If you are trying to replicate a full gym setup in your own home you will no doubt have realised how much space you need for all your equipment. Even by the time you have bought 5 or 6 sets of dumbbells, a weight bench and a barbell you will realise that your space is at a premium.
Luckily, there are some products that help with saving space and can also help you save a few pennies – and one of the ultimate pieces of equipment that will help you save both space and money is a set of adjustable dumbbells.
The best adjustable dumbbells will provide you with access to the equivalent of 10+ weights that generally range from around 2kg per dumbbell to 20-25kg per dumbbell – some even go as high as 32.5kg! They might seem costly on the face of it, but when you consider how many weights they replace they soon start to look very affordable indeed.
We have compiled the best adjustable dumbbells in the UK and are showcasing them here in our handy buyers guide.
But first, let’s take a quick look at what to look for if you are thinking of buying a set of adjustable dumbbells.
What Is An Adjustable Dumbbell?
This might seem like a pretty basic question but it is one that is worth exploring. Unless a dumbbell has a fixed weight like hex cast iron or rubber dumbbells then the chances are it is adjustable.
There are essentially two main types of adjustable dumbbells – they are selectorised and spin-lock. Selectorised dumbbells are generally more expensive but are also the most convenient and compact whereas spin-lock dumbbells require you to add plates to adjust the weight.
An adjustable dumbbell is essentially any kind of dumbbell that allows you to change the weight. Whether it is worth purchasing an adjustable weight is likely going to come down to your personal preferences and the amount of space you have in your home gym.
If you have space for a rack and the budget to buy 10 or more sets of fixed weight dumbbells then this is probably the best option overall – but for many of us that is simply not practical and so adjustables become the next best option.
Selectorised Vs. Spin Lock Dumbbells
Selectorised dumbbells are by far the most convenient and easy to use weights after fixed weight versions. They usually have some form of weight selector whether that be a pin selector, knob or turnable handle that allows you to select the weight you need.
Usually this releases a certain amount of weight from the handle so that when you pick it up you are left with just the weight you selected.
The main benefit of selectorised weights is that they are much more compact – often taking up just a little bit more space than a shoe box per dumbbell. They are also quicker to switch from one weight to another and make your workouts much more time efficient when compared to spin lock varieties.
Spin lock dumbbells on the other hand require a lot more manual input and feature a plastic or metal spin lock at the end of each dumbbell that is attached to the central bar. You have to remove this spin lock from each end of the handle and then remove or add the weight plates that you require – much like you might do with a barbell.
This means if you are changing the weight of two dumbbells you will have to unscrew four spin locks in total and then re-screw them once the weight has been altered. Often this can be achieved during rest times in between sets but some people do find this off-putting.
The key benefits of spin lock dumbbells is that they are are well balanced in terms of their shape so they tend to feel more natural and are more aligned with a standard dumbbell you might find at the gym. Secondly, they are often more cost effective to buy as they don’t have so many complex parts.
Top Adjustable Dumbbells
We have selected a mixture of selectorised and spin-lock dumbbells for you to choose from. If you have a tight budget then there are some excellent spin-lock options whereas if you really want to maximise those space saving efficiencies and you have the budget there are some excellent selectorised options available to you.
All of these adjustable dumbbells are available in the UK at the time of writing and have been tested by a member of the Fitness Push team. They are displayed in order of our preference – 1 being the best, but all of these dumbbells are fit for purpose.
MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbells
MuscleSquad offer a range of adjustable dumbbells that differ only by the maximum weight they hold. We are featuring the 32.5kg dumbbells as they are pretty much the only manufacturer that offer adjustable dumbbells that are as heavy as that.
They also make 25kg and 12.5kg adjustable dumbbells and all options are available as a single unit or a pair and compare pretty favourably to the competition in terms of price.
The 32.5kg dumbbell starts at 5kg and then increases to 32.5kg in 2.5kg increments. This is perfect for progressive overload and the maximum weight load provides plenty of room for progression for most users.
Thanks to the high weight, these dumbbells can be used for a wide variety of exercises and will be just as effective on lower body exercises as well as upper body compound and isolation exercises.
The dumbbell sits atop a well made and sturdy base and the weight itself holds a range of metal weight plates. The knurled handle is very comfortable and provides excellent grip. Switching from one weight to another is quick and easy and is performed by moving the dial on the outer section of the dumbbells.
In terms of value for money it is hard to beat this offering from MuscleSquad.
Not only are they budget friendly when compared to other adjustable dumbbells but when you consider a single 32.5kg dumbbell might cost you in the region of £100-£130 and then you have another 12 weights on top of this, you could be saving hundreds of pounds by opting for these adjustables compared to a range of single weights.
ISOGYM Adjustable Dumbbells
ISOGYM is a fairly new UK based fitness brand but they have impressed us with their customer service and product range time and time again over the last few months.
Not only do they have some of the fastest UK shipping times (we received ours less than 24 hours after ordering) but the ISOGYM dumbbell is actually a really excellent product.
