Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell Review - Best?

Best and Cheap Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552

They Have Arrived!

Hey Fit Dad Chris here and I have been wanting to put this post together for awhile now, so here it is!

First off “Best & Cheap” adjustable dumbbells really don't belong in the same sentence, but I found myself constantly trying to rationalize spending $$$ or going for the cheapest weight set I could find. As I get older… and “wiser”, I am finding out that spending more money for quality training equipment is really the way to go for the long run.

Now again, it depends on your situation as well and how you are training:

  • Are you going to use these everyday?
  • Only going to use a few times a month or a week?
  • Do you need more than 10lbs, 20lbs, 50lbs +?
  • Will you buy them online or pick them up locally?
  • How are you working out? Old school lifting? Crossfit type WODS? Intense dropping your weights etc…

I only mention those because it will have to come into play when choosing.

I Only Know What I Know

Listen people like my reviews here because I try and be as honest and upfront as I can. I am sure you have seen other sites that have info on every adjustable dumbbell under the sun and the truth is they probably have not even used one of them.

I say I only know what I know because that is the truth. So before I go on and on about why this and why that and different types of I have tried I will just put it out there…

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Are The Bomb!

I will go into more below about other types of these dumb…bells I have tried 😉 and why I like the bowflex the best, but first here is the short of it if you have been looking at getting these Selecttech 552's. Watch the video to the right as well… basic over view and you can see they are easy enough for my 5 year old to use…. sort of LOL!

  • I wanted to at least try out the bowflex dumbbells for a few weeks before I put out the review. I had tested them at a few stores over the years and always liked them, but never pulled the trigger because of the hefty price tag.
  • So for the last 3 years as far as dumbbells are concerned I had a set of Reebok Speedpac 25lb adjustable's “more on them below” and a set of 30lb that I grabbed at walmart.
  • I was able to get by with them, but I was never really able to push myself or get stronger because it just wasn't enough. I was able to get solid workouts in and sure I would get sore, but eventually would get used the weight. You can even read here in my Body Beast review all I had were the above and I still got a solid workout in.
  • In fact a ton of people on the site ask me all the time… can I use the Bowflex 552 with P90X, with Body Beast, with P90X2 & P90X3, and the answer is… TOTALLY! I truly think adjustable dumbbells were made for these workouts, because it makes it so easy.
Bowflex SelectTech 552

Out Of The Box!

Are They Too Big & Bulky?

  • That was one issue I was worried about. It seemed like they were pretty big “which they are” and would limit some range of motion in certain exercises. Do they?
    • Yes and no… I was curious whether on doing presses would I be able to get a full extension and yes you can. “Wanted a video to show, but was hard to video and press 2 dumbbells ;-)” anyways yeah I can do a dumbbell bench press and have my arms full extended.  Yeah can't get that extra squeeze in unless you turn your palms inward. Not a huge deal, and you do get the full extended range if that makes sense…. basically you are able to fully lock out your arms straight with press moves.
    • Now a few moves depending on what type of set up you have might have you rubbing up against your bench with the weights on certain curls as well as bent over flys. Has it been a big issue? No not really. You figure out how to make it work and it works!
  • There are more pros than cons to the size of these things as far as I am concerned.

Other Adjustable Dumbbells I Have Tried

Reebok Speedpac 25lb

  • So as you can see from the video I have used this for a little over 3 years! They served its purpose for me. At the time I really did not have the money to drop on the more expensive ones and the bowflex I think were about $100 more expensive at the time.
  • Either way if all you need is this much weight than these really are perfect!
    • The funny thing is like I mention in the video is I have seen so many other brands that have the same exact design. In fact I don't even think Reebok makes them like this anymore. So pretty much anyone's you see with this design are just branded differently. I have probably seen half a dozen in stores that worked exactly the same just different names.


Reebok Speedpac 25lb

Reebok 25Lb Adjustable Dumbbells I Have Used Last 3 Years


  • When I was in college back in… ummmm…. 98 ish 😉 My roommate actually had one of the fist of these. Actually he only had one because that was all he could afford lol.
  • I remember at the time thinking it was an awesome idea, but it was bulk and a bit awkard with the rectangle shaped. I always remember the two top bars hitting my forearm.
  • I stayed away from them because of that, but again that was a long time ago plus the Bowflex had a lot more reviews.
  • The new ones do look a bit cooler, but I dunno the whole rectangle thing wasn't for me. Check out the latest ones on Amazon and its reviews.

Universal Selectorized

  • I was so close to getting these instead of the 552's simply because they cost less and they came with a stand! A stand is a pretty sweet bonus in my opinion.
  • My only issue was I have physically tried this out at the local Walmart and they were just really clunky and did not seem as solid! The weight selector dials were clunky and harder to turn too. Now I know listen it is not like I couldn't do it lol, I just wanted to invest my money into something I would not regret later.
  • I am sure these would work great, in fact you can read a lot of positive reviews on Amazon about them, it is just from the reviews I had read that were about Bowflex 552 vs Universal Selectorized 445 it seemed to me the Bow Flex was the more solid option, plus I had physically used the 552's before and I did like how they felt better.

OK anyways leave some comments or questions below. I still need to tweak this out a bit so stand by.




About the Author


Jack of all trades... master of none! Father of 3 awesome boys, husband to 1 amazing wife! Obstacle racer, procrastinator, computer nerd, trying not to follow the herd!

Follow FitDadChris:

  • Scott B says:

    FD Chris, thank you for making this video. I truly enjoyed that you remained down to earth and incorporated you son and didn’t remake the video to be “professional. Your comparative review was more Informitive than most professional reviews.

  • Kesai says:

    Here is my issue. I am a small female and so my torso is small and I can’t use bulky weights. Are there any good systems for small people? I have tried searching this online but I come up with nothing. I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of individual dumbbells because of space. Dumbbells for women don’t weigh very much and I am not a beginner anymore.

  • Dean says:

    Hey Chris

    I used the selecttech for a couple years with P90X, X2, X3, and most recently body beast. The later is when I really started to use the whole stack and realized that the handle and all it’s components are made of plastic. Most likely to save space and money and for the most part, they are plenty strong enough. However, if you start doing say hammer curls, skull crushers, laying lat pull over’s, or any other movement with 35lbs+ that puts the dumbbell into a vertical position, the plastic ring holding the weight plate to the handle will flex. Enough so to actually allow the weight plates to fall out while in use. Not so much a problem with the lighter plates (>30lbs per handle) but a safety concern when lifting the full stack.

    It was only after a couple broken plates and an embarrassing number of broken toes that I decided to part ways with the beloved bowflex set and splurge on the Power Block Sport 9.0. They are actually much quicker to switch between weights since you only have to adjust 2 keeper bars instead of 4 rotating wheels. Of course if you’re wanting less that a 10lbs change, you must remove the adder weights which takes roughly the same time as adjusting all four on the Bowflex series.

    Another plus is once you’ve outgrown the 50 lbs set you do not have to buy a completely new set. You can simply purchase add on sets. 20 pounds at a time (in 10 pound increments) all the way up to 130 lbs per hand!!

    Anyway, that’s all for my rant. Keep up the great work. I believe that it is important for us to teach our children an healthy lifestyle. You are an inspiration to dads everywhere!!

    Take care and keep it coming.

  • Chris says:

    I’m thinking about getting these, and I really appreciate the point of view of an “honest Joe”.

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