Adjustable dumbbell on gym floor

How Do Adjustable Dumbbells Work - Your Ultimate Guide To Using Them

Imagine being able to access anywhere from 10 to 90 lbs of weighted dumbbells without needing to stock 17 sets of them—Adjustable dumbbells offer you unparalleled versatility and convenience. They’re a revolutionary innovation!

They come with all the perks of traditional fixed dumbbells like the versatility that allows you to perform various fun and challenging exercises in the comfort of your home without needing to invest in expensive machinery plus the ability to access different weights in seconds with a single piece of equipment. You can push yourself to new levels in your strength training without missing a beat. And best of all, you'll save money and precious space in your home gym while doing it all!

Still unsure why you should opt for adjustable dumbbells over traditional ones? Read on to learn the mechanics of an adjustable dumbbell, various types, pros and cons, and how to choose suitable ones for your home gym set up.

What are Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells are just what they sound like. They’re a set of dumbbells that allow you to change the weight with ease. There are a few types of adjustable dumbbells using components like a pin, dial or lever to switch between lighter to heavier weights.

The main premise for all of them, however, is that you only need one set of dumbbells to access a wide range of weights that you can change in just a few seconds to make resistance training more convenient.

Types of Adjustable Dumbbells

There are several types of adjustable dumbbells, each with their own unique advantages available on the market.


These adjustable dumbbells work with a dial at either end of the dumbbell that allows you to select the desired weight from its tray or case. When it is turned, internal mechanisms lock or unlock different weight plates, resulting in a customized weight.


This adjustable dumbbell is somewhat similar to a traditional dumbbell. It features spin lock collars that are spun onto the ends of each dumbbell handle, securing the load in place. To adjust the weight, you’ll simply unscrew the collars, manually add or remove plates, and then screw the collars back on.


These come fully equipped with a cutting-edge digital display that allows for effortless weight adjustment. You can adjust the weight up or down in small increments with the push of a button on its loading tray.

How Do Digital Adjustable Dumbbells Work?

Digital adjustable dumbbells work with technology and feature a digital readout with buttons or dials for fine-tuning the weight. The internal weighted plates are moved by a motorized system after the user selects the desired load on the digital display.


Selector adjustable dumbbells work similar to dial adjustable dumbbells, but you use it by pulling out the pin to select the preferred load.

Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

  1. Highly Versatile

Due to their versatility, you can adjust them to varying weight levels, making them suitable for both a full-body exercise and an isolation exercise. For example you could do dumbbell deadlifts, easily modify the weight and perform lateral raises, using the same piece of equipment to target different muscle groups.

  1. Compact Size

Most adjustable dumbbells are famous for their portable size. You can use two dumbbells to do the same things you’d need multiple sets of conventional dumbbells for, making storage a breeze.

  1. Cost saving

Modern adjustable dumbbells are a cost-effective solution to having a complete range of dumbbells. On average, they range from 5 to 50 lbs. You’d need 10 pairs of traditional dumbbells to equate that.

Now imagine trying to keep track of 10 pairs of dumbbells, all in different 5 lb increments. At the low end, dumbbells cost $1.50 per pound and that would be a hefty $825 price tag for all those dumbbells. Not to mention the additional cost of a stand to keep them all organized!

So why bother with the hassle when you can have Montreal Weights Adjustable Dumbbells? With just one pair, you can easily adjust the weight from 5 to 52.5 lbs in convenient increments. And the best part? They only cost $349.00!

  1. More Variety of Workouts

With adjustable weights, the possibilities for your workouts are vast. For example, you can easily perform fun exercises like bird dog rows that would otherwise be tough to do with barbells or machines and you could easily start light before adding more weight with just the use of a dial.

You have the option to choose lighter weights for upper body and accessories exercises, whereas you can use heavier weights for activities like compound lifts and lower body workouts all from a single set of dumbbells.

What are The Cons to Adjustable Dumbbells?

  1. Learning Curve

Although modern adjustable dumbbells bring the incredible convenience of swiftly modifying their weight, becoming a proficient user may require some honing. You may find their unconventional design a bit uncomfortable to handle especially if you're accustomed to traditional dumbbells.

  1. Max weight might not be enough for serious lifters

The average increments usually range from 2.5 to 5 pounds. And if you fall higher on the strength spectrum, the maximum weight of an adjustable dumbbell could pose little challenge to you.

  1. Expensive

Investing $300 - $800 in an adjustable dumbbell is certainly a smart choice as it can replace up to 10 dumbbells, offering a considerable mass in a single piece of equipment. However, if you're relatively new to weightlifting and don't require that many weights, that price range may seem excessive.

Understanding the Mechanisms of Adjustable Dumbbells

  1. Selector Pins

These work by sliding a pin into the preferred weight slot, which will lift the selected load from the stack. The mass stack is made up of a series of plates with holes in them to accommodate the selector pin. The selector pin locks the desired plates in place and secures them in for easy use.

