Bowflex Dumbbells Review (2024 Upd.) Is It Worth Buying?

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 18, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a health and performance coach, I know that one of the biggest issues for most people who want to do dumbbell exercises at home is the cost of getting a wide enough range of weights.

One of the products that a few of my clients were buying for their home fitness gyms is the Bowflex SelectTech range, so I decided I needed to take a closer look at it.

Together with my team of fitness experts, I tested these dumbbells so you don't have to waste money if they aren't for you potentially. Read more as I review the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells.

What Are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells?

What Are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells are adjustable dumbbells that take advantage of a unique dial system to adjust the weight settings.

Based on my experience, these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells have become so popular in online reviews because of how easy and fast it is to adjust and change the weights.

You can have both adjustable dumbbells adjusted in about 5 seconds, which could be essential and highly beneficial for anyone who needs to maintain specific heart rates in between sets.

The weights range from 5 to 52.5 lbs, which will be enough to cover everything from squats to biceps curls and bench presses for most people.

What might be more critical, though, is the weight increments.

From 5 to 25 lbs, you’re able to adjust in 2.5 lbs increments, and from 25 to 52.5, it’s 5 lbs weight increments.

That should give you enough flexibility for each set of exercises in your workout routine, even you're just at your home gym.

Our #1 Recommendation

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

Plates Mechanism

We also compared BlowFlex against PowerBlock  dumbbells, another popular product on the market.

​How Do They Work?

Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells work by rotating a dial system at each adjustable dumbbell end. There is a number printed for each dial turn that should make it fast and easy to make the switch in between each exercise set.

The different available plates are either engaged or disengaged as you turn the dial.

When you pick up this quality adjustable dumbbell in your home gym, some plates remain in the stands.

According to my personal experience, at the end of each of your exercise sets, you place the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells back in the stand, ready to turn the dial for your next workout.

The speed with which you may set the weights is critical if you’re doing a lot of high-intensity interval strength training and weight training.

This is where you wouldn’t want your heart rate to drop below a certain level. But there are more benefits to this product.


Benefits Of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

While it ended up in a typical team discussion about the order of these benefits, at least we agreed that all these seven should do strength training with weights at home, which is much more feasible. One of the studies on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website supports that [1].

1 - Space Saving Design

According to another study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, even if you’re lucky enough to be able to use a part of your garage or a spare room, space is going to be an issue for home gyms [2].

You might have a rower or treadmill, a barbell rack, and a adjustable weight bench already taking up a fair bit of your workout space.

One thing often highlighted in the online reviews and from my own experience is that the SelectTech product range is space-saving and pretty easy to store.

2 - Good Option For Increment Flexibility

Depending on how you structure your Bowflex workout routine, you may have some exact requirements for the amount of weight you lift.

Based on our tests, that’s not a problem when you’re at your local gym, as there are probably more than a hundred different dumbbells available.

Having a smaller increment option, like the same weight range of traditional dumbbells [3].

That is one of the main features of the Bowflex SelectTech range, which is why some of our clients opted for buying these best adjustable dumbbells.

3 - Looks And Feels Like A Regular Dumbbell

Man Using Bowflex Dumbbells

I’m a bit of a traditional kind of guy when it comes to my fitness and gym equipment.

I like things made of steel and made in a familiar way [4].

That might make me old-fashioned, but I don't think I’m the only one.

With the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells, you’ll get that typical round shape that should feel somewhat familiar.

4 - Quality Hard-Wearing Design

I was initially skeptical about seeing some of the parts made of plastic.

My experience with plastic fitness equipment has been pretty poor.

But I have to say that after months of use, I don’t think that the plastic parts are getting worn out [5].

They also don’t seem to be under constant strain and look like they might be helping to protect the mechanism that engages the adjustable plates.

It seems to use premium quality materials, making it a solid and reliable option for your house gym. With this, you can rest easy, knowing that you won't have to replace this fitness equipment for more years to come.

5 - Fast Weight Adjustment

This is a big plus and one we’ve already mentioned.

The weight plates take less than 5 seconds to adjust, and we had a few entertaining competitions here at the office.

As you’re going through your exercises, there are two things you don’t want to happen:

  1. You don’t want to spend a load of time adjusting weights and bringing your heart rate down.
  2. You don’t want to waste a short moment to catch your breath on struggling with the weight plates.

According to our tests, you don’t have to worry about it because adjusting the weights will take a minimal amount of time out of your workout.

Our #1 Recommendation

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex Dumbells SelectTech 552

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

Plates Mechanism

6 - Suitable For All Types of Dumbbell Exercises

We already mentioned that they have a space-saving design, but compact also has the bonus of not getting in your way.

We have encountered similar products that might be too bulky for things like a shoulder press or upright rowers.

The last thing you want is to adjust your workouts for a set where the dumbbells just get in your way.

Also, they won’t occupy too much space when you set them aside after your workout.

