Bowflex 552 SelectTech Dumbbells Review

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells have a lot to offer. With 15 weight settings packed into a compact design, changing plates is a breeze thanks to the user-friendly dial system and loading dock. These dumbbells are simple to use and won't break the bank, making them a great choice for your home gym. To give you a firsthand experience, I personally put them to the test to let you know how they hold up to the competition. 

Bowflex 552 SelectTech At A Glance

Now, let's dive straight into the details, pros, and cons of these dumbbells. No beating around the bush, just practical and no-nonsense information coming your way.

  • Weight Range - 5 to 52.5lbs in each dumbbell
  • Selectable Weight(lbs) - 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5
  • Materials - Plastic, metal 
  • Colors - Black
  • Weight Selection - Dial
  • Warranty - 2 years
  • Dimensions - 16.9” L x 8.3” W x 9” H
  • Price - $429
  • Replaces a set of 15 dumbbells
  • Space Saving
  • Quick and Easy to use and change weights
  • Inexpensive compared to buying equivalent weights
  • Delicate, lots of plastic
  • Low max weight @ 52.5 lbs
  • Must be extra cautious using them
  • The selection mechanism can wear out over time


I must emphasize the importance of handling these weights with care and avoiding any misuse. Unfortunately, the selector mechanism is fragile, and combined with the generous use of plastic, make for a somewhat fragile set of weights. This, understandably, can be a significant drawback for many individuals.

However, that being said, maintaining proper form and control are key factors to proper weightlifting. Personally, I don’t see this as a drawback because the fragility of the weights motivate me to maintain greater control over the weights rather than dissuade me from using them. 

Are They Worth It?

As with most consumer products, asking the question “Is it worth it?” boils down to personal circumstances and preference. In my case they are a vital part of my workouts and will always be one my favorite pieces of equipment making them 100% worth it.

Once again, what works for me might not work for you so I’ll cover a few details that may be a game changer in your case.

Great For:

  • People on a budget - Coming under 450$ the dumbbells will run you just over 4$ a pound, which is inexpensive for compact weight lifting equipment.
  • Beginners - 52.5 lbs is more than enough to start your journey in weightlifting. These dumbbells combined with an adjustable bench are often the only equipment a person will need when first starting to lift weights.
  • Drop Sets - The ability to quickly select the desired weight make these dumbbells perfect for drop sets. Just place them in the base, dial it down and continue your set. Even if you lift heavy, these dumbbells would surely come in handy when the muscles weaken.
  • Light Lifting - As stated above, 52.5 lbs is the maximum weight per dumbbell so if you don’t plan on lifting heavier than that these are the perfect choice.
  • Compact Solutions - Many of us don’t have the space for 15 sets of fixed dumbbells so the 552s are a brilliant solution for those who want lots of variety at a fraction of the space.

Not Great For:

  • Heavy Lifters - Those who are experienced enough will probably find the max weight of 52.5lbs annoyingly low, and for that there is a solution, The Boxflex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells. Reaching up to 90lbs per dumbell.
  • Those Who Drop Weights - There are those who love the sound of pumping iron and throwing weights around. It’s the universal sound of effort and gains, but if you are one of those people, give these weights a wide berth. They are far too delicate to be of any use to you.

My Experience with the Bowflex 552 Dumbbells

As I mentioned before, the Bowflex 552s are one of my favorite pieces of equipment for the variety and convenience they provide.  Combining these dumbbells with an adjustable bench opens up an enormous variety of exercises that cover nearly every muscle group in your body. Allowing those with limited space the ability to achieve a total body workout.

Weight Selection

The selection of the weights is as simple as turning the dial on either side of the weight to your desired number. Both the 552s and 1090 dumbells come with a plastic stand that houses the dumbbells itself and the non-selected weights that are left over after dialing in and lifting your weight.

The weight needs to be securely placed all the way down in the plastic stand to allow the dial mechanism to turn freely. The dial cannot be rotated when the dumbbell is not seated in the base, ensuring safety during lifts.

When it comes to the actual weight itself, there are 15 possible weight increments to choose from; 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5. The small 2.5lb increments start from 5lb - 25lb. The remaining 25lb - 50lb increments increase in steps of 5lbs. 

It is possible to set different weights on either side of a single dumbbell to create and offset center of balance and it can be useful for some lifts, however those are more advanced techniques that I find are rarely used.

In my opinion the weight selection process is easy and efficient and found it sped up my down time between sets by quite a bit. However, There is one point of concern I would like to bring up. There is a small plastic notch that protrudes from each weight plate and when the dial is rotated to select said plate, it locks onto that notch and pulls it up. The issue here is that the notch is mad of plastic and I can definitely see that as a weak point for the weights over time. Sliding the selector over that notch is sure to wear on it and possible cause a bit of weight sliding.

Space Saving

The 552s are bulkier than an equivalent 50lb fixed dumbbell but come with enough benefits to overlook that fact. Both the 552s and 1090s come with a plastic stand that houses the non-selected weights that are left over after dialing in your weight.

I put furniture sliders on the bottoms of my weight stand and this let’s me easily push the weights into storage when I am not using them. 

Comfort & Use

These dumbbells are comfortable to hold due to the rubber coating that covers each handle, which also helps with grip. Since the dumbbells are bulkier than standard dumbbells they may feel a little bit awkward when first using them.

I found that my stance changed slightly for a few exercises to accommodate the added size of the dumbbell. This was a bigger issue with the 1090s rather than the 552s.



The biggest drawback to the SelectTech series of dumbbells is the durability of the weights themselves. As mentioned earlier these weights can under no circumstances be dropped.

Treat them like they are made of glass, very heavy muscle-building glass. There is far too much plastic on these dumbbells for me to be 100% happy but for the price point, it is to be expected.

The plastic notches used for selecting weight plates caught my attention. Although I haven't used them extensively enough to have noticed any significant wear and tear yet. 

Noise Level

The Bowflex 552s and 1090s are virtually silent when moved around. There is an audible click when selecting your weight but it is not loud enough to be of any significance.

The only other time I found the weights make noise is when placing them back in the base, but the sound is significantly muted because the plates are coated in a matte plastic finish. 

The Competition

I always associate Bowflex with adjustable compact weights since I remembered seeing those commercials on late night TV as a young kid. Since then Bowflex has done quite well for themselves in that industry but they are far from the only ones to make solid products in this category. The competition is fierce with products like the “Select a Weight Dumbbell” from NordicTrack or the Powerblock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells. 

Both products come priced cheaper than the Bowflex dumbbells creating a serious dilemma for buyers. Take a look at our reviews for the Powerblock and Nordictrack dumbbells and decide for yourself which ones you think you will best benefit from. 

Final Verdict - Should you buy them?

Short Answer, Yes, go buy them.  The Bowflex 552s are some of the best value weights you can find, period. The competition may be fierce but Bowflex has done a great job refining these dumbbells and I firmly believe they are one of the top fitness products that all home gyms should be equipped with.

While it is true that they are delicate, all “select a weight” dumbbells share this vulnerability, it is merely the price to be paid for the ease of use and versatility. Not only that, I found the the fragility of the weights was a great reason to force myself to exert greater control over the weights. This is never a bad thing, remember, slow and steady wins the race. 

I am not a fan of the amount of plastic found on the dumbbells and I feel there could be some improvements in that direction but overall I found the Bowflex 552 dumbbells live up to their reputation and are absolutely worth the investment. 


Denver Matheson

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: