Almost everybody has wanted a home gym at some time or another. And dumbbells are a must for any home gym but they can also be the most expensive part of it depending on how much weight you are looking to buy and how many.
There are many options but still they are so expensive almost everywhere you go or look. The adjustable ones can be very expensive as well and when we were first looking it just made no sense.
So why are dumbbells so expensive? There are at least a few reasons why dumbbells are so expensive they are expensive to make as they are compact, durable and built to last a long time. With them being so heavy they are expensive to transport and ship. Lighter weights can be more expensive actually because they are always in demand and when you get to 100lbs not a lot of people percentage wise can lift them.
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Why Are Adjustable Dumbbells So Expensive?
I know I know you go to buy an entire set of dumbbells which are very expensive then you wonder if you have enough room at your place to even store them. So then you look at adjustable dumbbells which are great for apartments or any place where there just isn't enough room to get an entire set of regular dumbbells.
Adjustable dumbbells can range anywhere from $200-500+ depending on how much weight you get and what brand you go with. So yes they can be expensive one of the main reasons behind that is because you are essentially buying an entire rack of weights.
They are more complex then a set of dumbbells so there are more parts that go into them. The other big reason is that there really isn't that many manufacturers that make adjustable dumbbells. So with there being no competition they can mark up the prices as much as they want to.
Are Adjustable Dumbbells Worth It?
Adjustable dumbbells can absolutely be worth it if you know what you are getting into beforehand. They will not completely replace a complete set of dumbbells for a number of different reasons.
- Durability – They aren't as durable as regular iron dumbbells so you do have to be a bit more careful with them.
- Slower – If you are in to circuit training or something like pyramiding down or up in weight with no rest at times that will create a bit of an issue since you have to change it each set. Some of them like the IronMaster takes awhile to change the SelectTech and Powerblocks do change pretty quickly.
- Feel Different – Adjustable Dumbbells feel much different then regular iron dumbbells. PowerBlocks definitely are more blockier and take a bit to get used to. SelectTechs feel pretty close to the usual sets.
Which Adjustable Dumbbells Should I Buy?
There is more of a selection of adjustable dumbbells then there used to be but that's not really saying much. Below are the top 3 out there as of this writing with all of them that have their pros and cons.
With the below you will see a range of prices that is because there are different sets of adjustable weights you can get with all of them. If you can't lift over 50lbs get the lower sets you can get the extensions later.
*These are marked out PER PAIR as well. I know a lot of people and stores show them at One Single Dumbbell which I don't think is right since who only purchases one dumbbell?
SelectTech (Most Popular) – ($300-$600) SelectTechs come in two different models the 552 and 1090. The 552 goes up to 52.5 lbs per dumbbell and the 1090s's go up to 90lbs. These are a great dumbbells as far as fell they have a grip more like a traditional iron dumbbell.
Another pro here is that you able to go up in smaller increments with 2.5 lb at a time if you want. They aren't the quickest to select as they have two dials per dumbbell to adjust. However you can get pretty good at it the more you use them so they aren't the slowest set to get either.
Unfortunately the downside is they are not as durable at all. There have been numerous reports that they have been broken so you need to be a bit gentle.
Overall these are a great choice for a beginner to intermediate individual. If you are going to be aggressive with your weights these might not be the route to go.
PowerBlocks (Best All Around) – You have a couple different options that range from $300-900 depending on weight range, version and where you shop. I personally have the Elite 90 set and bought the expandable set after going with the Elite 50 stage at first. They have since developed new versions that I will definitely look into in the future.
One of the pros is they are very durable I do a lot of different styles of lifting including tabata, circuit, pyramid, burns so the weights need to be changed quickly at times. The Elites I have only have one plastic piece you take out and in two adjust the weights along with two cylinder metal 2.5lb weights inside so you can go in increments of 2.5 starting at 5lbs.
Those are the positives. The negatives are they can be a bit bulky and take some time to get used to. My wife and I do some workouts together on top of the weight workouts I do on my own. Those are Beachbody workouts one of them includes a lot of moving around (called Morning Meltdown 100).
So when you are in awkward positions doing lunges, squats and having to keep the weight close to your sides the dumbbells are bit awkward to keep from hitting your body hard.
Now the newer versions like the Sport EXP Stage 3 set have a more open handle design. I have held these they feel a lot better and more natural. They also have an auto lock system that is much faster then the others.
Powerblocks come a with a 5 year warranty and also accessories for storage and also a straight bar. So you can turn your dumbbells into a straight bar which is pretty cool.
Overall I would definitely go with these ones if you plan on going up in weight to 90lbs and if you are being more active with your dumbbells. What I mean by that is doing quick sets where you need to change weights quickly and also moving around with your dumbbells doing lunges and different angles.
What Dumbbells Should I Buy?
If I was just starting out and had room I would go with a used set of iron dumbbells. You can get on something like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You can get a set for relatively cheap especially if you are patient could literally save you hundreds of dollars.
You can also look for adjustable one's as long as they are something like the PowerBlocks which are durable and you can also get them for cheaper. I would start there.
If you have the money and not that much space go with the adjustable dumbbells. If you are a beginner and not going to lift over 50 lbs go with the lighter bowflex or powerblocks.
PowerBlocks are the best we have used that doesn't mean they are the absolute best. If you are at Dicks Sporting good try out the adjustable dumbbells they have there which include the SelectTechs. Get a feel for it before you commit that much money.
Walmart Dumbbells can be very affordable outside of the usual SelectTech and othe brands. The old iron plates unscrew ones can be very cheap. They can also be annoying as over type they become looser and you have to keep tightening them up every set or even mid-set.
You can get cheap dumbbells on Amazon that are 200lb pairs for cheap and free shipping HERE. Last time I checked they were under $200 and they are bad weight and come in black or chrome.
You can also go the Olympic weight set route. Where you get the Olympic set dumbbell bars then add the weight on along with clips.
There are many options out there. If somebody you know or a gym even have some go try them out before buying that is the best possible scenario.
Go to a Sporting Goods store they have weights there and try them out. I wouldn't get them from the first place unless you have already checked places online like Amazon or Walmart.
Most of them you can expand on them if you start out at lesser weight. Look at the accessories like the straight bar accessory with the PowerBlock.