A set of adjustable dumbbells is great to save space but they can be a bit expensive. What are the best affordable adjustable dumbbell sets? Here’s what you want to know.
A set of adjustable dumbbells with selection mechanism that’s adjustable from 5 to 50 lbs. costs $280 – $330. A set with screw collars with the same weight range can be purchased for $105 – $145. A pair of adjustable dumbbells is much cheaper than a full set of fixed dumbbells of the same weight.
What are the numbers behind that statement and why are adjustable dumbbells cheaper than normal ones? Keep reading to find out.
Recommended Cheap Adjustable Dumbbells
Here are the best sets of adjustable dumbbells. We’re looking for sets that are easy to use, high quality and are affordable. They also should have a pretty wide range of weights to cover the needs of most people.
1. Yes4All Screw Collar Dumbbells
The cheapest set of adjustable dumbbells is going to be a screw collar set. These are basically just tiny barbells you put weight plates on and screw down with a big nut on both ends. These Yes4All dumbbells are no different.
They are decent quality and you can pick the set you want. They have sets of different weights; 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105, 200 lbs. You can pick the weight you need and not pay more than necessary. You could even add your own (1”) weight plates later if necessary. Keep in mind that the weights advertised are for both dumbbells together.
For most people, the 105 lbs. set will be the most suitable.
With a screw collar the weight is more difficult to change than on the other adjustable dumbbells but you do save a lot of money. So if your budget is small, this is the best way to get a full set of dumbbells.
Tip: If you already have a set of 1” weight plates, you can also just get the handles and screw collars. This will be even cheaper.
2. BowFlex ST552
This is (next to power block) the standard in adjustable dumbbells. They work well, have a range of 5-50 lbs. and while not the cheapest, they are overall a very good choice. Especially since there are pretty regular discounts that bring it pretty close to the cheaper alternatives. If you can find such a discount, this is a great choice.
These dumbbells are adjustable in 5 lbs. increments which is smaller than most of the cheap dumbbells. Some of the cheap adjustable dumbbells have much larger increments which is not very useful.
3. CAP Adjustable
The CAP adjustable dumbbells are a good alternative to the ST552. They are quite a bit cheaper (be careful, they’re sold as singles but even then they’re a good bit cheaper.
They have a 10-55 lbs. weight range which similar to the BowFlex ones except you miss the 5 lbs. option and gain a 55 lbs. option. The 5 lbs. is not a big miss for most people. If you need the 5 lbs. option, these dumbbells are cheap enough that you’ll have a bit of money left to buy a separate set of 5 lbs. dumbbells. The 55 lbs. option is a nice gain for stronger people.
Other than that, the quality is good, the weight is adjustable in 5 lbs. increments. Just remember you have to order 2 of them since the 10-55 lbs. ones are sold as singles.
How To Save Money on Adjustable Dumbbells
As we will go into below, adjustable dumbbells are much cheaper than a set of fixed dumbbells. However, there is also a lot of difference in the price of adjustable dumbbells. If you really want to pay as little as possible but still get something good, what are your options.
There are a few ways you can get your hands on a really cheap set of adjustable dumbbells;
- Shop second hand
- Go for screw collar sets
Plenty of people buy a set of dumbbells with the best of intentions and then barely use them. At some point, a lot of those will end up on the second hand market. So if you have some patience and don’t have your eye on one exact model, keep your eye on craigslist, FB market place, etc. A good deal is bound to pop up sooner or later.
As mentioned above, screw collar adjustable dumbbells are much cheaper than ones with a selectorized adjustment mechanism and is more durable to boot. They do take much more time and effort to change the weight on however.
Adjustable Dumbbell Prices
Let’s get into it and take a look at the prices of adjustable dumbbells.
The prices in the list are current prices at a big retailer. Brands and models have been removed because retailers don’t like prices being listed outside of their platform since the prices change quickly and might not be completely correct. Doing it this way still gives a good impression of what you can expect to pay.
Prices are without shipping & handling and accessories.
|Adjustment mechanism||Price (pair)||Weight lowest||Weight Highest||$/total lbs.|
As you can see from that chart, the average price of a set of adjustable dumbbells is $278.06 with prices ranging from 69.99 to $647. Of course not every set weighs the same. Even though they are adjustable, that doesn’t mean they all go up to the same weight.
