Adjustable Dumbbells Vs Fixed Dumbbells: Which Are Better?

Adjustable Dumbbells Vs Fixed Dumbbells: Which Are Better?

There’s a lot of debate around which type of weightlifting equipment is better: adjustable dumbbells or fixed weight dumbbells. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of both types of dumbbells so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Let’s get started reading now to know more, and then give a decision what is the best for your needs!
Adjustable Dumbbells Vs Fixed

What Are The Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells such as the Bowflex SelectTech 552 or PowerBlocks are weights that can be adjusted to any weight between two chosen settings – usually 2.5 lbs, 5 lbs, and/or 10 lbs each – by turning a dial on the end of the dumbbell (see pictures below). This is opposed to regular adjustable dumbbells that require you to remove plates and add them back in an alternate order, using a pin system, so as to change the weight setting.

These types of adjustable weights have been popular with home gyms and fitness facilities for over a decade; however, they remain relatively unknown among other weight training groups such as bodybuilders or powerlifters. While these types of weights may be convenient and useful to some, the majority of lifters (and trainers) consider them impractical and unnecessary.

What Are The Fixed Dumbbells?

Fixed dumbbells are the traditional form of weight training equipment that consists of a long bar (usually between 6-7 feet) with free weights on either end. These can range anywhere from 100 pounds to well over 500 pounds for standard and specialty bars such as the axle and buffalo bars. This type of set is considered ideal by most trainers because it allows you to perform hundreds of different exercises, all while keeping the stress equal on both sides throughout the movement. It also allows you to use two hands simultaneously or one hand at a time; where adjustable dumbbells only allow for one-handed movement (of course there are some exceptions).

An important distinction between fixed dumbbells and adjustable ones is that fixed dumbbells will not go out of calibration; while adjustable dumbbells will need to be recalibrated every year or two and should still be recalibrated if they ever get dropped. The free weight plates on fixed dumbbells also allow for a more natural movement when compared to the dial system of an adjustable one, which can potentially cause joint pain.

What About The Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells are a single pair of dumbbells that may be altered in weight to make them heavier or lighter as desired. The maximum weight, lowest weight, and weight intervals vary depending on the set you choose. Furthermore, the adjusting procedure differs across brands. The adjustment mechanism can be divided into two categories:

Plate-Loaded Adjustable Dumbbells: 

Plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells are modified by releasing a locking mechanism, adding or removing plates, and then resecuring the dumbbells by reinstalling the locking mechanism.

It’s crucial to note that there are significant changes in the sorts of locking mechanisms used in this classification of plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells, which can mean the difference between:

A low-quality adjustable dumbbell sets having mediocre features and user-friendliness concerns that make tuning time-consuming and inefficient.

This is a high-quality adjustable dumbbell sets having high – end features and an intuitive simplicity of use that allows for quick and easy adjustment.

Selectorized Adjustable Dumbbells:

Selectorized dumbbells appear in a range of styles, but the premise is the same. You may choose a weight by moving a dial or knob, for example.

Changing the position of a pin in a weighted stack.

This sort of adjustable dumbbell has one distinct benefit over plate-loaded dumbbells: They acclimatise far more quickly than we do. This is undeniably a strong selling point, as well as some lifters may prioritise it over other considerations. There are a few prominent ways, however, that selectorized dumbbells might come up short in other areas:

Less Durable:

Selectorized adjustable dumbbells are less durable than plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells when it comes to drops. This is due to the fact that they must have a more complicated weight adjustment system. This implies there are multiple extra little pieces, several of them made from plastic, in selectorized dumbbells that employ a dial to alter weight. That’s not a prescription for long-term success. Other, more robust selectorized dumbbells, such as those with various size weight cages or brackets that stack inside each other and modify the weight stack using a pin, are available. These are substantially more durable due to the basic design with no little plastic bits to worry about. 

However, because the weight cages and brackets might bend if dropped too hard, they’re still more susceptible to harm than a high-quality plate-loaded dumbbell set. The major disadvantage of speedier adjustment, in my opinion, is the diminished durability. So, if you want to use this type of dumbbell, just remember for being extra cautious when handling it.

Dumbbells With An Unnatural Look And Feel:

Every selectorized dumbbells would have a distinct appearance or feel than conventional dumbbells. Some types, for example, feature assistance in around handle, which helps to box in your wrist. On some lifts, this may restrict your strength and flexibility or prohibit you from holding the handle in specific ways. Depending on anything weight is picked, the selectorized dumbbells having the manual basic alteration program will have crevices between a few weight plates (e.g. there may be a 10 lb plate, taken after by one or two of purge spaces, taken after by a 2.5 plate). This is only a cosmetic issue, not a practical one. 

