Are Solid or Adjustable Dumbbells Best for Home Gyms?

Adjustable Dumbbells Best for Home Gyms

Dumbbells are an essential component of any gym. It’s an incredibly versatile piece of equipment that allows you to train virtually every muscle group, from your shoulders to your legs. And when building a home gym, there are two options for dumbbells- solid or adjustable. Choosing which type to go for can be tricky, as they both have advantages and drawbacks. In this article, we’ll answer the tricky question, are solid or adjustable dumbbells best for home gyms? Keep reading to find out more.

What is an Adjustable Dumbbell?

Before we can even answer the question, are solid or adjustable dumbbells best for home gyms? First, let’s make sure we know what an adjustable dumbbell is.

An adjustable dumbbell is a unique dumbbell that allows you to change its weight via various methods, like dials or adding more weight plates. They come in multiple designs, including spinlock, dial, and digital.

adjustable dumbbells

Pros of Adjustable Dumbbells

Here are the most significant advantages of adjustable dumbbells

  • Saves Space: One of the biggest advantages of buying adjustable dumbbells is that it will save you a lot of space. Instead of finding space for ten solid dumbbells with different weights, you’ll need to find space for just one. If your home gym space is limited, this advantage is invaluable.
  • Cost Effective: Over the long term, adjustable dumbbells are more cost-effective than their solid counterparts. A good set, such as the Bowflex SelectTech 552, should last you a lifetime, so you’ll never have to buy another dumbbell for your home gym. However, by choosing to use solid dumbbells, you’ll have to purchase multiple sizes, which can quickly become expensive. 
  • Comes with its own rack: A high-quality set of adjustable dumbbells will come with its own stand, which is just one less thing to worry about when setting up your home gym. A dumbbell rack will also help to keep your dumbbells in top condition and save you space.

Cons of Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Lighter Max Weight: If you can lift hefty weights, you might be limited by adjustable dumbbells. Many sets can only go up to around 50 lbs on each side, which isn’t enough for some people. For heavier loads, you will have to pay a premium price.
  • Fragile: Another drawback of adjustable dumbbells is that they’re more delicate than solid dumbbells, which means you won’t be able to drop your weights after heavy sets.
  • More Expensive Outlay Initially: The first-time cost of adjustable dumbbells is generally higher than a few solid dumbbells. It can be difficult for many people to justify spending so much money on a single piece of kit. 

What is a Solid Dumbell?

A solid dumbbell is quite different from an adjustable one. It only has one weight and is generally made from cast iron and rubber. Also, solid dumbbells come in a few designs, such as circular or hexagonal. But overall, there isn’t very much difference between brands as the design is so basic.

Pros of Solid Dumbbells

  • Heavier Max Weight: You’ll be able to find heavier solid dumbbells than adjustable ones. So, if you’re a very experienced lifter, who can lift heavier than adjustable dumbbells can offer, you may prefer solid dumbbells. 
  • More Durable: You’ll also be able to drop solid dumbbells on the ground without worrying about them breaking. Solid dumbbells are just a chunk of steel instead of a complex arrangement of pins and levers, so the chances of breaking them are low. 
  • Rubber Dumbbells: Rubber dumbbells provide less of an impact on floors, therefore, reducing noise and vibration, especially in an apartment home gym. 

Cons of Solid Dumbbells

  • Takes up Space: Solid dumbbells take up much more room than adjustable dumbbells because you’ll need a different dumbbell for every weight you want to use and a rack to store them. Solid dumbbells can quickly eat away at your space, so they might not be the best option if you have a smaller home gym.
  • Long-Term Cost: Over the long term, using solid dumbbells will probably cost you more than investing in a set of adjustable ones. This is because you’ll constantly have to buy new ones as you become able to lift heavier weights or if you’re looking to implement different exercises into your routine.

Is it worth getting Adjustable Dumbbells?

