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NordicTrack Vs Bowflex Dumbbells | Better Set Of Adjustable Dumbbells

The NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells offer a slightly more well-rounded training experience, featuring high build quality, digital integration and a lower price point. For those who prefer a knob-style adjustment system and a slightly wider weight range, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a better alternative.

NordicTrack vs Bowflex Dumbbells

Anyone looking to set up a home gym will inevitably look for a set of adjustable dumbbells for building their skeletal muscle mass.

They are quite effective for strength training at home, giving you weight increment options instead of having to purchase multiple pieces of exercise equipment that take up a lot of space. The NordicTrack iSelect and Bowflex SelectTech 552 are two of the best adjustable dumbbells on the market, and choosing between them can be difficult.

So, let’s examine the features and drawbacks of each to see which one can help maximize your strength training gains!

NordicTrack vs Bowflex Dumbbells: Gauging Their Quality

NordicTrack vs Bowflex Dumbbells: Gauging Their Quality

If you’re committed to the idea of exercising regularly, there are a fair few factors to consider when picking an adjustable dumbbell.

In my experience, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly look at everything a set has to offer before purchasing it. These can be quite expensive, after all, and it’s best to invest your hard-earned money in a product that is worth it.

Next, I’ve put together a brief overview of what you should look for, followed by the details of NordicTrack and Bowflex products. At first glance, it may appear as if these dumbbells are the same as traditional weights, but they are very different.

1. The Weight Selection And Increments

The biggest deciding factor in any set of dumbbells is the weight selection it has to offer. A wide weight selection is always preferable, though the upper and lower limits of this selection and the weight increments also matter. If the weight ceiling is too high or too low with little setting variation to offer, the dumbbells can be detrimental to your weight training.

In case of a very high weight ceiling, you may use other muscles in your body as the targeted muscles won’t have the strength to lift the dumbbell. Doing so for a long time has several detriments, such as minor muscle and joint damage or more serious issues like herniated discs.

And if your weight selection has a low upper limit, your target muscle group won’t be strained enough to build them up properly. You may have to choose a dumbbell with heavier weight settings or perform more reps than necessary to see any benefits. It’s generally better not to pick adjustable weights that are below your strength levels.

This also plays into the weight increments your adjustable dumbbells offer, as the increase in weight between settings should neither be too high nor too low. Typically, they offer pound increments of 2.5, 5, or 10 pounds per set.

For beginners, it is generally recommended to start with a set of dumbbells with a lower limit of weights at 10 to 20 pounds. As they grow stronger, they may increase the weights being lifted.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

The range of weights offered by both NordicTrack iSelect and Bowflex SelectTech 552 is reasonably high, with several increments to help trainers of all kinds. 

NordicTrack dumbbells offer a weight range of 5 to 50 pounds on each dumbbell, which suits beginners as well as those who have progressed well into their strength training. And the same can be said about the Bowflex dumbbells, bringing in a weight range of 5 to 52.5 pounds on each arm. 

As for the increments, the NordicTrack variant adjusts by five pounds, which is a good increment level for beginners. For veterans who prefer a precise weight range, this may be a little high since the NordicTrack can’t weigh, say, 17.5 pounds.

The Bowflex dumbbells have a slight edge over the NordicTrack iSelects, offering an increment of 2.5 pounds until it weighs 25 pounds. From 25 pounds onwards, the Bowflex variant increases its weight by 5 pounds until it reaches the max setting.

While the weight selection between both products is nearly the same, the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells is slightly more versatile than its NordicTrack counterpart.

2. The Adjustment Mechanism

The adjustment mechanism is equally as important as the weight selection of an adjustable dumbbell. Usually, it’s for the best if the adjustment mechanism is easy to operate and remains unmoving during reps. Now, there are three different kinds of adjustment systems: knobs, pins, and dial-type adjustments. The dial-type adjustment system is used in most adjustable dumbbells. That said, the other two systems are equally as good at their job.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

The NordicTrack iSelect brings in a dial-type adjustment system that features digital connectivity to your smartphone or tablet, including support for Amazon Alexa. With this, you can use voice control to add or remove weight plates remotely or by turning the dial in the center of the dumbbell tray. As a result, the NordicTrack iSelect ends up being a high-tech adjustable dumbbell set with simple operation, with a hint of tech for convenience.

On the other hand, the Bowflex dumbbells adjust weights using a more conventional knob-style adjustment system to align with the desired weight. With these weights, you have to adjust their loads by locking the dumbbell in its tray and twisting the knobs on each end. Being a more mechanical adjustment system, there are fewer chances of it malfunctioning due to tech issues.

