Working out at home is a great option for individuals who want to pursue a fitness program but don’t have the time to visit the gym. Going to the gym requires an extra trip out of the house, and because most gyms are only open during regular business hours, scheduling can be difficult. There are many options available for home fitness equipment, but one of the most effective and inexpensive options is an adjustable dumbbell set. Sets like the Bowflex SelectTech 552 offer a wide range of free weight workouts in a small, affordable package.
What Is the Bowflex SelectTech 552
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a set of adjustable dumbbells that feature a large indicator knob on end. The knob allows the user to select the desired amount of weight. Workout out with free weights is a popular and versatile approach to strength training. Programs such as P90X and other free training videos on YouTube frequently use free weights. Besides targeting and activating specific muscle groups, free weights activate stabilizing muscles which results in a better overall workout. Free weights also allow for a wider range of motion than traditional home gyms.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 set of adjustable dumbbells has 15 weight settings that increase at 2.5-pound intervals. The settings available are 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 lbs. The dumbbells feature a durable molding that eliminates the clinking noise made by other dumbbells. The dumbbells are an attractive black with red highlights. They measure 15.75 inches long by 8 inches wide and stand at the height of 9 inches. The unit also comes with an attractive storage tray for the dumbbells.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is available on Amazon for around $$$.
How It Compares
We tested the Bowflex SelectTech 552 on various factors to see how they performed. These factors included: price, ease of use, weight range, design quality, and materials. We also compared these dumbbells to some other systems that are available. These included:
- Bowflex SelectTech 1090
- Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System
- XMark Adjustable Dumbbell
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
$$$ is a very reasonable price to pay for what is essentially a complete dumbbell set.
Ease of Use
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 has one of the best weight change systems of any set of adjustable dumbbells on the market. The knob at the end of the unit is large enough to use even while wearing gloves. The weight indicator on the knob is easy to read. No matter what the selected weight, the dumbbell always felt balanced. The handle was comfortable, and no portion of the dumbbell interfered with the range of motion.
The weight range from 5 to 52.5 pounds at 2.5-pound increments is suitable for most free weight programs. Much adjustable weight sets only allow the user to increase in increments of 5 pounds, so the Bowflex SelectTech 552’s 2.5-pound increment allows greater versatility. 52.5 pounds is a sufficient maximum weight for tremendous strength gains. Using free weights heavier than 52.5 pounds is unusual except in advanced programs.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is one of the best-looking sets of adjustable dumbbells we’ve ever seen. Many sets of adjustable dumbbells are boxy and have awkward weight change systems. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 narrows down at the ends, which makes it balance better and improves the aesthetic of the design. The durable molding on the weights is pleasant to the touch and keeps the weights from making noise.
Everything about these adjustable dumbbells is durable and built to last. Even the storage tray is tough enough to take a beating from the weights. We subjected these weights to intense usage and experienced no scratching or chipping. After engaging the weight change selector, the dumbbells are not subject to loosening.
- Excellent weight change system
- A wide range of weights that increase in 2.5-pound increments
- 52.5-pound max weight
- Some programs might require heavier weight.
Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is the next step up from the Bowflex SelectTech 552. 1090 is available as a single dumbbell and has a weight range from 10 to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments. The 17 weight settings are 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, and 90 lbs. The unit is 17.5 inches long by 10 inches wide and stands at the height of 10 inches. The dumbbell has an indicator knob on end and sits in a storage tray.
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is available for $$$ per dumbbell, which means a set is twice as expensive as the Bowflex SelectTech 552.
Ease of Use
Except for the additional weight, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is very similar to the Bowflex SelectTech 552. The dumbbell features good design and balance, and the weight change knob is easy to use. The 5-pound increments mean this unit is not as versatile as the 552. Also, the unit is not as comfortable to use at lower weights.
The weight range from 10 to 90 pounds means that this is a complete free weight set. This unit features great balance at the heavier weight settings, but it is awkward at the lower weights. We preferred the 2.5-pound increments of the Bowflex SelectTech 552.
We feel that Bowflex should have made a second adjustable dumbbell with a range of 50 to 90 pounds rather than try to fit a whole free weight set into a single weight. The low weight balance of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is superior to the Bowflex SelectTech 1090, and we feel they tried to do too much with this product.
The construction and the design of this product are of very high quality. We subjected the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 to strenuous use and experienced no chipping or scratching on the unit.