Generally, I would advise anyone looking to get dumbbells for their home gym to purchase an adjustable version. Adjustable dumbbells come with various advantages over fixed dumbbells, making your life much easier in the long run.

For instance, adjustable dumbbells are much more versatile and allow you to train with different weights and intensities. This feature will enable you to optimize your progressive overload and ultimately see better results.

Adjustable dumbbells are also a great choice if you’re on a budget because you’re essentially getting an entire dumbbell rack for a fraction of the price.

However, if you lift very heavy weights, adjustable dumbbells might not be worth it. As you lift heavier dumbbells, you’ll want something sturdier and more durable without worrying that it might break if you accidentally drop it from a height.

Ultimately, for most people, it is clear that adjustable dumbbells are the best choice for home gyms.

What is a good price for Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells come in a variety of prices. Unfortunately, as with most things, the cheaper you go, the less quality you’ll get.

If you’re on a real budget, you should be able to pick up a set of adjustable dumbbells for $60. These will generally be a spinlock design, with a weight limit of around 20KG on each side.

If you have a little more money, you can get an excellent set of dial dumbbells for about $220. These are much more convenient to use and worth every penny more.

Finally, if you’re looking for the best pair of dumbbells around, expect to pay upwards of $400.

Are Adjustable Dumbbells awkward to use?

Certain styles of adjustable dumbbells can be pretty awkward, while others are easy and convenient. Generally, the cheaper you go, the more awkward the dumbbell will be.

The most awkward type of adjustable dumbbells to use is spinlock dumbbells. This design requires you to spin the clips on and off before changing plates, which can take quite a while. As a result, drop sets become near impossible to complete.

A much more convenient design is ‘dial dumbbells.’ Dial dumbbells allow you to set your desired weight, and the dumbbell will automatically adjust. This makes working out much easier.

In summary, dumbbells can be awkward if you go for a cheap, poorly designed pair. However, if you use a pair of dial adjustable dumbbells, you’ll find their use easy and more convenient.

best dumbbells for home

Do Adjustable Dumbbells break if your drop them?

It’s no secret that adjustable dumbbells are much less durable than solid dumbbells. This lack of durability is from the use of delicate pins and locking mechanisms that are fragile and easily broken. So, if you’re planning on using adjustable dumbbells, it’s best not to drop them.

Which type of Adjustable Dumbbell is best for home gyms?

As I’ve previously mentioned, several types of adjustable dumbbells are available, which begs the question, are spinlock, digital, or dial adjustable dumbbells best for home gyms?

Generally, dial dumbbells will be perfect for most people. They’re convenient, reasonably priced, and will last you a lifetime. Conversely, spinlock dumbbells are annoying and often of ordinary build quality. And digital dumbbells are far too expensive to justify.

So, if you want a set of adjustable dumbbells, I recommend going for the dial design.

Which Adjustable Dumbbells should I buy?

If this article has convinced you to purchase some adjustable dumbbells, you may wonder which set you should buy. One set which I would highly recommend is the Bowflex SelectTech 552. They use a dial design, so they are straightforward to use. They also look great, go up to 52.5 lbs on each side, and are competitively priced. From my experience of buying some terrible adjustable dumbbell sets in the past, the Bowflex set will make your workouts more enjoyable and effective.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that, for most people, adjustable dumbbells are the best option. They’re far cheaper, more versatile, take up less space, and overall, much better suited for a home gym. Sure, in an ideal world, your home gym would look like a commercial one, with a line of dumbbells going up in 2-4 lb increments. But most people don’t have the money or space to justify this. So, pick up a set of adjustable dumbbells if you’re looking for a cost-effective and convenient way to add isolated exercises to your workouts.

About the Author

James is a freelance writer with a passion for fitness. He has written for multiple businesses, and takes great pride in producing high-quality articles. When he’s not pounding away at the keyboard James is sweating it out at the gym, boxing, watching tennis, and playing video games

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