So, this is rather subjective, just like how much weight you lift. It really depends on which system you prefer, as both perform their tasks well.

3. The Make

Far too often have I come across dumbbells that break upon falling from a moderate height. The sight of a shattered dumbbell is not a pleasant one, but on the flip side, a shattered floor isn’t an ideal prospect either. Depending on your viewpoint, the latter can either speak volumes of the dumbbell quality, or it can mean that your floor desperately needs repairs.

In all seriousness, the build quality of your adjustable dumbbell sets can make or break your exercise experience. Poorly made dumbbells simply won’t hold up during resistance training, and there’s no reason to own a set that can’t handle some stress. Adjustable dumbbells must conform to a seamless build quality standard to ensure there are no mishaps.

You can look at cast iron and steel as favorable materials when picking your preferred set of adjustable dumbbells.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

These are both very robust, with NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells using heavy-duty steel and Bowflex using cast iron. So, they are both very durable and of high build quality.

Taking a closer look, you will find that the Bowflex weights use a lot of plastic in its construction, which can be a bit troubling. The plastic will not survive a fall from a moderate height, which means that you will have to be careful while training. The NordicTrack dumbbells would survive a similar fall with less damage, which provides an edge over the Bowflex set, given the greater use of heavy-duty steel.

The Handles

4. The Handles

There are two things to look for when gauging the right kind of handles for your adjustable dumbbells: the grip and the length. Poorly-made grips can end up leaving nasty calluses on your hands, in addition to making reps uncomfortable.

As for the length, some adjustable dumbbells come with fixed-length handles. While this is fine in lower weight settings, you will find that the gripping area reduces as you increase the weight. The handle ought to adjust as weight is added - as more weight is added, the longer it must be.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

While the NordicTrack option comes with adjustable handles, the Bowflex option lacks this feature entirely. This makes gripping the handle awkward while using Bowflex. NordicTrack increases the length of the handle as more weight is added, providing a more natural and comfortable lifting experience, which is similar to traditional dumbbells.

As for the grip the handles offer, NordicTrack makes use of textured metal to keep your grip steady and unmoving. In sharp contrast, the Bowflex dumbbells have a layer of natural rubber over its metal handle. The latter can be more comfortable purely from a gripping perspective, but it can fall a little short as more weights are added.

It was a bit difficult for me to pick one as the ideal dumbbell handle would be a combination of both. From a practical standpoint, I feel that the NordicTrack iSelect has the better handle.

5. Additional Weight Expansion

You are bound to outgrow your adjustable dumbbells after training for a while, at which point gaining more muscle becomes difficult. Since you will have reached the maximum weight setting, the only way to move forward would be to add more weight to the dumbbells. So, adjustable dumbbells should come with decently-sized weight expansion packs to allow you to increase your training intensity.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

Interestingly, neither product offers options for weight expansion beyond their upper limit. This does limit how versatile each product can be, particularly if you need to perform reps with more than 50 pounds in each hand. Even if it may take you a while to surpass the 50-pound threshold, having the expansion option is always nice.

If you’ve already reached that threshold in strength training, you may want to progress to a more advanced set of dumbbells instead of these two.

6. The Value For Money

The best adjustable dumbbells come with the most features in an affordable package. Your new set of adjustable dumbbells ought to perform well for a long time without falling apart to be worth your money.

What The Two Dumbbell Sets Offer

Looking at all the features each dumbbell brings to the table, I would say that the NordicTrack iSelect has the better overall value. This dumbbell set has digital integration, robust build quality, is comfortable to pick up, and less expensive of the two. There are merits to the NordicTrack dumbbells that the Bowflex dumbbells fall just short of.

With that said, it’s important to note that NordicTrack doesn’t match the post-purchase support offered by Bowflex on its set of adjustable dumbbells. The SelectTech 552 comes with a 2-year limited warranty on its parts, while the iSelect only offers 90 days of manufacturer warranty. Should anything happen to the Bowflex dumbbells, you won’t have to worry much about replacements.

NordicTrack Vs Bowflex Dumbbells Conclusion

NordicTrack Vs Bowflex Dumbbells Conclusion

Due to the convenience they offer and their cost-effective nature, adjustable dumbbells can be a core part of your strength training regime. Modern sets of adjustable dumbbells come with a plethora of features to streamline the training experience, which can make choosing one complicated.

From my experience using the two, the NordicTrack iSelect adjustable dumbbells have a slight edge over the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. And the most important reason for that is high build quality and featured adjustable handles, which are great for strength trainers of all kinds.

That said, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is not at all a bad option. The set can match the NordicTrack dumbbells almost beat-for-beat, offering just as much versatility for workouts. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you need out of your dumbbells, so you alone can pick the right one!

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