Whether you’re looking to add some muscle or lose some fat, lifting weights is essential to maximise results. This kind of exercise is often referred to as resistance training.
Dumbbells are one of the most effective and easy ways to incorporate resistance training into your routine, so here’s Fitness Savvy’s guide to the Best Adjustable Dumbbells for 2023.
Overall Adjustable Dumbbell Rankings
Below is a quick summary of the best adjustable dumbbell rankings. Click the link below to read more about that particular model.
- MuscleSquad 5kg – 40kg Adjustable Dumbbells
- PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells
- MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell
- Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells SelectTech 552 (Pair) 2-24kg
- Viavito Unisex’s 20 kg Black Cast Iron Dumbbell Set
- York 20kg Cast Iron Dumbbell Set
- Powerblock Sport 2.4 Adjustable Dumbbells
MuscleSquad 5kg – 40kg Adjustable Dumbbells
For 2023, using our unique scoring system, the MuscleSquad 5kg – 40kg takes the crown for the best adjustable dumbbells in the UK.
Customers rated these dumbbells highly – awarding them an almost perfect 4.9 out of 5.
We could not fault this set based on the price, weight load, build quality, and ease of use during testing.
The combination of high weight load, price, space-saving ability, excellent build quality, and happy customers means this set gets a Savvy Score of 9.7 out of 10.
The 40 kg per dumbbell will benefit even advanced lifters, and you can’t go wrong at £400 – £450 per set.
We believe the greatest fault with these weights is the weight adjustment increments. They do not increase by a standard amount – for example, 5kg, 7.5kg, 10kg. Instead, you’ll notice 3kg to 3.5kg stages: 5kg, 8kg, 11kg, 14.5kg, 18kg, 21kg, 24kg, 27.5kg, 30.5kg, 33.5kg, 37kg, 40kg.
In addition, we believe the 3kg – 3.5kg is too much of a difference between settings.
If the set had a better warranty and straightforward weight increments, we would have given this set a full 10 out of 10.
- The MuscleSquad 5kg – 40kg dumbbell set is great value for money, retailing at about £450 at the time of writing.
- We found the handles comfortable and easy to grip during all lifts.
- This set replaces 12 sets of dumbbells, making them a great space-saving option.
- MuscleSquad’s customer service is rated as excellent, earning them a TrustPilot score of 4.9 out of 5 based on over 5,000 reviews.
- The dials operate smoothly.
- The weight increments are odd – rather than moving up in steady increments like 2.5kg, they increase in 3kg and 3.5kg stages.
- Some customers said the weight plates began slipping off after a few months of use. However, we’ve experienced this with most adjustable dumbbell brands while testing, except for PowerBlock.
- The 12-month warranty is not as good as it could be. We would like to see a two-year warranty on a set of adjustable dumbbells – unfortunately, we are yet to find a brand or retailer that offers this.
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PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells
We discovered 118 online customer user reviews of the Powerblock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells. Overall, these adjustable dumbbells scored an incredible 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Combining our expert analysis with customer ratings, we’ve awarded these dumbbells a Savvy Score of 9.6 out of 10.
While these particular adjustable dumbbells allow for quick adjustment between weight settings, they are bulky and, in our opinion, look ugly. However, customers beg to differ, with some taking time to compliment the Pro 50 aesthetics.
The PowerBlock Pro 50 allows users to select a range of 2.5kg – 22.5kg (5 – 50 lbs). This range is well suited to beginner lifters; however, more advanced bodybuilders will require a greater load.
Some Powerblock dumbbells allow for upgrades. This means you can start with a cheaper, lighter set and add additional weights as your strength grows. The Pro 50 is not upgradeable – so bear that in mind when deciding.
With that said, they are still worth the money and will suit beginners with a budget of £400 – £500.
In conclusion, we recommend The Pro 50 to those focussed on hypertrophy or weight loss (not strength) and who prefer narrower weight increments than MuscleSquad offers.
- Compact space-saving design.
- Replaces 19 pairs of dumbbells.
- They look pretty cool, according to a few customers.
- Easy to select the desired load.
- Expertly manufactured.
- The handle is tacky and has great grip ability.
- One reviewer complained that the product was not very well manufactured.
- Not suitable for dropping on the floor.
- This model cannot be upgraded.
