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This is a battle of titans today. We’re seeing who offers the best adjustable dumbbells set: NordicTrack vs Bowflex. Let’s meet the competitors. While each brand offers several models we decided to compare their most popular offerings. We’re specifically comparing Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells vs NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells Speed Weights.
They might look similar at first, but let’s dive in and see which is right for you.
Weight and Increments
The best adjustable dumbbells will offer a high maximum weight and many increments so that you can get the perfect weight for your biceps, triceps, chest, or ab exercises. When it comes to maximum weight, the two are nearly identical.
- Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells: 5-52.5lbs
- NordicTrack Speed Weights adjustable dumbbells: 10-55lbs
As you can see, they’re nearly identical here. The NordicTrack dumbbells go slightly higher, but the adjustable dumbbells Bowflex start at a lower weight (which might be good for weaker muscles). However, neither really outsides the other here, so it’s a wash.
The increments are similar as well, but there is a difference in consistency.
The NordicTrack adjustable dumbbell goes like this: 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42.5, 45, 50, 52.5, 55
The Bowflex adjustable dumbbell goes up 2.5lbs until 25, then it’s 5lbs for every adjustment.
NordicTrack allows for more 2.5lb adjustments in general, which is better for smaller changes to help your muscles, but Bowflex is much more consistent. While this is a matter of preference, Bowflex’s consistency edges it ahead slightly in this category. However, if you want more 2.5lb adjustments, then NordicTrack dumbbells might be better for you.
If you’re looking for something even heavier, then check out our Bowflex 552 vs 1090 review.
How do adjustable dumbbells work? You want a system that’s easy. You’re getting these dumbbells because they’re more convenient, so that’s exactly what you should look for with the adjustment mechanism. Speaking of convenience, have you considered a Bowflex home gym? We compare every model here: Which Bowflex Home Gym is Best?
Both of these are easy, so it’s a tie again, but let’s talk about them to see which one you might prefer.
NordicTrack Speed Weights have two adjustable mechanisms. The first is a blue peg at the top that changes which plate you’re using. The second is a small blue button near the handle. Press the button and shift the handle to add 0, 2.5, or 5 pounds to the plate. The numbers are all clearly printed, so you’ll know exactly how much you’re picking up.
It’s a simple system and works very well.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells has a dial system. There is a dial on both sides of the dumbbell. Simply turn the number on both dials so that they match (such as 12.5 or 40) and the dumbbell is set.
This system is easy, but the dumbbell will catch if the dial isn’t the same number on both sides. That’s a little annoying, but not a dealbreaker. If you’re careful, then this should never be a problem.
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then check out our Bowflex vs Ironmaster review.
You want the dumbbell to feel secure in your hand. A poor grip might mean the dumbbell can slide around and that’s both dangerous and uncomfortable. These two adjustable dumbbells are very different with their grips.
NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells use a hard plastic for their grip. There are some grooved rings around the edge of the handle and the plastic is slightly textured. You should have no problem holding onto the weights, but honestly the grip could be better. You might want to wear some lifting gloves just in case.
Bowflex dumbbells on the other hand have a good grip. The handle itself is metal and there is a rubberized material in the center emblazoned with the Bowflex logo. The logo adds texture and makes it much easier to grip the dumbbell.
With NordicTrack isn’t bad, we give the win to Bowflex here.
Our final comparison comes down to the storage tray. This is where the adjustable dumbbell sits. All your extra plates sit here until you need them.
Both storage trays here are made from plastic, and both feel strong and like they won’t break even after years of use. They’ll have no problem holding the weights for as long as you need them.
They also have a recessed center that makes it easy to pick them up and move them. Bowflex’s is a little easier, but both should be easy to move.
This is another tie, but Bowflex’s is just a little bit better.
Speaking of ties, we saw something similar with our Bowflex vs Core Fitness review, if you’re looking for another great adjustable dumbbell.
Best Adjustable Dumbbell
So, which dumbbell is best? It’s nearly a tie, but with it’s more consistent weight adjustments, unique dial, and better grip, the overall win goes to Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells.
However, the NordicTrack Speed Weights is no slouch. The adjustment mechanism is simple, there are more 2.5lb adjustments, and it has a slightly higher maximum weight.
Both are great, they honestly are. So, which do you choose?
Adjustable Dumbbell Buying Guide
- Weight: You want enough weight to build muscle. You’ll often find that dumbbells with adjustable weights go up to around 50lbs, which should be enough for most home gyms.
- Increments: Most adjustable dumbbells increase by either 2.5lbs or 5lbs. Make sure that the increments work with your exercise needs.
- Adjustment: How do you adjust the weights? Some systems use pegs, others have diags, and others have plastic inserts. Make sure the adjustment method is easy and safe.
- Stand: Is the weight stand safe and secure? You don’t use to choose one that will break after a year or so.
- Grip: This is important for any weight. Can you safely grip the dumbbell without it sliding around? You can also use lifting gloves to improve your grip.