The ISOGYM is a selectorised dumbbell that has a unique twisting handle that is used to select your preferred weight. The handle itself is really comfortable and has a textured rubber grip that is perfect for lifting heavy weights.
Speaking of heavy, this dumbbell has a maximum weight of 20kg which might not be as much as some of the other dumbbells we tested but this is one of the easiest and most comfortable to use without a doubt.
The dumbbell is made of high grade aluminium and has a premium plastic covering. What sets this dumbbell apart from other selectorised dumbbells is the overall balance and feel of the weight in your hands – it really does feel like a normal dumbbell.
The weights available with the ISOGYM are 2.3kg, 3.8kg, 4.2kg, 5.3kg, 5.8kg, 6.8kg, 7.2kg, 8.4kg, 8.8kg, 10.3kg, 12.5kg, 14.5kg, 15.5kg, 17.5kg, 18.5kg and 20kg which means it has 16 different weights to choose from in total.
There is a dual display at the top of the dumbbell that displays the weight in kgs and lbs so matter which you prefer to use you can see the weight selected clearly. The weights that are not used stay in the base unit so when you lift the dumbbell they remain. If you are using the full 20kg then no weights are left behind.
It is hard to imagine how ISOGYM could improve upon the design and usability of this dumbbell and it even comes with a 3 year warranty for added peace of mind. They are sold as singles so we would recommend buying two so you can have a full complement of exercises at your disposal.
Athlyt Adjustable Dumbbell
Another selectorised dumbbell comes from reputable manufacturer Athlyt. There are a couple of versions of this adjustable dumbbell so just be sure to check the maximum weight if you are planning on purchasing this model.
We tested the 25kg model but there is also a version that has a maximum weight of just 12.5kg. The 12.5kg model is cheaper but will limit you in terms of progression after time.
The design of the Athlyt adjustable dumbbell is hexagonal which gives it a similar look and feel to hex dumbbells so if you are used to those then Athlyt is a decent option. They are a little more affordable than our top pick but are also sold in singles so be aware of this when you order.
The 25kg version of the Athlyt starts at 2.5kg and then goes up in 2.5kg increments right up to 25kg. The selector for the weight is found at the side of the weight and is a dial as opposed to using the handle – this is a more common method of selecting weights and is also quick and easy to do.
The handle on this dumbbell is very comfortable to use and has a good amount of grip which is ideal for lifting heavier weights.
Overall this is a top pick at a fair price and is a worthy addition to any home gym set up. If you need 25kg of weight then this is probably the best option at this price.
Bowflex Selecttech 552
Bowflex made their name in creating multi gyms with flexible bows instead of standard cable and pulley weights. Nowadays they make a full range of fitness equipment and have a top adjustable range known as Selecttech.
The Selecttech 552 adjustable dumbbells are without a doubt a premium product in terms of quality, but they are also pretty pricey. They still offer exceptional value when compared to buying multiple pairs of dumbbells but often these can only be purchased as a pair and that makes it quite a steep investment.
That being said, if money is no object then these are probably the out and out best adjustable dumbbells you can find.
The Bowflex dumbbells have an impressive maximum weight of 24kg and in total they replace the need for 15 different sets of weights with the lowest weight being 2kg. Generally they increase in 1 or 2 kg increments and the weight is selected using the simple to use dial on the side of each dumbbell.
Everything about this product oozes quality, from the sturdy base to the smooth rounded weights and the comfortable rubber grip. The weight distribution of these weights is absolutely spot on with a smooth plastic moulding around heavy duty metal plates making for a well balanced workout.
The locking and unlocking mechanism works perfectly and weights are always secure when you are ready to lift.
There is a Bowflex app that can be used with the Selecttech range with over 30 exercises at your disposal. They can of course also be used without the app.
The Bowflex dumbbell pair comes with a 2 year warranty for home use and they are so robust they are likely to last for decades to come.
There is nothing particularly fancy about these spin lock dumbbells from Yaheetec but that’s kind of the beauty of them. They are simple, inexpensive but do the job well.
The only real limitation of these dumbbells is that there is a maximum of 30kg of weight plates distributed between the two dumbbells which means a maximum of 15kg per dumbbell if using them at the same time.
While that might mean for big compound exercises such as the chest press you are limited in weight, for isolation exercises such as tricep extensions and bicep curls they are likely going to suffice for most users.
There are 16 weight plates in total with 4 sets of 2.5kg, 2kg, 1.5kg and 1.25kg plates. The bars that hold the plates are pretty long which means you can get plenty of weight on each dumbbell and this is held securely by a plastic star-lock collar.
We had no issues with securing the weights in place and although the handles were not quite as comfortable to grip as the rubber handles found on the selectorised options we listed above, they are more than adequate and match up to those metal ones you find in most commercial gyms – except these are plastic with a knurled finish for extra grip.
The Yaheetec weights are pretty compact overall but will take up a little more space than a selectorised dumbbell. That being said, these offer exceptional value for money and if you are looking for a cheap set of dumbbells you can’t go far wrong with these.
