Edit Content
Exercise and Fitness

Gear Review: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

Raymond Chow | Exercise Specialist
/ February 10, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Hardy and easy to use adjustable dumbbells that range from 5-52.5 lbs
  • Saves space at a great price
  • Usable by all, though the heavier weights are catered towards advanced lifters
  • Dial-adjustment mechanism and weighted plates are secured when in use


  • MSRP: $429
  • Sale price seen as low as: $250-300 at Costco, Best Buy, Amazon, Sam’s Club, Bowflex official website, and other retailers
  • Weights adjustable to: 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5 lbs
  • Weights adjusted by twisting the end dials
  • Storage trays
  • Rubber grips
  • 2 year warranty

What are they?

The 552’s are one of Bowflex’s adjustable dumbbell models. Dumbbells are a type of fitness equipment that holds a specific amount of weight, used for resistance exercise. The common standard for dumbbells are either cast iron or rubber, though there are other materials that are used, such as steel, water, cement, or a combination like the vinyl dumbbell. Due to the nature of dumbbells holding a specific weight, one would have to have a pair of dumbbells for each weight they wish to use during their exercise. 

Over time, exercise from home can become restrictive due to the limited amount of space and the dumbbell weights available. This is where adjustable dumbbells come into play. They are a standalone piece of equipment that was built for the combination of convenience of space and practicality.

How do they work?

There are many other companies that produce adjustable dumbbells and the adjustment of weight is performed differently depending on which model. The 552’s are only adjustable while in their storage trays. Seated in the storage tray, the dials on each end of the dumbbell may be twisted clockwise or counterclockwise to increase or decrease the amount of weight attached to the handle of the dumbbell. When turning the dial to increase the weight, the handle will lock in the plates that correspond to the weight indicated on the dial. When turning the dial to decrease the weight, the handle will release plates that do not correspond to the weight indicated on the dial. Once the intended corresponding weight is dialed in, the dumbbell is ready for use. The handle of the dumbbell will house the weights corresponding to the number on the dial; whereas, the remaining weighted plates will remain on the storage tray.

What sets Bowflex 552 dumbbells apart from others?

The engineering of the dial mechanism is second to none. As mentioned before, the dumbbells can only be adjusted while housed in the storage tray. When the dumbbells are lifted off of the tray for usage, the dials will no longer be able to rotate, meaning that there is no chance that the weighted plates will fall out during use. Overall, the build is sturdy so that the plates do not wobble when attached to the handle during use and they are durable.

What are the drawbacks?

All adjustable dumbbells, not just the 552’s, are bulky in nature. These dumbbells have to accommodate for both the locking and unlocking mechanisms of the plates and they have to be able to hold their maximum advertised weight. As a result, the length of these adjustable dumbbells tend to be much longer than that of the standard cast iron dumbbell. Exercises such as the bicep curl, in which a wrist rotation is involved, makes the end of the dumbbell make contact with the side of the body. For other exercises such as the front raise, the dumbbells are pushed further apart than they would due to the length of the dumbbells. It is under these circumstances where the compromise meets the practicality of the product.

Additionally, when purchasing new ones out of the box, the 552’s weigh a total of 52.5 lbs per dumbbell. Carrying the new pair of dumbbells will be challenging to get to and from either the car or the doorstep where it’s delivered. One way to make this easier is to open the box, adjust the dials to the lowest setting, and bring each plate into the house, one at a time.

Lastly, the rubber grip on the handles are fairly large, which makes the diameter of the handle slightly larger than the standard dumbbell. For someone with small hands or fingers, it may be challenging to hold. Standard hand weights have smaller handles, which may be more appropriate. 

The Cost

Most individuals will purchase these dumbbells at the sale price, which is typically $300. When comparing this to the price of standard dumbbells, it’s best to look at the average price per pound. Typically, weights cost about $1-2/lb. Normal pricing for dumbbells is approximately $2/lb; however during sales, dumbbells can sell for as low as $1/lb and any lower is a very rare sighting. 

For the purpose of what we do here at Enara, a beginning set of dumbbells would include a pair of dumbbells weighing 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15 lbs. Eventually through progression, the addition of a pair of dumbbells weighing 20 and 25 lbs can be expected. The total poundage of dumbbells pairs ranging from 3-25 lbs would equate to 172 lbs. The cost of all of the dumbbells would be approximately $172-344.

Now, let’s compare the price per pound of standard dumbbells to determine the value of the Bowflex’s 552 adjustable dumbbells. The total weight for a pair of 552’s is 105 lbs. The price for 105 lbs of weight ranges from $105-205. Considering that my estimated value calculated for standard dumbbells only included weights up to 25, the 552’s already have the upper hand because the weights go as high as 52.5 lbs. Additionally, the 552’s have a greater variety of weights, which increase by 2.5 lbs until the 25 lbs mark. 

At a first glance, we can look at the actual MSRP price of the 552’s ($429) and the price per pound for a pair (105 lbs total weight) would be $4.08/lb. When compared to the sale price of $300, the price per pound for a pair would be $2.86/lb. However, these adjustable dumbbells are different because it’s not simply two 52.5 lb dumbbells, they include every weight in between. By adding up each weight that a pair of 552 dumbbells offer, the theoretical value at a price of $1/lb is $795. When we compare the MSRP price at $429, it doesn’t look half bad. As for the sale price of $300 – it’s a steal.

Why shouldn’t you buy Bowflex 552 dumbbells?

Besides the drawbacks discussed above, they might not be for everyone. They were not built with beginners in mind nor were they built for people with small hands. The dumbbell can be adjusted up to 52.5 lbs, which is not necessary for a large majority of people. In most cases, weights from 3-25 lbs are more than plenty to establish a meaningful home-exercise routine. Once an exercise routine is established and strength has increased, there will come a time when one should begin to consider getting a gym membership. If a person is using 10 lbs at the most and does not feel that weights above 25 lbs are within their reach, then there is no reason to pursue a pair of dumbbells that go as high as 52.5 lbs.

Who is it for?

The Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells are great for an individual that wants the ability to perform regular home-exercises, while saving space and money. Even for the average gym-goer, having a pair of dumbbells to use at home when time is of the essence or when there are unexpected closures makes the 552’s a great addition to the home. The 552’s would be great for those who have a growing pile of dumbbells at home and either need to downsize to save space or increase their options without creating a larger pile. Adjustable dumbbells, not just the 552 model, are specifically built to save space. A single pair of dumbbells will take up significantly less space than a collection of dumbbells. The 552 dumbbells can also save money depending on how many dumbbells are purchased and dependent on the price per pound. 

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells: Conclusion

The Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells are adjustable from 5-52.5 lbs. They save space, can save money, and are well-designed. They are adjustable by the turn of the dial and the weighted plates will not release unless the dumbbell is seated in the storage trays, eliminating the fear of bumping the dial and dropping weights. When compared to the average price per pound of dumbbells, the price of the 552’s is a steal.

Resistance exercise plays a major role in every step of the Enara program. The Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells can be one of the tools in the box that provides long-term accessibility to exercise equipment to take care of the body. Exercise is a necessity like eating and sleeping. Everyone should be lifting weights for the long-term. Resistance exercises are great for bone density, muscle mass, metabolism, blood pressure, stress reduction and so much more. It’s the care our bodies deserve. If you are considering a purchase, speak to your exercise specialist to see if these are right for you. As every person is an individual, so are their exercise goals, routines, and programs. The purchase of exercise equipment is a thoughtful process that should be tailored to the one using them.

Skip to content