Furthermore, none of the good selectorized dumbbells I’ve seen had a bare steel handle with rolling for grip. Instead, they have a rubbery substance. Some do feature metal handles, and they mostly have a very limited maximum weight capacity or are of such generally poor construction that they aren’t even worthy of consideration.

On Some Models, The Handle Length Is Excessive:

Although some selectorized dumbbells do accommodate for adjustment of handle length, most don’t. If you purchase one that doesn’t (or if it wouldn’t be adjustable even if this were an option), your range of motion with respect to certain lifts will be severely limited. The more significant the weight adjustments are, the more important this concern becomes. This is not a big deal at all in many cases, but it’s something to remember when making a decision about which adjustable dumbbell set to buy.

For Example: In order to put less strain on my lower back when doing barbell rows, I prefer using a much longer handle than what comes standard with most fixed-weight dumbbell sets. When performing exercises such as these with a shorter handle on some adjustable dumbbells, I might feel discomfort in my back. This is something that you might not even notice if you’re not used to changing the length of your hand grips for different lifts. You just don’t have that option with some adjustable dumbbells, however.

What About The Fixed Dumbbells?

Another major difference between the different types of fixed dumbbells is whether or not dumbbell ends have any type of rubber coating (e.g. urethane, neoprene). The higher quality dumbbells will be rubber-coated, while the less expensive fixed dumbbells will be bare. The rubber coating serves a protective function in the event that the dumbbell is dropped: It protects the dumbbell itself, the floor, and your feet or hands if they get in the way. Regardless of the specific features of a given set of fixed dumbbells, they are, as a category, pretty awesome. I’ll explain why in the following sections.

Go And Grab: 

With fixed dumbbells, there’s no need to adjust anything. Fixed dumbbells aren’t adjustable by definition. There is a set weight for each dumbbell! As a result, fixed dumbbells seem to be the most effective sort of dumbbell set for training sessions that are quick, efficient, and entirely uninterrupted. Of course, changing dumbbells isn’t difficult or a huge stumbling block to your training. But it’s something more you’ll have to consider and do in between sets. If your dumbbell set is absolutely fixed, you can concentrate entirely on what you’re doing: rigorous dumbbell training.

In Terms Of Size, It’s Small And Adaptable.

The vast majority of fixed dumbbells are very lightweight. This means that they’re much more portable than adjustable dumbbells. If you move around a lot during your workout, fixed dumbbells might be preferable for you because you can carry them with you easier than heavier adjustable dumbbells. Also, the size of fixed dumbbell sets increases as the maximum weight gets larger. For example, there are 52-pound sets and 100-pound sets available in addition to 25-lb sets and 45-lb sets. With many adjustable sets, on the other hand, this may not seem like an improvement since adding greater weights also adds greater bulk/size to the set overall!

Drop Sets And Instant Supersets

The majority of drop sets and instant (negative-only) supersets can be performed with both fixed and adjustable dumbbells. Drop sets are when you work your way down to a lighter weight after using a higher weight in order to increase intensity/fatigue. For example, if I start doing bent-over rows using the 45-lb bar and then want to do more reps afterward, I might switch to the 25-lb bar for my next set. This would be an example of a drop set.

Instant supersets are when you perform 2 exercises consecutively without rest between them. If you’re training biceps one day, you might immediately switch to triceps without stopping or resting at all in between your two exercises! You may want to do the first exercise (curls) with a higher weight and then switch to a lighter weight (for concentration curls or cable pushdowns, for instance) after you’re fatigued. This would also be an example of an instant superset.

More Durable

In addition to being more adaptable, fixed dumbbells are much, much more durable than adjustable dumbbells. This makes them a far better choice for intense training sessions or in commercial/public establishments where weights may be dropped repeatedly.

What To Think About When Choosing Adjustable Vs. Fixed Dumbbells:


Adjustable dumbbells are the cheapest (in terms of cost per weight). The largest adjustable dumbbell set is only $250-300. Fixed dumbbells are generally more expensive than adjustable dumbbells, though they are still affordable to most people. Even the biggest fixed dumbbell sets are priced well below what you’d spend on a typical Olympic bar/barbell set with all the weights, plates, etc. included!