7 - Affordable For Home Gym Equipment

Ripped Guy getting money from his wallet

This is probably another deciding factor for people setting up a house gym.

While price shouldn't stop you from committing to a workout routine, having to buy 20 or 30 adjustable dumbbells is quite an expense.

And with the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, you could end up saving a small fortune.

For the price of one product, you get the same benefits as if you had an entire set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells.

Related Articles:

8 - You Won’t Need A Load Of Storage Space

If you’ve ever had issues with storing your weights and workout equipment, that’s something you probably won’t experience with the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells.

Even on the standard stand, they should only take up about 2 square feet of floor space, allowing you to keep them out of the way.

This means less space occupied and more room for storing other pieces of equipment.

  • Design offers good space-safing
  • Helps with increment flexibility
  • It is very similar to a regular dumbbell
  • The design is durable
  • The weight can be adjusted quickly
  • Length may be an issue

​Is There Something We Don’t Like?

Holding two adjustable dumbbell

Based on my tests, I believe that the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is one of the best on the market, but there are two minor things that I would highlight.

These are by no means game-changers, but I believe that this wouldn’t be an honest exercise equipment review if I didn’t highlight them.

Minor Materials Issue

Yes, I have to get back to the plastic parts. These aren’t part of the core adjustment mechanism, unlike other similar best adjustable dumbbells.

But they are still used as a way to engage the different selections.

Now, I haven't had an issue so far, but I would be interested to see how these parts look after a few years of regular and complete workout routines.

Plastic is not ideal for an otherwise premium, excellent quality set.

Overall Length

What I mean here is that if you go to the lowest setting and then the highest setting, the overall length of the dumbbell stays the same.

I’m used to lifting heavy and bulky weights in my fitness routines.

But some people who tend to use lower weights for just a tiny amount of resistance could feel a bit bulky.

It is also not advisable to use these adjustable dumbbells for a few workouts that involve placing your entire body weight on them, as it can hurt the delicate dial mechanism.

​Do You Need Any Accessories?

Lifting dumbbell on an inclined bench

The Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbell set doesn't need any accessories. On its own, it's already a good investment for your house gym, but I have found a couple of accessories that might help to improve your workout just a bit more.

Full Height Stand

The official Bowflex dumbbell stand is well designed, where each weight options is just the proper distance apart.

Based on my experience, this might make it just a bit easier to get your body in the proper position to lift them without causing unnecessary strain on your back.

‘’Back pain may be caused by poor posture or technique. If your back is rounded, your hips are put at a high angle that stresses the ligaments. When you lift weights, it adds additional stress that can lead to strain.’’ - Michelle Wishart, Fitness Writer

Bowflex Bench

If you have a bench space at home, make sure you get one.

You’ll gain a lot more flexibility in both compound and isolation exercises.

There’s a very good reason why you see plenty of them in gyms.

The Bowflex bench options seem to be as good as they get, and I’ve read many positive reviews about the quality and comfort.

We also reviewed the best dumbbell racks out on the market.

Bowflex 552 vs 1090 Differences

The most popular among the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell range is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 model.

Before comparing it to other available options, let me explain what the numbers mean.

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is an entry-level dumbbell that allows you to change the weights from 5 lbs to 52 lbs, and that’s where the 552 description comes from.

This should help you review the other two options.

If you need a higher weight range, then the Bowflex SelectTech 560 would give you a range of 5 to 60 lbs, while the SelectTech 1090 model is the real heavyweight.

Following the same logic, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 starts at 10 lbs and goes all the way up to 90 lbs.

We recommend the 1060 model to more experienced people who can lift that weight.

For the average house gym, though, I believe that the 552 model should be more than enough.

But if you do have some bulking and strength training plans, then maybe it’s best to go to the next size up.

I say this because you cannot increase the weight range at a later time through extra add-on weights.

Related: Bowflex PR3000 Review

Are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Worth The Investment?

A fit guy using his phone for online shopping

Yes, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells are worth the investment. While the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a great purchase, I have yet to find other models where weight options are more easily adjusted while not compromising space and durability.

Even as a professional health and performance trainer with plenty of gym equipment at home, I have found that I use these more than the standard dumbbells that I have built up over many years.

I have enjoyed using them, and I believe they are an excellent choice for a small home gym or home workouts in general.


"So they're weights, they're accurately weighted, and they adjust as promised. But for me there is a lot of detail put into the design and aesthetic that made these worth the investment over more generic counterparts." - David from California

"Do they cost a lot, sure I guess, but still cheaper then a gym membership, and there they are staring me in the face every morning for motivation." - Colin from Miami

"No need to get up even earlier to head to the gym, or wait till I'm tired after work... just hit them whenever I them" - Jake from L.A


Here are the most notable alternatives.

PowerBlock Dumbbells

The PowerBlock Dumbbells have made a name for themselves due to their unique, stackable design and efficient weight change mechanism.