- Weight range from 10 to 90 pounds
- Excellent weight change system
- Excellent materials
- Awkward at low weights
Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand
The Ironmaster, a 75-Pound Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell system, features two dumbbells with a range from 5 to 75 pounds. The change mechanism features four locking screws that twist into the end of the dumbbell. The weights are square, and the unit measures 6.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches tall and is 14.5 inches long at the 75-pound size. Add-on kits are available that go up to 120 pounds for each dumbbell.
The Ironmaster, 75-Pound Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System, is available for $$$. The base price includes two dumbbells, weights, and a stand.
Ease of Use
The weights feature good balance, and there are no components to the handle that interrupt the range of motion. The weight change mechanism is difficult to operate. Users must remove the locking screw from the end of each weight, add or remove weights, and then return the locking screw. This mechanism is time-consuming and awkward.
The 5 to 75-pound weight range with upgrades available makes this a versatile unit. The weights go up in increments of 5 pounds.
The awkward weight change mechanism makes this a difficult unit to recommend. The quick-lock system does not require multiple turns like a screw lock system, but users must remove the quick-lock screw to change weights. The weight change mechanism of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 allows users to change weights with the turn of a knob which is much better.
This unit features a high-quality iron and steel construction. This is an adjustable dumbbell set that will endure years of rigorous use.
- 5 to 75-pound weight range
- Good construction materials
- Weights have a good balance
- Upgrades are available
- The weight change system is awkward
XMark Adjustable Dumbbell
The XMark Adjustable Dumbbell is an entry-level dumbbell that features a 10 to 25-pound weight range in increments of 5 pounds. The unit measures 6 inches wide by 5 inches tall and is 15.5 inches long. The dumbbells feature chrome-plated steel construction. The weight change mechanism is a lever system on the top of the unit. The dumbbells also include storage trays.
The XMark Adjustable Dumbbell is available for around $$$ per pair.
Ease of Use
The lever system of the XMark Adjustable Dumbbell is an improvement over the quick-lock screw system of the Ironmaster dumbbell set. However, the user still must make two adjustments on each dumbbell to change the weight. The lever weight change system became worn and ineffective after a time.
This unit had the smallest weight range of all the units we tested. It only offered weights of 10, 15, 20, and 25 pounds. Users would be better off purchasing the equivalent free weights than purchasing this adjustable dumbbell set.
The weight change system on this set of adjustable dumbbells was faster than the Ironmaster quick-lock screw system. However, the weight change system for the XMark Adjustable dumbbell is flimsy. We experienced problems with the weight change lever almost immediately.
The manufacturer used poor material for the weight change lever. The chrome-covered steel of the weights chipped easily.
- Weight range from 10 to 25 pounds
- The weight change system is poor
- The unit features substandard materials
- Tiny weight range
A home-free weight system is one of the best choices for a home gym. Free weights are a versatile form of strength training. Free weights offer a much larger range of motion than home gyms and are good at activating stabilizers and targeted muscle groups. A complete free-weight set can take up a large amount of space and be very expensive. However, adjustable dumbbell sets allow individuals to have a complete free weight set in a small package and at an affordable cost. We tested several adjustable dumbbell sets before picking our choice for the best adjustable dumbbell set available.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a compact, affordable, and attractive adjustable dumbbell set. It offers a range from 5 to 52.5 pounds at 2.5-pound increments that the user selects with a convenient knob on the end of the unit. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 offered the best balance no matter the selected weight and was the easiest to use. Of all the adjustable dumbbell sets we tested, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 had the best combination of versatility, efficiency, and functionality.
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 offered almost twice the weight range of the 552. However, the weight on this unit only increased in increments of 5, and we felt it did not feature good balance at the low-weight selections. 1090 is available at almost twice the price of the Bowflex SelectTech 552. We concluded that Bowflex should offer an extension dumbbell set to go along with the 552 that features a weight range of 50 to 90 pounds.
We did not like the weight change systems for either the Ironmaster 75-pound Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell system or the XMark Adjustable Dumbbell. The Ironmaster had a screw lock system that was awkward, and the XMark had a lever system that was not effective. Both machines required two adjustments per dumbbell to set the desired weight. The XMark featured substandard design and materials.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 allows individuals to get the equivalent of a 15-unit free weight set in a compact, attractive package. The durable molding on the weights keeps them from clinking and prevents wear. The weight change system was convenient and allowed the user to focus on weight training rather than preparing their weights. The superior design and convenience of the Bowflex SelectTech 552, along with its affordable price, earn it our highest recommendation for anyone searching for an adjustable dumbbell set.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
For us, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 left nothing to be desired. This superior machine earns a five-star rating.