Today I’m reviewing a product that is near and dear to my heart: the Bowflex 552 Dumbbells. Yes, I own this product, and I use it nearly every day. So, disclaimer: This review will be entirely based upon my own opinions and observations.
What is it? The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are a set of two adjustable weight dumbbells that range in weight from 5 lbs. to 52.5 lbs. The range of weight is in 2.5-pound increments from 5 to 25 lbs., and then in 5-pound increments from 25 to 50 pounds, with another little 2.5 lb. notch beyond that. In all, you get 15 dumbbells in one sleek package.
How does it work? The Bowflex 552′s work on a dial system. You just turn a dial at each end of the dumbbell to the desired weight and lift the dumbbell out of its cradle and voila, you are holding a dumbbell of that weight. A couple of minor problems with the dial system:
1) You turn each dial in the opposite direction to adjust the weight – if you’re not paying attention, you can end up with different settings on the two ends of your dumbbell (so just pay attention!) and 2) If you turn the dial a little too far or not quite far enough, it gets stuck and when you try to lift the dumbbell out of the cradle, you end up pulling on the whole 52.5 pounds instead of say the 10 or 15 pound weight you thought you would be lifting.
This can be dangerous! After having this happen a few times, I now make sure the numbers I want are lined up right with the arrow, and I give a little tug to make sure the weight isn’t stuck before I just pull it out of the cradle.
How much does it cost? A set of two dumbbells costs $399 on Amazon.com, and that comes with free shipping. I know that you can buy them cheaper at other online retailers, but I assume they do not include free shipping, so the price ends up being about the same. That’s a fairly steep price compared to some other brands, but I and many others agree that Bowflex’s durability and design are superior to other adjustable weight dumbbells on the market.
Also, $399 is much cheaper than you would pay to buy the thirty dumbbells this set of two replaces. If you bought hex dumbbells used at $.75 per pound, you would pay $581 for them, and then you would have thirty dumbbells laying around!
What are the pros?
- High quality construction and long durability
- Small weight increments are ideal for all users
- Compact and pretty attractive – they look fine laying on the floor in my living room
- Super easy to adjust
What are the cons?
Not everyone needs 52.5 lbs. of weight. I really wish they made a set that went to 30 or 35 lbs.
The dumbbells are really long (in order to fit all of those plates on there). This can make them awkward for some exercises, however, I found that after using them for about a week I was used to them and didn’t really notice this any more.
Relatively high cost for a piece of home gym equipment. You can get similar style dumbbells starting at $60 per set, though these only cover about half the weight settings and are not of as high construction quality.
Who should buy and use this product? Anyone who is looking to build a serious home gym, or anyone who is into a strength training program with the intention to progress to pretty heavy weights. Also, anyone who likes to have the latest, greatest name brand stuff (your friends will envy you!)
Who should not buy and use this product? Anyone whose workout regimen only includes light weight lifting and who does not wish to progress to heavier weights. Many older women, for example, can get a very good workout with just a set of 5, 7, 10 and 15 lb. dumbbells. In this case, a different set of adjustable dumbbells, or a set of hex or neoprene dumbbells in those various weights is more appropriate and more cost effective.
Would I recommend this product to friends and clients? The bottom line is, yes. If you want a high quality set of dumbbells, if you don’t have a lot of space for workout equipment and if you intend to keep progressing to heavier weights in your strength training program, then you should definitely consider this product!