While many beginners start their weight training with fixed weight dumbbells, we feel that if you’re tight on cash or are on a budget, you’ll be better served with the best cheap adjustable dumbbells.
They may be slightly more expensive than fixed dumbbells, but you do get the benefit of being able to use various weights and not just one. This lets you train different muscles using the proper weight and not just make do with that single poundage.
Our cheap adjustable dumbbell sets below comprise of different amounts of weights so you can pick out the one that you’ll need. Do consider getting something that is more than what you currently can lift so that you can progress later on just by adding more plates instead of having to buy a new set.
This is a good starter set for beginners. It comes at a low price which lets it make our best cheap adjustable dumbbell reviews. This set consists of:
- a pair of handles
- four 5 lb. weight plates
- four 2.5 lb. weight plates
- 4 spin lock collars
- a storing case for all the weights and handles
You’ll notice that the total amount on of the weights only comes out to 30 lbs. That’s because the handles and the collars weigh a total of 10 lbs., of which 5 lbs. for each hand. This gives you the 40 pounds total.
This is a simple to use set that is very inexpensive so you can workout in your own room. They have a cast iron construction making them durable and coated with enamel to protect the exterior. The handles are likewise knurled to make it easy to grip and so they won’t slip
To get more weight options you can try looking at Yest4All’s adjustable dumbbell sets. They offer 4 different weight packages starting from 40 lbs., which is similarly priced as the CAP Barbell set above. The breakdown of the weight plates are exactly the same so get the that 40 lbs.
To break things down you can choose from:
- 40 pound set of dumbbells
- 52.5 pound set of dumbbells
- 60 pound set
- 105 pound set
Each of the sets come with different number of plates to make the total poundage so they’re priced differently. But, on a cost per pound basis they come out among the cheapest around.
As you’d expect the higher up you go the cheaper the cost per pound gets, with the 105 lb. set costing less than $1.00 per pound of weight.
The collars work well and don’t slip out or lose tread as you lift keeping you safe. However, as with most of the cheap dumbbell weight sets, you’ll notice a paint smell when you get the package. This comes from the weights and it isn’t pleasant. But you can expect that from just about all the inexpensive brands. Good news is that the smell does go away over time.
If you lift heavy or are an intermediate lifter, the smaller poundages just won’t work for you. This 200 lb. set is something that’s more up your alley. Each side goes up to as much 100 lbs. so you can do heavy flat or incline presses on a weight bench.
This will definitely allow you to build up not only your upper body but also your lower body. The high amount of weight makes it heavy enough to use for squats, lunges and split squats so you can workout your lower body just as much as your upper body.
This set may also be a good idea if you are committed to your workout. If you’re consistent with your training, you’ll eventually need heavier weights and getting something that can go up further than what you can already lift now saves you from having to buy another set. The advantage of this is you can go as low as 5 lbs. per hand and work your way up.
The weights are made from high quality cast iron construction while the handles are chrome so they are durable and strong enough to hold the heavy weight.
Up to this point, our top picks have been those with the traditional plate and lock design dumbbells where we have a spin lock or clip that holds the plates in place.
The issue with this method is whenever you want to change the weight, you’ll need to take the locks off, then switch out both sides of the bar’s weights and clip the lock back on. Then do the same with the other.
This is fine if you don’t change the poundage much. But if you do, it becomes a chore. It also doesn’t work if you you’re doing something like P90X or circuit training where you want to be able to quickly transition from one exercise to another.
This is where selectorized dumbbells come in. By turning a dial or changing the position of a selector pin you can modify the weight in less than 3 seconds.
If that’s what you need here are what we recommend.
These aren’t the cheapest adjustable dumbbells around but they offer you great value for money. How they work is that each dumbbell comes with proprietary trays. When you turn the dials on the outer ends of each unit the weight changes to the number that’s written on top.
The rest of the weights are left on the trays so you only lift the amount you selected. You get a pair of dumbbells by the way for this package.
This lets you change weights in under 3 seconds. Each side allows you to choose from as low as 5 lbs. to 52.5 pounds. So the total maximum weight of the 2 dumbbells is 105 lbs.
The increments of the weights go up by 2.5 pounds in the lower weights (up to 25 lbs.). After 25 lbs. it each turn in the dial increases the weight by 5 lbs.
This is a good option if you don’t want to have a lot of weight plates lying around or an entire collection of dumbbells.
A more affordable option to the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is this PowerBlock dumbbell. It works very similarly to the SelectTech but uses a different design. Instead of the usual round shape it has a rectangular block shape.
The blocks themselves work like the tray in the Bowflex unit where you’ll only pull out the amount of weight you’ve selected. With this device though, instead of a dial, you use a selector pin to change the poundage, much like how you do it with the gym machines.
This costs much cheaper than the Bowflex, though it does have a more limited maximum weight, which may be ideal for your workout requirements. The SportBlock 2.4 lets you lift between 3 lbs. to as much as 24 lbs. and goes up in weight at increments of 3 lbs.
This gives you a total max weight of 48 lbs. if you combine both hands.