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MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell
We discovered 215 online user reviews of the MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell. Overall, customers rated these adjustable dumbbells as 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Combining our expert analysis with these customer ratings, we’ve awarded the MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell set a Savvy Score of 9.3 out of 10.
Unlike other adjustable dumbbells we’ve tested (notably the BodyMax range), the selectorized dial feels well-made and easy to adjust. The BodyMax ones seized up and stopped working altogether in under a year.
The weight range will suit beginners to advanced lifters, and at £400-£450 for a pair, they compete with PowerBlock and Bowflex.
- Exceptional value for money compared to other brands such as Bowflex 552’s.
- Bridges the gap between other adjustable dumbbells, which either go up to around 24kg or 40kg.
- Excellent design and build quality, according to several reviewers.
- Faster to adjust than spinlock dumbbells.
- Take up less space than hex dumbbells.
- Many customers reported fantastic customer service from Muscle Squad.
- Replaces 12 sets of dumbbells in just one set.
- Can’t be dropped like hex dumbbells.
- They are larger than hex dumbbells which one reviewer found awkward.
- Although faster than spinlock dumbbells, it is still a slower adjustment than hex dumbbells, where you can instantly select the required weight.
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Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells SelectTech 552 (Pair) 2-24kg
We looked online and discovered 1,358 customer reviews of the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells SelectTech 552 2-24kg. Overall, these very popular adjustable dumbbells scored 4.7 out of 5.
We awarded these dumbbells a Savvy Score of 9.2 out of 10.
Bowflex dumbbells are a popular option, and we keep a set of these in our Fitness Savvy gym.
As the product description says, these weights range from 2kg to 24kg, replacing the need for ten sets of dumbbells. They allow a good workout for beginner lifters, but again, if you’re serious about building muscle, we expect you will outgrow these quickly.
For serious lifters, you should consider options that go up to at least 30kg for each hand. This is one of the reasons that the MuscleSquad option deserves a higher position in our best adjustable dumbbells list.
- These compact dumbbells take up far less room than a dumbbell rack with individual pairs.
- Quick weight adjustments between sets and exercises – unlike spinlock dumbbells which take a long time to adjust. The dial turns on each end of the dumbbell very smoothly and efficiently.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Increases to heavy weight loads compared with other options (48kg in total across both dumbbells)
- Replaces 15 sets of dumbbells.
- If purchasing in the UK or Europe, the weight is in kilograms, whereas the originals are designed in lbs. This means that the weight moves up in odd increments (4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18 etc.)
- Many customers report having a very poor experience with customer service. Once problems occur, Bowflex is reluctant to take responsibility.
- Some users reported discs falling off while performing weightlifting exercises. This can be dangerous if it happens at the wrong time during a move with heavy weights.
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Viavito Unisex’s 20 kg Black Cast Iron Dumbbell Set
We looked online and discovered 217 customer reviews of the Viavito Unisex’s 20 kg Adjustable Dumbbells. Overall, these adjustable dumbbells scored 4.5 out of 5.
Using our expert analysis and customer ratings, we’ve awarded these dumbbells a Savvy Score of 9 out of 10.
Unlike selectorized dumbbells (which can be quickly adjusted with a pin or dial), the Viavito cast iron dumbbells operate using a spinlock. This means you must undo four collars, change the weight manually, and then re-do the collars.
This can become tiresome and also ruin the flow of the workout. This is why these dumbbells are typically cheaper, suiting people with a budget of £100 or less. Remember, if you want to build muscle, we highly recommend investing in dumbbells that reach at least 30 kg per hand.
- Great value for money – almost identical to the York dumbbells but much cheaper.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Perfect for beginners.
- Excellent quality, according to most customers who bought this product.
- The spinlocks became immediately loose, according to a couple of reviewers.
- The 20 kg refers to both dumbbells combined – one buyer thought this meant each dumbbell, so they warned people to ensure this is what they want.
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York 20kg Cast Iron Dumbbell Set
We discovered 1,388 online user reviews of the York 20kg Cast Iron Dumbbell Set. Overall, these dumbbells scored 4.4 out of 5.
Combining the customer score with our export analysis, we awarded these dumbbells a Savvy Score of 8.9 out of 10.
