One way to enhance your fitness goals is to get a pair of dumbbells. With these free weights, it’s easy to build strength and do resistance training in the comfort of your home.

But there’s one dilemma: fixed vs adjustable dumbbells. Is one better than the other? Which one suits you best?

Start warming up and getting your muscles ready! Here’s what you need to know.

Fixed VS Adjustable Dumbbells: The Difference

First things first: let’s differentiate how either dumbbell type works. From the name itself, adjustable dumbbells come with a mechanism for adding or reducing weights. And there are two types.

One is selectorised dumbbells, where you set a combination of weight plates by adjusting the safety lock or twisting the dial. An example of which is the ATIVAFIT Single Adjustable Dumbbell (12.5kg).

The other type is the plate-loaded or spin-lock dumbbells, where you need to spin off or on the collars to adjust the weight plates and lock them into place. The AILI-Dumbbell 30kg Set is an excellent example of this type.

On the other hand, regular or fixed-weight dumbbells do not support weight adjustment. Traditional dumbbells also have two styles.

The hex dumbbells have weight heads in a hexagon shape to prevent rolling and allow floor exercises like dumbbell push-ups.

Circular dumbbells, also pro-style dumbbells, have rounded weight heads with straight or contoured handles.

Fixed VS Adjustable Dumbbells: The Comparison

Both types of dumbbells are excellent for strength training and muscle gain. But they have distinct qualities that make them more suitable for your goals and preference.

Here are some of them.

Construction and durability

Fixed-weight dumbbells made of cast iron, rubber or chrome steel are very robust. Without any movable parts, these dumbbell sets can last a lifetime.

The adjustable ones have an innovative system to switch weight plates with ease. However, this technology also requires less durable plastic parts to work.

Over time, this type is more likely to wear down or break, especially with frequent, heavy use.


If you’re into training a wide range of muscle groups, then adjustable dumbbell sets got you covered.

The Powertrain Set, for instance, comes with a weight range of 4.5kg to 40kg. With this pair, serious bodybuilders can train with up to 80kg! You can learn more about this item from our product review.

Health Constitution_Working Out with Fixed and Adjustable Dumbbells

Fixed dumbbells, depending on your chosen weight, can limit your freedom of movement. Also, if you need to train other muscle groups, you’ll have to purchase more than one set.

There are other options available to make fixed-weight dumbbells more versatile without spending a lot, though.

One is using a weight grip clip accessory that can turn your dumbbell into a kettlebell. Another way is to pair your heavy-weight regular dumbbells with lightweight ones like the Reebok Softgrip. See our list of the best kettlebells in Australia.

This dumbbell set is perfect when you feel like adding aerobics to your routine or levelling up your morning jogs.

Space efficiency

A set of adjustable weights is ideal when you do not have the space for a dumbbell rack with ten pairs or more!

Adjustable ones are easy to slide under your bed, hide inside cabinets or place in one corner to keep them out of the way.

Most models such as the Lifespan Fitness Cortex V1 also include a holder for easy and safe storage. Check out our review for this item here.

Ease of use

The grab-and-go quality of fixed weights makes them super easy to use. But then again, if your workout routine involves changing weights after every set, then go for its adjustable counterpart.

Switching in plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells can take time, though. So, for speedy adjustments, I suggest looking for selectorised ones with dial or push-and-pull designs.

Price and cost-effectiveness

Adjustable dumbbell sets are more expensive as they come with a wide range of weights. On the other hand, regular dumbbells have higher durability and, perhaps, more value for money.

Of course, price is not the only factor you need to consider when choosing between the two.

For instance, if you prefer doing a single dumbbell exercise only, fixed weights are more practical. However, if you’re after exercise variety to suit different muscles, buying adjustable weights is more cost-efficient.

Compared with adjustable dumbbells, you’ll likely end up spending more on multiple pairs of fixed weights. And you need to purchase dumbbell storage racks for them, too.

Fixed VS Adjustable Dumbbells: The Verdict

Regular dumbbells are ideal if you want to combine weight training with other forms of exercise. But, for people aiming for strength gains and larger muscles, adjustable types are best.

Regardless of the equipment you buy, make sure to decide according to your needs, fitness level and workout preference.

And if you choose to go for the best adjustable dumbbells in Australia, this buying guide can help you out.