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If you love working out at home and need lots of different weights, then you absolutely need an adjustable dumbbell set. Not only are these convenient, but they save space and money. While you could buy a traditional dumbbell set, like the Cap Barbell set that we reviewed, many people love the convenience of adjustable sets. Today we’re comparing Bowflex SelectTech 552 vs Ironmaster to see which one is best.
We will review Ironmaster vs Bowflex SelectTech 552 based on weights, increments, adjustment, grip comfort, stage, and any other differences that we find.
By the end of this, you’ll know which weight is best for your home gym.
Weight and Increments
This section will cover the overall weight that you get with each dumbbell and the incremental changes between each weight. Both of these factors are very important. You ideally want an adjustable weight that has a good weight range (both low and high weights so that you can use it with any exercise).
The increments should be also consistent. You don’t want each increment to be 10lbs. Can you imagine mastering a 10lb lateral raise and moving up to 20lbs? That’d be a huge jump and your muscles won’t be happy.
Let’s look at the weight range first. The weights are:
- Bowflex 552 SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells: 5-52.5lbs
- Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System: 5-45lbs or 5-75lbs
As you can see here with Ironmaster Quick-Lock vs Bowflex SelectTech 552, Ironmaster comes in two different sizes. Both the Ironmaster 45lb and Ironmaster 75lb have the same starting weight and increments (as we’ll show later), so it just depends on how much you need.
Both Bowflex and Ironmaster have the same starting weight at 5lbs. It’s hard to give a definitive winner here because the maximum weights are similar. Many people will get use out of the smallest Ironmaster set, but even more people will like the Bowflex 552 and Ironmaster Quick-Lock 75 pound system.
It’s a bit of a wash here, so consider how much weight you need for your workouts. If you’re just starting out, then any of them will do. If you’re really experienced and use 50lbs as a warmup, then consider the Ironmaster 75.
Now the increments. As we said before, this concerns how much the weight jumps between each adjustment. The increments for each are:
- Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells: 2.5lb increments until 25lbs, then 5lb increments from 25-52.5 lbs
- Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells: 2.5lb increments (either set)
Both are good, but there’s a significant difference here. Bowflex is consistent, but we’d prefer if it maintained the 2.5lb increments for all the weight ranges (especially the heavier ones). Ironmaster’s 2.5lb increments for every weight range is much better. You can decide whether you want to take small steps while building your muscles, or if you’d rather make massive leaps and load on the weight.
While we can’t say that Bowflex is bad, we can say that Ironmaster is more consistent.
Bowflex SelectTech vs Ironmaster Quick-Lock: Weight Adjustment
In this section we’ll cover how you adjust the weights with Bowflex vs Ironmaster adjustable dumbbells. Will Ironmaster continue being the better set, or will Bowflex have its revenge?
What should you look for with adjustable weights? The best dumbbells should be simple to change, fast, and require the least amount of manual effort. You’re looking for speed and simplicity.
Bowflex includes a dial on the side with numbers. As you might guess, each number corresponds to a certain weight. It’s easy enough. If you want 20lbs, then turn the dial to 20. Then pull up and the dumbbell will have the proper amount of weight.
The dumbbell sometimes gets stuck if the dial isn’t in the proper position, but you can fix this by jiggling the dial a bit. It’s very rare and might happen once or twice to you. In general, a very accurate and simple way to change weights.
Ironmaster is like traditional adjustable weights. These are the ones where there is a locking mechanism that you have to spin to unlock, add on the weight plates, and then spin to lock the dumbbell.
However, Ironmaster improves on the traditional design. The weight plates are square, so the dumbbell won’t roll around. Plus, the quick-lock mechanism is faster than most other dumbbells with this design.
Both are good, but Bowflex is way better. It’s faster, more accurate (no need to count weight plates like with Ironmaster), and requires less effort.
There is one thing we can say in Ironmaster’s favor here. Bowflex requires the storage tray in order to adjust weights (which we’ll cover later). However, you can place Ironmaster on any flat surface and easily change the weight. It might be a little more convenient in some situations.
Still, we give the win to Bowflex. You likely won’t be far from the storage tray, and the adjustment system is much faster and easier.