This dumbbell set is almost identical to the Viavito option and operates similarly. Our advice is to purchase whichever set is cheaper at the time – we don’t believe there to be much difference in quality. The York 20kg dumbbells rated lower simply because they were more expensive at the time of writing.
- Solid bars.
- Look great.
- Most negative reviews were from shoppers on Amazon who reported missing discs, missing collars, damaged parcels and missed deliveries.
- Not massive room for increasing weight and progressively overloading.
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Powerblock Sport 2.4 Adjustable Dumbbells
We discovered 1489 online user reviews of the Powerblock Sport 2.4 Adjustable Dumbbells. Overall, these adjustable dumbbells scored 4.7 out of 5. Users were pleased with the space-saving design, value for money, and ease of changing between weights.
Using our expert analysis and customer ratings, we’ve awarded these dumbbells a Savvy Score of 8.7 out of 10.
This adjustable dumbbell set is quite light compared to others on the list – which is reflected in the cheaper price (retailing at less than half the price of others in our roundup).
Each unit is equivalent to eight dumbbell sets – ranging from 1.5kg to 11kg per hand.
As with the PowerBlock Pro 50, the Sport 2.4 is not upgradeable. For this reason, we only recommend this set for beginners. If you want to build muscle, you will outgrow these in weeks.
- These adjustable dumbbells are great for saving space and are easy to store.
- They list both the metric and imperial weight totals, making it easier to work out how much you’re lifting without converting in your head or with a calculator.
- A great value product – especially when compared to the price of buying individual dumbbell sets.
- Easy to change weight between exercises – especially good for doing drop-sets.
- The weights rattle during exercises, according to some reviewers.
- Some retailers sell these as singles without making it obvious, so ensure you view a pair before buying.
- This particular PowerBlock model cannot be upgraded.
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What to Look For When Buying Adjustable Dumbbells
Types of Adjustable Dumbbells
Spinlock dumbbells have been a feature in home gyms for decades. As a kid, I remember just about everyone had a set of the gold-coloured York spinlock dumbbells with the red collars from Argos!
These cheap weight sets are still as popular today as they ever were.
The appeal is in their simplicity and cheap price point. However, there is a reason they are cheap and here’s why:
- The spinlock mechanism means that it takes longer to adjust the weight. Unlike hex dumbbells such as these awesome JTX Fitness Hex Dumbbells, you must manually undo the spinlock on each side of each dumbbell. That’s four times to take them off and then put them back on again.
- Typically these weights are made using cheap materials. Some report the metal on cast-iron dumbbells being uneven or even sharp, and others have reported the spinlock either jamming, becoming loose, or not working at all.
- You won’t be able to load these dumbbells up with a ton of weight – so once you progressively overload and start lifting heavier and heavier weights, these might become inadequate.
Selectorised dumbbells are more expensive than spinlock dumbbells, but there are some pretty good reasons for this:
- it is far quicker to adjust to the weight you require. Rather than unlocking and re-locking the spinlock eight times every time you change the load, you can do it with a simple selector (often a dial on the side of the weights).
- Selectorised dumbbells can hold bigger loads than their spinlock counterparts.
- The materials are usually better quality on these dumbbells.
How selectorised dumbbells work
Selectorised dumbbells typically sit in a tray. On each side of each dumbbell, you’ll find a dial that shows the load in kilograms or pounds (some models will show both metrics).
Once you select the desired load, lift the weights from the tray. The dial controls the mechanism, meaning only the required weight plates remain attached to the dumbbell handle, while the rest remain in the tray.
Adjustable Dumbbells Pros & Cons
- Less storage space is required when compared with hex dumbbells or other weightlifting equipment.
- More portable than hex dumbbells.
- Produce great results whether you’re looking to build muscle or lose fat.
- One drawback is that cheaper versions can take time to adjust the weight setting.
- The dial can become stuck on the cheaper selectorised dumbbells; in some cases, the discs have fallen off – something we have experienced first-hand!
How We Rated Adjustable Dumbbells
Combining customer ratings with our expert analysis, we award each dumbbell set a Savvy Score. We consider how many dumbbell sets they replace, the maximum weight load, the warranty, whether they are expandable, and the adjustment type.
We also take into account the price. For example, if you spend £90 on a set of spinlock dumbbells, you cannot expect the same features of a £600 set.