Two easy-to-use 55lb adjustable dumbbells for $399 represents excellent value for money, says our reviewer Chris Smith.

Adjustable dumbbells have boomed in popularity over the past five years or so. The ease of switching between the weight load knocks significant minutes off the workout. That’s a major plus for me. Plus, they look tidy and the design is much more compact than an entire dumbbell rack. So I can keep them in view without making my apartment untidy. Win Win.

NordicTrack – more commonly known for its treadmills, ellipticals, and rowers – offers a competitively priced set of adjustable dumbbells as part of its strength training range. I was excited to try the compact NordicTrack Select-A-Weight set ($399 / £349), which comes in a 55lb pair. Perhaps it could help usher in a fitter, stronger me in 2024…

Men’s Fitness verdict

A really good-value set of adjustable weights, with max loads of 55lb (25kg) per dumbbell. They’re easy to adjust, too, but there could be more companion app content.
  • Neat, compact design
  • Easy operation
  • Replaces 15 individual dumbbell sets
  • 55lb per bar won’t be enough weight for some
  • Not much iFit companion content

How we test adjustable dumbbells

Our reviewer Chris Smith – a freelance technology writer and product reviewer, with decades of experience – spent around six weeks testing his set of NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells. Among his list of testing criteria were ease of adjustment, grip comfort, weight range and general functionality.

hand gripping the handle of NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells

Design and ease of use

This refined version of the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight adjustable dumbbells (19.4” x 11.4” x 8.5”) are a little less cumbersome than their predecessors. The circular plastic-coated design replaces the octagonal weights and they’re smaller too. 

I found this set to be quite easy to operate, thanks to the orange levers on either side of the bar, which can be lifted and easily slid back and forth for adding up to eight 5lb weights atop the 10lb default load. Another lever goes left or right of centre to tag 2.5lb weights on either side of the bar. In total there are 15 different weight configurations, amounting to 55lbs max if you load the bar completely. The weight indicators on the side of the tray makes it easy to tally up the load. From there, I simply lifted the bar directly up and then out of storage tray. 

However, I needed to take more care when adjusting the load. The end 5lb weight was not fully attached, dropped off and landed on my tarsals. That led to some insecurity when performing chest presses, for instance. So, it’s important to ensure all weights are securely locked in by pushing the lever all the way down before lifting out. 

I also had to be careful to lift the bar straight up and down to ensure the weights nestled properly in the storage rack. 

Grip comfort

The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight dumbbells have a reassuring grip thanks to the scoring in the bar. 

Even with sweaty palms, the weight felt secure and did not slip, even when performing exercises like the dumbbell clean and jerk, or Zottman curls, and one arm swings where there is often need for faster motion and rotation.

Weight range

Personally speaking, the 55lb max load for each dumbbell was more than enough, as I rarely go beyond 30lb for any single arm exercise or weighted squats and lunges. It may be a little lightweight for some more advanced lifters, but there are plentiful options on sale to cater for you.. 

The popular BowFlex SelectTech models go up to 90lbs and 17 weight configurations, for instance, but that’s a lot more expensive, at $799 RRP. PowerBlock models, meanwhile, range up to 175lb and replaces 22 dumbbell sets.

iFit membership

The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight dumbbells come with a free 30-day membership to NordicTrack’s iFit subscription, which is like Peleton’s offering and is available through the iFit app ($39 / £34 a month). 

It’s far more useful if you also have one of the company’s machines, like the NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine. There aren’t many specific workouts for the adjustable dumbbells, but there is an array of strength training options. If you have a rower, elliptical or bike from NordicTrack, you will get great value from a membership, but it isn’t worth buying for the dumbbells alone. 

Are they worth it?

A couple of early hiccups with the configuration aside (my bad, but ouch!), the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells have been a great addition to my home fitness set-up. At up to 55lbs per bar, the weight load was more than enough for me, and the ease of adjustment makes transitioning between exercises a breeze. Stored in the corner of my home office, they encouraged me to lift more regularly, without wasting time on adjusting the weight. It was something I could achieve during a 30-minute break from work, without any hassle.