Ironmaster vs Bowflex: Grip Comfort
Some people overlook the grip or handle, but you should never do that. There’s nothing worse than a flimsy, uncomfortable handle that slides right out of your hand. Can you imagine maxing out your skullcrusher or bench press just to have the dumbbell fall out of your hand? Talk about scary.
While you should never lift so much that your hand can’t support the weight, you’ll find that the handle provides comfort and safety. That is, if the handle is made right.
So, how do these weights compare with their handle?
Starting off with Bowflex, the handle is made from a firm, rubberized material that has a tiny bit of give when you squeeze it. You’ll also find the Bowflex logo emblazoned throughout the handle. You’ll find that this gives you extra grip and it’s easy to hold.
The only “bad” thing we can say, and it’s really not bad at all, is that your palm might have the Bowflex logo on it after an intense workout. If that’s a problem, then consider using weight lifting gloves. Otherwise, this is the only bad thing we can think of and it’s very minor.
Next up is Ironmaster. Sticking with the more traditional look and feel, Ironmaster uses steel handles that have a crisscross pattern etched into the metal. This gives you good grip even when you’re lifting heavy weights. It’s not quite as comfortable being metal, but it shouldn’t hurt your hands either.
Both give good grip, but Bowflex has a slight edge. Their handle is a little more comfortable, and the Ironmaster is more reactive to temperature (in other words, the handles get cold). However, it’s a very close call. If Bowflex were an A+, then Ironmaster is an A.
Bowflex vs Ironmaster: Storage
How do you store adjustable dumbbells? It depends on their design and what they come with. Some systems really depend on a storage tray (like Bowflex) while others don’t need it. Let’s see what you get.
Bowflex comes with an attractive storage display that is also very functional. The entire dumbbell is meant to stay in the tray. When you select a weight, the extra weight plates stay in the tray. This makes it easy to switch weights while also storing the extra plates.
While it might seem like a disadvantage being so reliant on the storage tray, chances are that it’ll only be a few feet from you. We consider this a good system, plus it makes it easy to store everything in one spot.
What about Ironmaster? If you get the 45lb dumbbells, then you’re only getting the dumbbell and that’s it. If you get the 75lb dumbbells, then you get a dedicated stand to place the weight and weight plates.
Ironmaster is a little more flexible because you don’t need the stand. Plus, since they’re square, they won’t roll around at all if they’re placed on the floor or another other flat surface. However, you must find a place to store the plates.
You should have no problem stacking the plates right near the dumbbell, but the Bowflex system ensures you have a dedicated spot for the plates.
There’s no clear winner here. We think Bowflex is better with its dedicated storage tray, plus you’ll never have to worry about losing the plates. However, Ironmaster can go anywhere and the square shape allows it to lay flat on any surface.
Difference Between Bowflex and Ironmaster?
What are the differences between Ironmaster and Bowflex? It’s funny because despite looking so different and having completely different adjustment mechanisms, these are actually very similar dumbbell sets.
They both adjust quickly (Bowflex a little faster) have good weights ranges (Ironmaster 75 wins though) and are easy to store. Plus, they are both durable, made from high-quality materials, and ensure you get a good workout.
There are upgrade sets for both. However, it’s a little easier to upgrade Ironmaster because it’s only a matter of adding more plates. Bowflex needs a completely different storage tray.
We would also say that Bowflex is more modern. Ironmaster tries to upgrade the traditional adjustable dumbbell by being faster and easier to adjust, but Bowflex takes an innovative approach that is even easier and faster.
Both will last for many years and will help you with a range of exercises. In general, it’s nearly a tie between them.
So, where does that leave us with Bowflex SelectTech 552 vs Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System? Both are great, but have different strengths. Bowflex is easier to adjust, has a dedicated storage tray, and has more weight than the Ironmaster 45 Quick-Lock.
Ironmaster 75 Quick-Lock has more weight than Bowflex, the weight increments are more consistent, and the square shape ensures that the dumbbells won’t roll around.
Both are great. We think Bowflex is a tiny bit better, but Ironmaster is easier to upgrade. So, which one do you choose?