Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells Review

What these adjustable dumbbells lack in looks they make up for with a near-faultless performance

Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells
(Image: © Harry Bullmore / Future)

Our Verdict

The Bowflex SelectTech 552i is a durable set of dumbbells with simple, seamless weight-changing and an impressive 15 weight settings. It’s not the prettiest set, with a cheap-seeming plastic finish, but it is among the best performers in the adjustable dumbbell market. The dumbbells are able to withstand the rigors of at-home bodybuilding workouts and strength training sessions.


  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy
  • Small weight increases


  • Unwieldy shape
  • Expensive

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The Bowflex SelectTech 552i may be a mouthful to say, but this set is the gold standard in the adjustable dumbbell world. 

Don’t believe me? Just scroll through Instagram. Coaches and influencers everywhere can be seen grabbing a pair for a few sets of bodybuilding staples. Even Chris Hemsworth turns to these nifty free weights when he’s working out. 

And having trained with them for the last year, I can confirm they’ve more than earned a spot on our round-up of the best dumbbells. Admittedly, they’re not cheap, and they’re not the most attractive, but as far as gripes go that’s all I can muster.

Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells: Price And Availability

The Bowflex SelectTech 552i dumbbell set costs $429 on the company’s website, although other retailers frequently offer discounted deals. In the UK, the dumbbells are widely available online for £399.99. In the US, it’s possible to buy a single-dumbbell version from the likes of Target for $214.99. Always check that you are buying a pair (if that’s what you’re after) and not a solitary weight.


Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

The form and function of these dumbbells draw contrasting reviews. The plastic finish on the plates, the angular, bulky shape, and the chunky rubber grip covered in the Bowflex logo don’t impress me, but they work well.

The dials on either end move smoothly and are clearly labeled so you always know what weight you’re lifting. The weight-changing mechanism isn’t clunky and the dumbbells slip seamlessly in and out of the dock (which wasn’t the case on the Core Home Fitness pair I tested). On top of this, the plates felt secure during all lifts and the rubber grip, while gaudy, held up throughout sweaty workouts. 

How I Tested These Dumbbells

I took the dumbbells through each of the workouts on Coach’s dumbbell workout plan. I also used them for a range of hypertrophy training and accessory exercises to supplement my usual CrossFit training. 

Workout Performance

Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

Bowflex is one of the biggest names in the exercise gear game, and this experience shows with the SelectTech 552i dumbbells. They’re sturdy, simple to use and versatile, so it’s no surprise to us that Hemsworth reaches for them when he’s traveling and needs to train. 

One of the most beneficial elements is the small weight increments. While rivals like the JAXJOX and Core Home Fitness weights jump by 5lb or 6lb each time, each Bowflex dumbbell has 15 settings between 5lb (2.26kg) to 52.5lb (23.8kg), with most split by just 2.5lb (1.13kg). I found this ideal for gradually increasing the load as I built strength, particularly on lighter lifts like lateral raises where a couple of pounds can make the world of difference. 

The weight range will also suit most at-home exercisers, although big lifters may want to consider the weightier Bowflex SelectTech 1090, which can hold up to 90lb (40.8kg) per dumbbell. 

The weight-changing mechanism worked quickly, making it a great fit for drop-set and superset workouts. You have to turn dials on either end of each dumbbell rather than just one, but as long as you remember not to load the weights unevenly this will add a couple of seconds to transition times at most. 

Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

Performance-wise, the only drawback I experienced was the slightly cumbersome shape. You’ll be fine cranking out sets of deadlifts, dumbbell bench press and Arnold presses, but during moves like biceps curls I found the long dumbbells and wide plates could catch on my hips. At lighter weights, where the largest, most central plates aren’t attached, the dumbbell can be awkward to hold for goblet squats and overhead triceps extensions

Overall, the weights performed excellently. There was no unwanted rattling and minimal movement of the plates during any of the exercises that I tried. They feel secure and durable during workouts, offering a great range of weights and easy transitions between them.

Are The Bowflex SelectTech 552i Adjustable Dumbbells Worth It?

There’s a reason these free weights are always at the forefront of discussions about the best adjustable dumbbells. However, it’s impossible to deny that they are expensive. 

I’ve used them consistently for the last year with no damage or malfunctions and the provision of 15 weights in one neat package is frankly awesome. If you’re dead set on getting a pair of adjustable dumbbells, I’d say that you won’t find much better (unless aesthetics are of particular importance to you). If you have time on your side, I’d recommend waiting until the next big sales event, such as Black Friday, when you can expect the price to drop to below $350/£300.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.