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Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review

These best-in-class adjustable dumbbells will take your weight-training routine up a notch or three

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review
(Image: © TJ Fink/Future)

Our Verdict

If you’ve been thinking about adding dumbbells to your home gym setup, the BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are well worth the price of entry.

For

  • Includes free fitness app
  • Comfortable rubberized grip/knurl
  • Heavy-duty, ergonomic design
  • Two dumbbells do the work of 30
  • Storage trays include a safety strap

Against

  • Premium price tag
  • Somewhat bulky
  • Not meant for powerlifters

Tom's Guide Verdict

If you’ve been thinking about adding dumbbells to your home gym setup, the BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are well worth the price of entry.

Pros

  • + Includes free fitness app
  • + Comfortable rubberized grip/knurl
  • + Heavy-duty, ergonomic design
  • + Two dumbbells do the work of 30
  • + Storage trays include a safety strap

Cons

  • - Premium price tag
  • - Somewhat bulky
  • - Not meant for powerlifters
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells: Specs

 Price: $400
Weight Range: 5 to 52.5 pounds
Dumbbell Size: 15.8 x 9 x 8 inches
Dumbbell Weight: 105 pounds (52.5 pounds each)

If your home gym is ready for an upgrade, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are ready to help you reach your fitness goals, without the hefty gym membership. With a range of 5 to 52.5 pounds each, these adjustable dumbbells offer plenty of weight for most gym-goers — without taking up too much space. 

Strength training is a pivotal part of any fitness regimen, and the best adjustable dumbbells let you power through each workout without fumbling around with loose weight plates in between sets. In fact, standalone dumbbells are one of the most fundamental pieces of gym equipment you can own; they’re great for high-energy HIIT routines, helping you burn more calories and bulk up your limbs — one muscle group at a time. 

As you'll see in this Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbell review, this set isn’t meant for powerlifters per se, but they're still a rock-solid option for your next sweat session if you can swing the cash.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review: Price and availability

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are available from the company’s website for $400, which is significantly cheaper than NordicTrack’s Select-A-Weight 55 Lb Dumbbell Set ($600), a competitor that offers nearly identical specs. The latter purchase, however, comes with a one-year iFit Family membership — a $396 value — which is half the draw. However don’t let that put you off, as the SelectTech 552 Dumbbells don’t skimp in the personal training department. Instead, they’re compatible with Bowflex’s SelectTech app, which includes individual workouts and longer training plans, completely free of charge. (More on that below.) 

For $900, Bowflex bundles the SelectTech 552 Dumbbells with a dumbbell stand and stowable weight bench; I didn’t get the chance to test out either of these products just yet, but if your home gym has the space for it, a weight bench is a handy tool to have.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review: Design and build 

The dumbbells’ 15.8 x 9 x 8-inch footprint (when maxed out to full weight capacity) is somewhat bulkier than old-school steel dumbbells, but each one is fully adjustable between 5 and 52.5 pounds in 5-pound increments. Swapping out those mini-weight plates is as simple as twisting the knobs on either end of the dumbbell to the desired weight, and you’re good to go. A safety strap connects the dumbbells to the dumbbell tray, which takes a 7/64 Allen key to remove. 

Up close, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells look rather futuristic and robotic. The base weight of each dumbbell starts at 5 pounds, and as you select higher weights with the rotating dials, the appropriate plates click into place, leaving the unused ones behind as you pick the dumbbell up. Overall, it’s a similar style to NordicTrack’s offering, which is comparably priced and similarly customizable. 

Note: Don’t try attaching any loose plates back onto the dumbbells without putting them back into their proper tray slots first, or using the dumbbells to support your body weight. They’re not built for that.

bowflex selecttech 552 dumbbells review

(Image credit: Bowflex)

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review: Performance

Adjusting the knobs on each dumbbell is a snap — literally. It’s easy to ensure each plate is locked into place before you pick the dumbbells up, too. After using the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells for a variety of HIIT and CrossFit-style workouts, I was impressed with how well they complemented the rest of my fitness gear. The storage trays do their job, and the whole package is pretty attractive, in a rock-solid sort of way. 

The dumbbells’ rubber-and-steel grip feels substantially more ergonomic than the plastic ones on NordicTrack’s Select-a-Weight dumbbells, which got a little slippery if my hands were too sweaty. (You could use wrist wraps as an additional safety measure for some exercises, though.) The grip style isn’t really meant for two hands, but you can load weights on just one side of the dumbbell for skull-crushers and sumo squats. Just remember that these dumbbells are simply not designed for powerlifters, especially since dropping them on the floor is a big no-no. Bonus tip: get some quarter-inch exercise mats for your workout area to save both your joints and floor.

The BowFlex SelectTech app is fairly basic — in a good way. It includes dozens of dynamic exercises you can perform with your new dumbbells, along with six targeted workouts, a six-week weight-training program, and a digital journal. It’s a genuinely useful app, and you just can’t argue with the price. 

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells Review: BowFlex SelectTech app

(Image credit: TJ Fink/Future)

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells review: Verdict

While I was initially impressed with everything NordicTrack’s $600 Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set had to offer, the $400 Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells simply have better ergonomics, more intuitive (read: smoother) adjustment mechanisms, and a subscription-less fitness app for $200 less. 

Looking to save even more cash? The 25-pound Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells are very similar in style, and they function in roughly the same way. (Just remember: it costs $200 for the pair.) 

Long-story-long: If you’re ready to build some muscle, look no further than the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells. Not only are they extremely easy to use, but they save a ton of time and space in the long run...err, lift. 

TJ Fink

As a freelance writer, mobile tech journalist, and molecular mixologist, TJ has over a decade of extroverted storytelling under his belt. As a full-time human, he's also passionate about everything outdoors; he'll never stop exploring this beautiful planet. When he’s not coddiwompling through the Catskills, TJ can be found sipping Negronis in his living room and crafting Dr. Seussian poetry inside a tattered moleskin.

  • Reason4Yourself
    TJ, how much actual experience do you have with these dumbbells? This article reads as if you read about the dumbbells elsewhere or watched a couple reviews without actually using them.

    Rock solid? A quick search on Google or YouTube would have turned up dozens of videos about various safety and usability issues with this particular dumbbell and adjustable dumbbells in general. Yet none of that is mentioned here. At least you did manage to mention that they should not be dropped which is true of all adjustable dumbbells, and regular dumbbells in general.

    Adjustable dumbbells can be a great addition to a home gym. But this article is missing some information that consumers should know in order to make a better informed decision about which dumbbell best suits their needs.
    Reply