Man taking 100 pound adjustable dumbbells off of a stand to start lifting

Adjustable vs. Fixed Dumbbells: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Picking out the right equipment for your home gym is always a process that requires a bit of research. Fitness equipment can be an investment, so taking some time to consider all the types of weights and accessories on the market will help you truly optimize your home gym space and the types of workouts you want to do.

Why does it matter? Investing in a high-quality home gym that supports your strength training journey means picking out equipment that will help you level up as you get stronger. It means selecting equipment that’s guaranteed to last and provide consistent performance every time you work out. Our guide is here to help you in your decision between fixed dumbbells vs. adjustable dumbbells, and why one may be a better fit for your home gym space and workout style over the other. Let’s weigh some of the pros and cons of each type.

Types of Dumbbells

Fixed Weight Dumbbells

Traditional Dumbbells


One of the classic staples of any gym, fixed dumbbells come in a pair of identical weights, typically part of a wide-ranging weight range. They typically come in a hex or circular shape and are either made of exposed metal or coated with rubber material. They’re extremely durable and easy to use during a strength training session. You can purchase them at most sporting goods stores either as a single free weight, in pairs or as a full set of weights, depending on the weight range you want for your workouts.

Adjustable Dumbbells


Adjustable dumbbells are a unique and versatile evolution of the fixed dumbbell, offering a wide range of weight options in one compact piece of equipment. An adjustable dumbbell like PowerBlock’s comes with a selector pin that allows you to quickly move up or down in weight as you move through different exercises and can be compatible with a variety of attachments for even more workout customization.

Cost Considerations

No matter where you land while considering whether to invest in adjustable dumbbells vs. fixed, you’ll be investing in a durable product that most likely will have a high upfront cost. Buying several pairs of fixed dumbbells vs. an adjustable dumbbell will be much higher in price, and depending on how much versatility you’re seeking, could cost upward of $1000. This is especially true if you prioritize rubber-coated dumbbells that will offer more protection for your floor. You’ll also need to factor in a storage solution — dumbbell racks are important for keeping sets of dumbbells out of the way and should be considered in your budget.

An adjustable dumbbell offers significant value in that you’ll gain access to the equivalent of up to 30 pairs of dumbbells in one. If you purchased the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP instead of the equivalent in fixed dumbbells, for example, you could be saving over $500.

The takeaway: Adjustable dumbbells offer massive cost savings vs. buying multiple pairs of fixed dumbbells.

Space and Storage

The space you have available in your home gym will be a major factor when choosing between fixed dumbbells vs. adjustable dumbbells. If you are going the route of fixed dumbbells and want a large set, you’ll most likely need a storage rack. This is a great setup for some people with expansive home gyms, but for those with limited space, a more compact option is needed — especially when you still want access to a wide range of weights.

That’s where an adjustable dumbbell really shines. You can have one pair of dumbbells that replaces up to 30 pairs of fixed dumbbells with the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP.

Looking for a way to further optimize your home gym? If you’re looking at an adjustable dumbbell, you may want a dumbbell stand that keeps your equipment off the ground and readily available for adjusting weight as you work out.


The takeaway: When it comes to saving space in your workout area, an adjustable dumbbell offers an unmatched compact design that eliminates the need for investing in multiple pairs of fixed dumbbells and a storage solution to accommodate them.

Weight Ranges and Workout Versatility

When considering whether fixed dumbbells vs. adjustable dumbbells are the right pick for your home gym, you’ll need to factor in the types of workouts you want and the weight ranges that will help you meet your strength goals. If you’re prioritizing endurance and lean muscle, you may be satisfied with a smaller range of weights. In this case, investing in a few pairs of fixed dumbbells may be just what you need.

However, if you’re looking to unlock a greater range of weight, an adjustable dumbbell can offer a weight range from five to 50 pounds, with increments of 2.5 pounds as you level up. This level of versatility allows you to truly customize your workouts for a comprehensive strength training session.

Learn About Expandable Dumbbells

Range of exercises

Dumbbells of any kind are perfect tools for a variety of strength exercises. But before making your selection, take stock of the exercises you’ll be doing on a regular basis. If you want more versatility from your equipment, an adjustable dumbbell can offer more than a pair of fixed dumbbells.

PowerBlock’s adjustable dumbbells allow you to attach other types of workout equipment, unlocking even more exercises. Here are just a few examples:

  • Curl bar
  • Kettlebell handle
  • Straight bar

Fixed dumbbells are great tools for free weight exercises, but if you want to take your routine to the next level, it’s worth considering an adjustable dumbbell simply for the range of exercises it can provide.

The takeaway: Both types of dumbbells give you access to a wide range of popular exercises. The adjustable dumbbell unlocks even more by giving you the option of attaching accessories like bars and handles.

Convenience and Ease of Use

Are adjustable dumbbells as good as regular dumbbells when it comes to convenience? There’s no denying that having multiple sets of fixed dumbbells makes it easy to switch between pairs while you’re moving from exercise to exercise. There’s no need to adjust anything when you can just grab and go.

If the range of exercises and actual weight are more important to you, adjustable dumbbells are still extremely easy to use, especially when paired with a dumbbell stand that makes adjusting weight a quick process. Though it’s an extra step, all you need to do is pull the selector pin, and insert it into the weight bracket you want.


If you like traveling with gym equipment, consider the convenience of transportation between the two types. An adjustable dumbbell is easily portable and won’t take up a lot of space or roll around in your vehicle. Loose fixed dumbbells are likely to shift around and bringing multiple pairs means giving up extra storage space.

The takeaway: The fixed dumbbell makes switching weights easy — if you have multiple weights available. An adjustable dumbbell is still easy to customize, especially when supported by a stand. They’re also more convenient for those who like to take weights along during travel.

Choose the Dumbbell That’s Best for You

The dumbbell that’s right for you is the one that makes working out accessible, convenient and exciting. If fixed dumbbells support your strength training journey, you should feel empowered to incorporate them into your home gym. But if your priorities are having a wide range of weights, cost effectiveness and a compact design, adjustable dumbbells are an easy and obvious choice for any home gym. If you’re looking for the perfect addition to your home gym space, check out PowerBlock’s selection of adjustable dumbbells and find the model that will support you in your strength training journey.