The cube-like structure allows users to switch between weights rapidly, making them ideal for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit-based workouts. A distinct feature is the color-coded rails, which make it easy to identify the weight used.

Based on my experience, the compact design also ensures minimal space utilization, especially for home gyms with limited space.

Compared to Bowflex Dumbbells: While Bowflex is known for its dial-based adjustment system, PowerBlock offers a quicker pin-based selection, though some may find Bowflex more intuitive.

PowerBlock Ironmaster Dumbbells

PowerBlock's Ironmaster variant offers a blend of traditional aesthetics with modern adjustability. Made from durable materials, these dumbbells promise longevity and sturdiness.

Their primary selling point is the quick-lock adjustment system, ensuring smooth weight transitions. This system also enables the addition of more weight plates, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced lifters.

Our tests indicate that the Ironmaster's design also caters to those who prefer a more conventional dumbbell feel while retaining the adjustable features.

Compared to Bowflex Dumbbells: Ironmaster focuses on durability and the traditional dumbbell experience, whereas Bowflex leans more towards innovative design and ease of use.

Rogue Fitness Nuobell Dumbbells

Rogue Fitness Nuobell Dumbbells present an elegant solution for those who prefer sleek design without compromising functionality.

Users can adjust the weights seamlessly with a simple twist of the handle, providing efficient transitions between exercises. Its balanced weight distribution ensures a consistent workout feel, and the robust build quality speaks to its durability.

The Nuobell's modern aesthetics and user-friendly mechanism make it a strong contender in the adjustable dumbbell market.

Compared to Bowflex Dumbbells: Both brands prioritize user experience with their unique adjustment mechanisms, but Rogue's Nuobell leans more towards a sleek, minimalist design than Bowflex's bulkier build.


A man using laptop

Are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Any Good?

Yes, Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells are good for strength and fitness training. They have one of the unique mechanisms for changing weight options that may be best suitable for people who need to avoid cooling down too much in between sets.

Are Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Suitable for Muscle Building?

Yes, Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells are suitable for muscle building. Many bodybuilders have switched to using them in their home gym because it helps them save space for other equipment.

Because of the shape, they also feel just like a standard dumbbell. That way, you should be able to focus on your workout rather than adjust your exercises.

How Does the Long-Term Durability and Maintenance of Bowflex Dumbbells Compare to Others?

Bowflex dumbbells are known for their durability, but they may require maintenance over time, especially in the adjustment mechanism and rubber grips. Regular care and proper handling can significantly extend their lifespan and ensure consistent performance.

How Do Bowflex Dumbbells Affect Muscle Activation Compared to Traditional Dumbbells?

Bowflex dumbbells can provide a similar level of muscle activation to traditional dumbbells, with the added benefit of adjustable resistance. This allows for more versatile workouts and can be particularly beneficial in progressive strength training.

What Is the User Experience of Bowflex Dumbbells for Different Fitness Levels?

Bowflex dumbbells are versatile and cater to a wide range of fitness levels, from beginners to advanced users. Their adjustability allows for gradual progression in weight, making them suitable for various strength training routines.

How Do Bowflex Dumbbells Contribute to Environmental and Space Considerations?

Choosing Bowflex adjustable dumbbells can be more environmentally friendly and space-efficient compared to owning multiple sets of traditional weights. They reduce the need for manufacturing multiple weights and save space, making them ideal for home gyms with limited space.

Are There Unique Workout Routines Specific to Bowflex Dumbbells?

Bowflex dumbbells offer the flexibility to engage in innovative workout routines, such as circuit training or supersets, that leverage their quick weight adjustment feature. These routines can add variety and efficiency to your workouts, maximizing the benefits of the adjustable design.

Our Verdict on Bowflex Dumbbells

If you want to have the flexibility of an extensive range of dumbbells without the huge price tag of a full set, then Bowflex is most likely the best answer.

Whether you’re aiming for progressive overload or just want to do some high-intensity interval training for weight loss, you won’t be struggling with variety.

The design is compact, and based on our tests, it’s likely the easiest one to use.

So after using these for some time, it’s safe to say it’s one of the best options out there for a home dumbbell set.

Our #1 Recommendation


Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

Plates Mechanism
  • Space Saving Design
  • Good Option For Increment Flexibility
  • Looks And Feels Like A Regular Dumbbell
  • Quality Hard-Wearing Design
  • Fast Weight Adjustment
  • Overall Length
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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2 thoughts on “Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells Review:
Is It Worth Buying?

  1. Great review, very honest and nonbiased. You’ve succesfully explained both the pros and cons. Very informative. Kudos!

  2. I prefer traditional weights over these fancy Bowflex dumbbells. Costly and unnecessary for most gym-goers. Save your money and stick to what works.

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Our durability score is based 3 factors including: material quality, maintenance, and warranty terms. The score is a measure of objective test results against set standards. For more information see our durability score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.