As mentioned before, it’s not difficult to switch out or add plates to an adjustable dumbbell set if you need to increase/decrease resistance for any reason. But it does require some time and effort on your part. This makes changing weights slightly less efficient than with fixed dumbbells.


This is where adjustable dumbbells really shine. These are ideal if you don’t have a lot of room for weights, or if you’re tight on storage space. Adjustable dumbbells will take up less room than fixed dumbbells because you can collapse them down between workouts to save space!

Weight Increments

The greatest weight increments on adjustable dumbbell sets typically occur between 10-20 lb levels. If your workouts don’t require extremely small or extremely large weight increments, this will probably be satisfactory for you. But some people need very small increases/decreases in resistance, and sometimes go directly from a 25-lb bar to a 35-lb one instead of increasing by 5 pounds at once! For these people, high-quality fixed dumbbells are ideal because they start out at 5 pounds and increase by 5 pounds after each size increment (a.k.a.: 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 15 lbs, etc.).

Weight Spread

Generally, the greater the weight spread between dumbbells within a set, the better. Fixed dumbbell sets offer a wider range of weights typically than adjustable dumbbell sets because you’re allowed to add extra plates to increase resistance! For example, if you have 4-15 pound fixed dumbbells instead of 8-25 pound adjustable ones, it’s easier to find yourself needing an odd number of pounds for your workouts sometimes (for instance: 9 pounds or 11 pounds). Those extra 2 pounds can make all the difference in achieving proper resistance during some exercises!


Fixed dumbbells are more versatile than adjustable dumbbells because you can use them for almost any exercise imaginable, including barbell exercises like squats and bench presses. You might even be able to use fixed dumbbells for some cable or pulley exercises (though there’s always the risk of dropping them during these types of movements). If your goal is to avoid buying lots of different equipment, fixed dumbbell sets may also lessen the chance that you’ll have to purchase a lot of additional accessories to accomplish certain workouts.


Adjustable dumbbell sets usually take up less space than fixed ones because their handles collapse down into a compact size. The weights themselves typically come in a stand or rack that mounts underneath the handle/heads. Some people consider this extremely helpful because it makes storing weights much easier. Other people don’t like having to store separate pieces, or they disagree with the idea of leaving weights out in the open for safety reasons.

Adjustable dumbbells are ideal if you’re tight on storage space, don’t have much room for weights, or want something that’s easy to move quickly from one location to another. Fixed dumbbells are more suitable if you have a variety of workout locations available and/or prefer not to take up extra space with weight stacks and stands.


Fixed dumbbells are usually more durable because they don’t have moving parts or hinges. Barbells tend to be stronger than dumbbell handles as well because you typically grip them with all of your fingers (not just 2-4). The overall durability will therefore depend on the material used, but it’s generally safer and more reliable for heavy lifters and/or people who like super challenging workouts.

In terms of adjustable dumbbells, the durability tends to vary depending on the quality of the product. If you buy a low-end pair, they may break or lose resistance within 1 year. But if you buy an excellent set like one from PowerBlock, Bowflex, or Ironmaster, they should last you at least 5 years (or much longer).


If you’re someone who likes to do many different exercises, fixed dumbbells may be a better choice. You can work every muscle in your body with only one pair of dumbbells because it’s easy to switch from bench presses and lunges to deadlifts and back again without having to adjust the weight each time. This is incredibly convenient because it saves time, eliminates frustration, and lets you focus on exercising rather than equipment issues.

For people who like to stick to particular weight increments or perform the same exercises over and over, adjustable dumbbells are ideal. Once you get used to a certain level of resistance for an exercise, there’s no need to change anything! Just add or remove as desired so that the poundage is always ideal for your workout needs.

Ease Of Storage And Transportation

Fixed dumbbell sets tend to take up less room, but adjustable ones may be easier to travel with if you’re going from one location to another and want a full set of weights available at all times. If you have limited space in your car or van, however, fixed dumbbells can be more convenient because they’ll never stick out taking up lots of extra space. On the other hand, this isn’t really an issue if you own a truck or large vehicle that can accommodate larger equipment.


One of the main safety issues with fixed dumbbells is that they’re typically long and thin. This means you need to keep them in a secure location where they won’t get knocked over, tripped over, or otherwise damaged. Many people buy mats for this purpose, but some people think these are annoying because they restrict additional exercises or make certain movements more difficult to perform.

With adjustable dumbbells, safety tends not to be much of an issue unless you drop them excessively during exercises like bench presses. However, there have been some reports regarding pinching injuries when trying to put certain types of weights back on the rack/stand if the pins aren’t strong enough or are too close together, especially during fast lifting motions when your hands are sweaty.  


