Instead of buying several or more pairs of individual dumbbells, many experts recommend an adjustable or selectorized dumbbell set like the Bowflex SelectTech. These dumbbells garner excellent reviews from users, and they are consistently the top-rated adjustable dumbbells on review sites like Amazon.com.
With selectorized dumbbells you can quickly select the weight you want without having to screw and unscrew weight plates like most adjustable dumbbells. The SelectTech system uses a dial system and users say they love how quickly they can change weights. However, a good number of owners warn that the plastic pieces are flimsy and several others had plates fall out unexpectedly. In addition, since the Bowflex SelectTech is bigger than a traditional dumbbell, using the pair can feel awkward during certain exercises. The PowerBlock Sport Series dumbbells (*Est. $150 and up) also get high marks from owners, while the Cap Barbell 40-Pound Set (*Est. $50) is a good choice for home exercisers on a budget.
The best information on the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells comes from user-review sites like Amazon.com and Buzzillions.com. Buzzillions compiles owner-written reviews from SportsAuthority.com and DicksSportingGoods.com. Both of these sites have a good number of reviews for the SelectTech dumbbells. The dumbbells are also covered in some publications, including Women's Health and Esquire magazines, although these sources don't provide much detail.
More than 350 users review the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells at Amazon.com, giving the dumbbells an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Reviewers are impressed with the weight adjustment, saying it's quick and easy to use. Most users are very satisfied, but a few report that the internal plastic parts can break easily, and the weights don't lock in tightly and may fall out.
Review: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells also earn a high overall rating in more than 180 reviews compiled by Buzzillions.com. Users say the dumbbells are great for use in cramped apartments, and many say they are comfortable to hold. However, some think the dumbbells feel awkward during certain exercises and others complain about the price.
Review: Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
There are a number of threads about the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells on the Bodybuilding.com forum. These are serious weightlifters, and many prefer the PowerBlock dumbbells because they can accommodate heavier weights. Users also caution that the Bowflex dumbbells can break easily.
Review: Workout Equipment, Contributors to the Bodybuilding.com forum
4. Women's Health magazine
Women's Health recommends the Bowflex SelectTech as among the best dumbbells for women, saying they are easy to adjust and don't rattle like some adjustable dumbbells. The older version they discuss here has been incorporated into the Bowflex SelectTech 552.
Review: Best Dumbbells for Women, Editors of Women's Health, Dec. 26, 2009
5. Esquire magazine
Physicians Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, authors of the popular YOU series of health books, recommend investing in high-quality exercise equipment rather than paying money for a gym membership. They recommend the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells only in passing.
Review: Better Man: Day 2, Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, April 22, 2008