Best Dumbbells for Home Workouts
The best dumbbells from our research as well as our own testing is the Bowflex 552s.
These dumbbells for the most part feel like regular dumbbells, they are quick to change (though some have complained about the weights sticking to the tray, but I will tell you a trick on this below, and for the price you can get a fully functioning gym for a fraction of the price if you were to buy single dumbbells for each weight.
In many of Beachbody’s workouts, as well as other workouts you might do at home, strength training is a key part of the process. After performing body weight exercises for a period of time your body becomes used to the moves, so either you will need to change it up, increase the rep count, slow them down, or add weights. The addition of a few pounds will help make your muscles work harder, which will really help confuse your muscles which in turn results in weight loss and muscle gain.
Why are the Bowflex 552s the Best Adjustable Dumbbells?
For one we aren’t the only site that thinks this is the case. The Wirecutter wrote up a good review on them, and I’ve seen other fitness blogs that also agree with this statement. For me, a big proponent of BeachBody workouts like P90X3, T25, and the Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I do a lot of HIIT workouts that go at a fast pace, and it’s imperative that I spend as little time as possible switching out weights. With the Bowflex 552’s I can easily twist to the right number and lift and I can start the next move. Even when I get tired I don’t have any issue changing the weights, and finally our basement is so much more organized with just a single set of adjustable dumbbells vs the mess and tripping hazard of our previous incarnation.
Why Adjustable Dumbbells?
If you go into any gym you are likely to see rows and rows of dumbbells. These are the kids that are a fixed weight, meaning they might have a 5 or a 15, or even a 55 stamped on the weight. When you want to use one you go and find the number you want to life, use it for your sets, and return it. For different exercises you may want a different amount of weight. For example when I do a bench press with dumbbells I’m going to lift a lot more than if I were to do a bicep curl. Having individual weight dumbbells are great for gyms because it’s easy to share, they have the space, and you can find the exact weight you are looking for, unless someone forgot to return it.
At home we used to have 2 5 pound dumbbells, 2 10 pound dumbbells, and a single 2 pound dumbbell, and those weights would end up becoming a tripping hazard, or they would roll under a shelf in the basement, or one of the kids would somehow grab a 5 pounder a hide it, turning the morning workout into a hide and seek game. We also wanted more variation, sure the 10’s were great for shoulder presses, but they were way too light for any chest presses, and my wife found the 10’s to be too heavy for some overhead moves, but the 5’s were just too light for her.
In short while it was very easy to pick up the weight you wanted (when you could find it), it was going to be more challenging to add more weights to our house, and as we worked out we got stronger and needed more variation.
What are some Alternatives?
As I mentioned before you can always do what we did and buy the weights individually, expect to spend around $1 per pound for the most basic weights, and more for the coated variety. The cheapest option to get you started will obviously just be the weight, but if you are ok spending a little more you can get the coated dumbbells which I prefer. On Amazon they have some nice options, like the SPRI vinyl dumbbells.
I prefer vinyl coating as it will last longer than other coatings and after a lot of lifting using these dumbbells I don’t have raw skin on my hands, or those marks that most raw dumbbells leave on my ski. I know a lot of guys prefer getting calluses, or not wearing gloves, but for me I really don’t like the maintenance of calluses, and my skin always cracks in the winter, so either I’ll find some gloves, or use coated dumbbells.
Additional Dumbbell Options
While we think the Bowflex 552s are the best adjustable dumbbell, and in fact the best dumbbells for home workouts, there are other adjustable dumbbells that might fit your needs better.
We have a few dumbbells are our house and have used them with a lot of success for workouts like P90X3, and P90X. We have a pair of 5 pound dumbbells, a pair of 10 pound dumbbells, and a 20 and 25. I bought them years ago and they’ve held up great. For starting out these are likely going to be the best route to take as they tend to price out around $1/pound. And when starting out you likely won’t be lifting too heavy.
These Cap barbells are the standard barbell you will find in gyms, for a good reason, they have solid designs, they look great, the grip is nice, and you won’t find that the paint easily chips off like some other brands.
Adjustable dumbbells are different from those above in that you can adjust the amount of weight within the dumbbell itself. There are a number of different types of adjustable dumbbells, from the ones that screw on the weight, or slide the weights on, to ones that you turn a dial, or remove a key.
What you want to look for in adjustable dumbbells is not only comfort, but you also want to find a set that matches the types of workouts you will be doing.
If you are going to focus on HIIT or workouts where you will be changing the weights often and quickly, like a P90X3 or P90x, then you will want to find adjustable dumbbells that can be quickly changed, even when you are shaking and tired from the routine.
For those we recommend the Bowflex 552’s.
When you are looking at workouts like BodyBeast, or if you know you will be lifting heavy, and time to change the weight doesn’t matter as much, then we recommend the Powerblocs’s.
If price is a concern, and you are fine taking a little longer, and maybe pausing the workout, then a set of generic adjustable dumbbells like these will be great.