Fixed dumbbells are generally the same size and shape, so it’s just a matter of counting how many pounds you have available. Adjustable dumbbells may be different sizes depending on the number of plates used for each machine, but many have space to insert “add-on” weight bars that come with additional plates. This means you need to take more time figuring out what type of weight is needed for each exercise rather than simply counting the existing weights available.

Other Needs & Preferences

People who like to do very challenging workouts may prefer adjustable dumbbells because they can quickly build up weight levels for serious muscle gains. Fixed sets are usually limited to certain poundage increments so you’ll need to buy several sets if you want more than 100 pounds for your exercises.

Conversely, fixed-weight lifters may not be as concerned about gaining additional resistance because they already have enough weight available to satisfy their goals. It’s also true that beginners or people who prefer lighter weights typically don’t lift more than 100 pounds anyway, so buying a set of fixed dumbbells isn’t really an issue unless you’re doing intense strength training on a regular basis.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of The Fixed Dumbbells?

The fixed dumbbells are generally easy to use.

They can be used for a variety of exercises, and this means that they may be best especially if you want to maximize your workout time and focus on other areas as well. The fixed dumbbells mean that you will easily engage all muscle groups and not just one particular muscle group at a time. Since these dumbbells come in pairs, the user has the advantage of being able to work out with a partner or friend as well which is always an added bonus having someone around who understands what you are going through during workouts. 

Moreover, these models include the safety features like locking mechanisms that are quite popular in this product category. The single handle, for instance, comes with a screw-lock mechanism that allows you to secure weights hence minimizing the chances of injury while high range dumbbells come with quick release plates which allow easy changes when needed.

Some models also come with comfortable rubber grips so that means no slipping or sliding while others have customizable chrome handles making it possible for users to get their desired grip size and adjust accordingly. There are other unique models which come fitted with storage trays apart from offering chrome handles making it possible for users to keep all weights neatly stacked together without posing any risk of injuries.

What Are Some Of The Advantages Of The Adjustable Dumbbells?

The first benefit of an adjustable dumbbell is its cost. As opposed to buying several pairs of fixed dumbbells, adjustable weights may cost only a fraction of the price. This makes it much easier for consumers who are on a budget but still need to get in shape or get healthier. The adjustable dumbbells can then be used for other purposes which means that you will be able to save even more money because multiple items are not needed for each activity you engage in.

The convenience is another benefit since these come with an easy dial system that allows users to change their weight levels quickly and easily during workouts. This gives them significant advantages over fixed-weight dumbbells which might make it difficult to switch resistance levels while working out unless one happens to own several sets. Lastly, many adjustable dumbbells come with a rack to store them so they can be put away when not in use or quickly grabbed for another workout.

So, Which Is Better, Adjustable Dumbbell Or Fixed Weight Dumbbell?

The answer depends on what you are looking for. If convenience, price, and easy storage options are important to you the adjustable dumbbell might be the best bet. However, if you want more weight than 100 pounds or plan to do intense workouts with heavy weights then multiple sets of fixed-weight dumbbells might be better suited for your needs. This is because they can accommodate larger amounts of weight which means that there is less chance that you will need to purchase additional sets during the course of your training.



Who Are Adjustable Dumbbells For? 

The adjustable dumbbells are best suited for the home gym owner who may not have a spotter or anyone around to change their weights if they want to increase or decrease their weight throughout the workout. This would be beneficial for anyone who is rehabbing themselves from an injury, or someone who does not have time to wait between sets while their partner changes the weight for them.

Another group that may benefit from these types of weights are people with injuries in one specific body part which prohibits them from using free weights but allows them to use resistance machines such as Nautilus equipment. These types of individuals usually find regular Olympic barbells and dumbbells too difficult and/or painful because of the significant stress it can put on the injured area, especially if it’s a weight training accident. Additionally, those with severe arthritis or significant disabilities which may preclude them from free weights may find these types of weights beneficial as well.


In summary, fixed weight dumbbells are great for beginners because they don’t require any adjustment. As you get stronger, you may need to move up to a heavier weight. With adjustable dumbbells, you can simply adjust the weight as needed. Adjustable dumbbells take up less space than fixed ones. If you have limited storage space, adjustable dumbbells are a better option. Besides, adjustable dumbbells offer more variety in terms of weights and exercises that can be performed. This is an important factor if your goal is to build muscle mass or strength.

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