Sportstech 2-in-1 Adjustable Dumbbells
Sportstech have been offering these 2-in-1 dumbbells for some time now and still manage to pull in hundreds of positive reviews. The Sportstech dumbbells are spin-lock dumbbells with a twist – they also convert to a barbell by combining the two dumbbell bars in to one long bar.
There are two options to choose from with a 20kg set and a 30kg set, the latter being our preference as it is going to provide more longevity as you progress.
This weight is split between the two dumbbells so the 30kg set gives you 2 x 15kg dumbbells which for some people might be limiting – if that’s enough for you and you think you would benefit from a barbell too then this is an excellent option.
The iron plates have a protective plastic cover (which is removable) which is pretty handy for home use so you don’t destroy your floor. It also means that these weight plates are incredibly robust and have excellent weight distribution.
The metal spin star locks work very well and we found they held the weights in position incredibly securely.
Every aspect of the Sportstech is well made and for a cheap dumbbell set it is surprisingly high quality. The handles are also very comfortable to use with excellent grip thanks to the textured rubber material used.
All in all, if 15kg per dumbbell and a 30kg barbell is enough weight for your home workouts then this is an excellent buy.
CCLIFE Dumbbells & Kettlebell Set
CCLIFE are quickly making a good name for themselves in the world of weight lifting and they have some excellent products in both the adjustable and non-adjustable dumbbell market.
This adjustable weight set is a little bit different but offers incredible versatility thanks to some pretty clever design work. This set creates two dumbbells, a barbell and even two kettlebells – all of which can hold different amounts of weight.
The only real drawback of this dumbbell set is the total weight with the heaviest set having a total of 20kg of weight – that is 10kg per dumbbell if using both together. The benefit however is that you are also gaining access to a whole host of kettlebell exercises and as a kettlebell it works incredibly well.
The design of this CCLIFE set is impressive and although some aspects of the build quality are not quite as high quality as the other models reviewed here (there is quite a lot of plastic) everything works perfectly well. Most importantly, when weights are in place they are kept very secure thanks to a double-knob system.
The weight plates contain cement and the plastic casing is pretty solid but beware using these on outdoor surfaces as over time you are likely to see damage to the outer layer and pieces of cement coming out of the weights.
All in all, these are an excellent option, are very affordable and the kettlebell feature gives you access to even more workout options.
Power Block Dumbbells
Power Block adjustable dumbbells are sold individually but also in pairs and in terms of cost they compare pretty well to some of the other models we tested – that said, they are towards the upper end in terms of price.
You will notice straight away that Power Blocks look very different to any other kind of adjustable dumbbell in as much as they are more rectangular in shape and as the name suggests they are block shaped.
Don’t let the shape put you off though as these are just as functional as any other dumbbells and some people actually prefer these over the more popular models.
Power Blocks are pretty big over in the US and as such the weight is displayed in pounds rather than kilograms. There are different models with different maximum weights but we tested the 50lb dumbbells which equate to just over 22.6kg. That is for each dumbbell so you are getting a decent level of weight with these.
The weight starts off at 10lbs (4.5kg) which is a little heavier than many of the other dumbbells that start off at around 2.5kg but for most people this 10lb starting weight will be fine. From there, the weights go up in increments of 5lbs which is ideal for progressive overload purposes.
Selecting your weight is quick and easy to do using the selector pin on the front of the dumbbell and the handle is right inside the block. The handle itself is well made and comfortable to use and provides a really good grip.
It does feel a little strange at first putting your hand right in to the block to lift but you soon get used to it and there is no limitation placed on your range of motion as a result of this design.
The weights are really well made and worth the investment. They have one of the smallest footprints of all the models we tested and look neat and tidy when stored in a home gym.
Body Revolution Dumbbells
This offering from Body Revolution is pretty cheap and cheerful but they do the job well. What we love about this spin lock set is that you can choose from a total overall weight with 6 packages available in total ranging from 10kg to 50kg.
The price of these weights is what will attract most people and the fact you can buy just the amount of weight you need is a real bonus. We opted for the 50kg set which provides you with 2 x 25kg dumbbells.
Similar to the Sportstech brand, these dumbbells can also be combined to make a barbell which makes them even better value for money.
In terms of the weights themselves there is nothing to complain about. The plastic spin lock keeps the dumbbells securely in place and we experienced no slipping at all when using them which is often a problem with cheaper dumbbells. The 50kg package comes with 4 x 5kg plates, 8 x 2.5kg plates, 4 x 1.25kg plates and 4 x 1kg plates.
The weight plates are filled with cement and have a vinyl plastic coating which although doesn’t have the most premium look to it, does seem pretty durable and hard wearing. Either way, for indoor use these weights will be fine.
The handle on these dumbbells has a rubber feel and provides excellent grip.
When it comes to value for money, it is hard to beat this set from Body Revolution. They might not last for decades but if you need something to get you through a year or two of home workouts then these should more than suffice.
James is a full time personal trainer and an award winning writer with over 10 years of experience behind him. So far, he has helped hundreds of people with their health and fitness through his career.