weight, but you may want to buy two, depending on your workout plan.
Note: This is for a single dumbbell set only, not a pair.
- Heavy duty chrome-plated steel
- Adjustable weight: 2.5kg to 25kg in 2.5kg increments
- Space saver: Simply turn the dial adjuster to select the required weight
Best Top-Range Dumbbell Set
Moving up to the top tier in our review of adjustable dumbbells now, and we have found some you will love. Just make sure you can afford it, these are not for the beginner.
Another listing from Power Block we have what they call the ‘Elite’ dumbbells. With a maximum weight of 50lbs, or 22.5kg per hand, this set is adjusted by use of a selector pin.
You have a choice ranging from 2 up to 22.5kg in the following increments: 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22kgs.
This is a great set and is also backed up with a 10-year Home Use Warranty.
- Has a weight range of 5-50 lbs per hand and increments- 2.5 (adder weight), 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 pounds per hand
- Is expandable later to 70 and again to 90 pounds per hand.
- Made in USA
- 10 year home use warranty
- Replaces 16 pairs of dumbbells in the space of 1
You will notice from their description, this set can be upgraded – check the listing for more details
The final listing is another selection from Bowflex, the ‘560 SelectTech’ provides up to 24kg per hand, utilising their dial adjuster system.
In addition, they feature Bluetooth smart technology, enabling you to record sets, reps and weights with your favourite apps. There is even an included app which offers free workouts and coaching videos.
This set also includes a stand, keeping your dumbbells at a better height to prevent you having to bend over too much, and a handy holder for your magazine or tablet.
- Replaces up to 30 dumbbells: Turn the dial to adjust the resistance from 2.3 kg (5 lbs) – 27.2 kg (60 lbs)
- Number of weight settings: 16
- Number of exercises: 30+
- Unique locking mechanism: Locking in the weight selected
- Durable moulding around metal plates: Provides a smooth lift-off & quieter workout
- Integrated Bluetooth® smart technology: Lets you record sets, reps and weight and sync with your favourite Apps
- Free Three Dimensional Trainer (3DT) App: Featuring pre-loaded workouts & over 70 step-by-step coaching videos
- Dimensions: 40.1cm x 23.6cm x 21.9cm per Dumbbell (LxWxH)
- Awards: IDA Design Awards 2015 Silver Winner; 2016 “Best of the Best” RedDot Award
If you are setting up a home gym, adjustable dumbbells are a perfect option to save space and time during your workout. Especially the Station Adjustable ones.
The prices do range quite a lot, but it is certainly worth spending the money if you can afford it.
I would always choose an option that allows me to grow and have a goal to work towards, rather than just stick with what I’m used to, only to find I need to add more weights or upgrade to a whole new set.