That’s why it makes more sense to compare the price per pound. That’s the price per pound of the maximum weight of the dumbbell.
That number is $2.36. This isn’t comparable to the average price of fixed dumbbells since we only looked at the heaviest setting. The beauty of adjustable dumbbells is that you reuse the same weight over and over again for the different total weights.
If you’re interested in comparing fixed and adjustable dumbbells, scroll down to find out more.
Throwing all adjustable dumbbells in a single heap isn’t really fair. We can divide adjustable dumbbells into two categories;
- Screw collar
The first type has some type of knob, button or dial that selects the weight if they’re in the base station. This is a very quick way to change the weights since it’s done in a couple of seconds.
The second type has two collars and a threaded bar. You have to unscrew the collar, change the plates and screw the collar back on. This takes longer than with the selectorized ones.
It’s worth it to dig into the price differences of those two types because they are pretty big.
Let’s take a look at the prices of selectorized dumbbells
|Adjustment mechanism||Price (pair)||Weight lowest||Weight Highest||$/max lbs.|
Now we can see a pretty big difference in average prices by just splitting up the list.
The average price for a set of adjustable dumbbells is about $350. Since not every set has the same amount of maximum weight, it makes more sense to compare the price per pound. Selectorized dumbbells have an average price per pound of $3.02 with a range of $2.31 to $3.59 per pound although the majority is pretty close to the average.
Some sets with a higher maximum weight have a higher price per pound. That might seem contradictory but it isn’t. The higher weights require a higher build quality which costs more money. Also, if you compare it to high weight fixed dumbbells; it’s actually getting cheaper relatively.
Screw Collar Dumbbells
Now here’s the list of screw collar adjustable dumbbells.
|Type||Set Price||Min Weight (lbs./side)||Max weight (lbs./side)||$/total lbs.|
Clearly the prices for this type are very different. The average price per lbs. is only $1.21 which is much lower than the selectorized type. That is because this type is so much simpler. There is no selection mechanism or base station necessary. That’s a lot of R&D and construction you don’t have to pay for.
It’s by far the cheapest way to get a set of dumbbells in your home gym, much cheaper than adjustable but also fixed dumbbells.
Fixed vs. Adjustable Dumbbell Prices
Being able to use the same materials again makes adjustable dumbbells much more cost efficient even though it looks more expensive if you only look at the maximum weight.
A pair of 50 lbs. fixed dumbbells costs only about $130 where a pair of 50 lbs. adjustable DBs costs about $300. But for that $300 you also get 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 lbs. weights. Now if you would look at a set of fixed dumbbells with the same weights, that will cost at least $700.
Look at it like this
- Selectorized adjustable dumbbells 5 to 50 lbs.: +-$280-$330
- Screw collar adjustable dumbbells 5 to 50 lbs.: +- $120
- Set of fixed dumbbells 5 to 50 lbs. with 5 lbs. intervals: +-$700
It’s easy to see adjustable dumbbells are much cheaper than fixed dumbbells.
An average adjustable dumbbell that ranges from 5 to 50 lbs. only uses 50 lbs. of total materials and one handle. Less material means less cost. Sure you pay more for the selector mechanism but you save a lot of money on materials. So, a full set of fixed dumbbells from 5 to 50 pounds is much more expensive than one pair of adjustable dumbbells
Of course if you don’t need all the different weights, you comparison might look different. Besides that, there are also some other benefits to fixed dumbbells. Fixed dumbbells might last longer than selectorized dumbbells because there is just less that can go wrong.
Why are adjustable dumbbells so expensive? Adjustable dumbbells are very cheap for what you get. If you compare a single set of fixed dumbbells to a set of adjustable dumbbells, they seem expensive. However, adjustable dumbbells can replace many different pairs of fixed ones. Once you add up the cost of all different fixed dumbbells, you’ll see that adjustable ones are actually cheaper.
Can you drop adjustable dumbbells? Adjustable dumbbells with a selection mechanism should not be dropped. A selection mechanism is more vulnerable than fixed dumbbells. And when the selection mechanism is broken, you just have a set of fixed dumbbells.