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Bowflex vs NordicTrack Dumbbells (2021): Which Adjustable Dumbbell Set Should You Buy?

Adjustable dumbbells are great for home workouts since they don’t take up much space. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a dedicated room or area for your home workout equipment. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 and the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight are two of the more popular adjustable dumbbell sets that you can get today. With these two, you’ll be able to get a satisfying workout right at your own home. But which one should you buy? We compare the two to help you decide which one is right for you.

Bowflex vs NordicTrack Dumbbells Comparison Chart

ModelBowflex SelectTech 552NordicTrack Select-A-Weight
 
Price
Weight Range5 – 52.5 lbs.10 – 50 lbs.
Weight Settings5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 52.5 lbs10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42.5, 45, 50, 52.5 and 55 lbs.
Adjusting MechanismOuter dialSliding Pin
Inner dial
AppFree Bowflex SelectTech App30-day iFit membership
Warranty2 years90 days

Design and Build Quality

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbell set is more durable than the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight set.

bowflex vs nordictrack dumbbells design selecttech
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 (image) has a weight range of 5 – 52.5 lbs.

These two dumbbell sets are similar in that they have five plates on each side, for a total of 10 per dumbbell, and that they both come with their storage trays. However, that’s about the only similarity with these two. They feature different adjusting mechanisms, materials in certain parts and weight increments.

The handles of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 are made of metal and they have textured rubber grips, but the plates are covered with plastic composite. The plates themselves are made of metal as well, so even if they look cheap, due to the plastic covering, these dumbbells are sturdy. However, it is still recommended that you don’t drop these dumbbells since they have many mechanical parts. These mechanical parts will be the first to get damaged when these dumbbells are dropped from a considerable height.

bowflex vs nordictrack dumbbells design select a weight
The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight (image) has a weight range of 10 – 55 lbs.

The handles of the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight, on the other hand, are covered in plastic with some knurling, but they can be hard to grip, especially if you have sweaty hands. The metal plates are also covered with plastic and the sliding pins are thin pieces of metal that lock the plates when you adjust them. Just like with the Bowflex SelectTech 552, you should not drop these dumbbells from a considerable height as its adjusting mechanism can be damaged that way.

Overall, we think that the Bowflex SelectTech 552 has the better build quality between the two.

Ease of Use

It’s easier to adjust the weight of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 than the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight.

bowflex vs nordictrack dumbbells ease of use
The free Bowflex SelectTech app gives you access to many workout routines.

On the opposite end of each Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are adjustable dials to select the weight that you want. It’s very easy to use as they are labelled properly. You just set the dumbbells down on their storage trays, move the dials to your desired weight then pick them up again. If you are doing drop sets, it won’t take much time to choose the right weight setting.

As for the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight, you can adjust the weight setting by moving the sliders on top of the dumbbells. These sliders will increase the weight in 10lb increments. To change weight in smaller increments, you need to turn the inner dial as well. Changing weight settings with the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight is easy as well, but it does require you to move more parts. In this area, we prefer the adjusting mechanism of the Bowflex SelectTech 552.

One thing that we didn’t like about the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is that the adjustment dials protrude from the ends. This can make some exercises awkward and can also cause discomfort to certain parts of your body. The leg, for instance, if you are doing heavy bench presses and you use your legs to help lift and put down the weights. This is not an issue with the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight as its ends are flat.

Weight Settings

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is more beginner-friendly than the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight.

bowflex vs nordictrack dumbbells weight settings
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 (left) has an adjustable dial while the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight (right) comes with a sliding pin for weight adjustment.

With the Bowflex SelectTech 552, you get 15 weight settings, from 5 to 52.5 lbs. The dumbbells can go up in increments of 2.5 lbs. from 5 to 25 lbs. and in increments of 5 lbs. from 25 to 50 lbs. The possible weight settings for the Bowflex SelectTech 552 are 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 52.5 lbs.

The consistent 2.5 lb. increase with the Bowflex SelectTech is nice, especially for weaker individuals or those that are just starting out. It would have been better if they implemented the 2.5 lb. increase in the 25 to 50 lb. range as well, since a 5 lb. jump can be a huge hurdle for some people.

On the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight, you also get 15 weight settings, from 10 to 55 lbs. The possible weight settings for this pair of dumbbells are 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42.5, 45, 50, 52.5 and 55 lbs.

With the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight, you’ll notice that these dumbbells go up in increments of 2.5 lbs. from 10 to 12.5 lbs. then from 12.5 lbs. to 15 lbs. However, from 15 lbs., it goes directly to 20 lbs. As stated above, a 5 lb. jump can be hard for those that are inexperienced or those that are weaker, and going from 15 lbs. directly to 20 lbs. can be a big hurdle. For experienced lifters, this might be a non-issue, but for others, this can be a hindrance to their progress.

Warranty

You’ll get a 2-year warranty with the Bowflex SelectTech and 90 days with the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight.

bowflex vs nordictrack dumbbells warranty
Adjustable dumbbells like the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight (image) do not require much space.

With a 2-year warranty, you get a longer support period with the Bowflex SelectTech 552. The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight, in contrast, only comes with a 90-day warranty. Since these adjustable dumbbells have mechanical parts that can be considered the weak links in their designs, the longer warranty period of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 makes it the more attractive purchase.

Verdict

We recommend the Bowflex SelectTech 552 over the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight due to its better build quality and more user-friendly weight settings.

If you are looking to get a pair of adjustable dumbbells for your home workout sessions, we recommend the Bowflex SelectTech 552 over the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight. The Bowflex set has a quality build, it is user-friendly (especially for beginners) and it has a longer warranty period.

The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight is not a terrible pair of dumbbells and it is a good alternative if you prefer its weight range and overall design more. However, at the time of this writing, its price is inflated due to increase in demand, shortage and scalpers. If you need a pair of adjustable dumbbells now, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is the smarter choice.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Are Bowflex dumbbells worth it?

Yes, they are affordable, user-friendly and they are durable.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight any good?

They are not terrible, but there are better alternatives, such as the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbell set.

๐Ÿ“Œ Why are dumbbells so expensive right now?

More people in their homes due to the pandemic means that demand for exercise equipment, dumbbells included, is very high. It doesn’t help that there are scalpers taking advantage of the situation and shortage in supply.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are 50lb. dumbbells enough?

It depends on your goals. If you just want to stay in shape and develop strength in the process, 50lb. dumbbells can be more than enough. However, if you have more specific goals, then you should invest in heavier weights.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.