  1. Plates and Weight Increments

A pair of adjustable dumbbells feature various weights plates that can be added or removed, usually around 2.5 or 5 lbs, so you pick what fits your specific routine and fitness level.

  1. Locking Mechanisms

A locking mechanism such as screw collars, spin locks and snap-on mechanisms are used to lock attached weights in place to keep them from falling off or coming loose during a workout.

  1. Ergonomic handles

Modern adjustable dumbbells feature ergonomically-shaped handles for a more balanced, secure grip to decrease the chances of dropping. Materials like rubber or foam are commonly used because of their non-slip surface and shock absorption properties.

  1. Safety features

Most adjustable dumbbells feature multiple safeguards to reduce the likelihood of injury during home workouts. These features include textured handles for safety, a rubberized exterior to protect surfaces, and a range of weight increments to limit unnecessary exertion.

What Happens If You Drop Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells have delicate mechanical components that could damage when dropped. This may cause them to become unsafe if the weights are misaligned from falling repetitively. Avoid dropped adjustable dumbbells excessively to preserve their lifespan and avoid any accidents.

Knowing the inner workings of adjustable dumbbells is essential for their safe and effective use. Purchasing a durable set of adjustable dumbbells with a secure locking mechanism, comfortable grips, and appropriate weight increments like the ones Montreal Weights have in stock is a great measure to ensure longer use.

Traditional Dumbbells Vs Adjustable Dumbbells

Both the adjustable and fixed dumbbells serve the same purpose in helping you workout which is creating resistance during weight training. A set of adjustable dumbbells edges fixed dumbbells out, though, with some of its extra perks.

Our evaluation of these two types of dumbbells examines their cost, versatility, storage, and ease of use;

Factors Traditional Dumbbells Adjustable dumbbells
Cost Inexpensive if you're buying based on the weight you need.

Quite expensive for a set, but is equivalent to 10 or more regular dumbbells.

Versatility Features a set weight; you’d need to change the entire pair to get a different load Can quickly and easily adjust to different weights with one piece of equipment.
Storage Takes up more space to store different pairs

They save space, making them ideal for home gyms.

Convenience Switching between weights may take a bit of time and effort

Switch between weights with minimal effort, making it easier to perform various exercises.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells

If you're convinced it’s time to elevate your home gym with a set of adjustable dumbbells,here are a few options of the best ones to consider:


Montreal Weights Adjustable Cast Iron Dumbbell Kit

These adjustable cast iron dumbbells have a spinlock mechanism to modify the weight. The handles are knurled for a secure hold and the plates are made of cast iron for durability. They have up to 44 lbs (20 kg) in weight.


Montreal Weights Adjustable Dumbbells

Montreal Weights adjustable dumbbells have raised the bar for adjustable dumbbells with their stunning and modern design crafted from strong and sturdy material. Its unique design enables users to adjust their weights with ease, ranging from 5 to 52.5 lbs in comfortable 2.5lbs increments, up to the first 25lbs. The innovative dial mechanism allows for swift weight adjustments on-the-go, making it a perfect companion for home workouts.


Bowflex selectTech 560

The bowflex dumbbells have an adjustable weight range of 5 to 60 pounds per dumbbell and allow for quick and easy weight changes with the touch of a button. The built-in digital display tracks your sets, reps, and weight lifted, and the  dumbbells also have Bluetooth connectivity to sync with the Bowflex app.

PowerBlock Elite 90

Next, the PowerBlock Elite 90 is another excellent option to consider. It boasts innovative perks such as color-coded weight plates for easy identification and can accommodate up to 90 pounds. Additionally, this adjustable dumbbell uses a selector mechanism to adjust weight in seconds.


Whatever your fitness goals are, the right adjustable dumbbell set can make all the difference. Get the results you crave with Montreal Weights adjustable dumbbells.

How Does the Flexibell Dumbbell Work?

The Flexibell dumbbell works using an innovative self-locking mechanism to modify weight. Weight plates slide onto dumbbells and are secured in place with a latch. The latch is released to facilitate adding or removing weight plates to adjust the weight.

Conversely, when the latch is closed, the plates lock in place, and the dumbbell is ready for use. This ensures that they stay securely in place during workouts. Once that is set, a locking mechanism keeps the weight in place.

Revamp Your Workout Routine!

Adjustable dumbbells are a must-have if you want to exercise effectively without cluttering the space in your commercial or home gym. These smartly crafted gym equipment are not only reasonably priced and adaptable but also provide a wide range of weights suitable for various exercises.

Are you ready to unleash your inner fitness powerhouse? Experience the ultimate upgrade in your training game with Montreal Weights’ perfect adjustable dumbbells! Power up your routine and crush your fitness goals like never before.


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Julien Méthot

Passionate about fitness from a young age, Julien co-founded Montreal Weights in 2020 with the vision of providing Canadians with all the necessary tools to workout & stay fit from home. 

Over the years, Julien has helped build a dynamic team that continuously strives to help create the best possible home gym setups for Montreal Weights customers across the nation. 

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