Bowflex SelectTech 552 Review: Overall Thoughts
Despite the mixed reputation of Bowflex, the company makes some quality products, and the SelectTech 552s are one prominent example.
Compared to other adjustable dumbbells on the market, the 552s fall short in a couple of ways and are by no means the best option. But given their price and the value you get in return, these are good and would work well for the average trainee.
With a weight range from 5 to 52.5 lbs (2.2 to 23.8 kg), change increments in 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg), and a sophisticated mechanism for adjusting the load in seconds, the 552s offer a good training experience for just $429.
What Makes The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Great
At first glance, the Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells look a bit gimmicky––like something you can see on a late-night infomercial.
But despite their appearance, these dumbbells offer excellent value for the price and have established themselves on the market.
Here are six things that make the 552s worthy of being called fantastic adjustable dumbbells:
- Incredible flexibility for adjusting the load
- Replace 15 pairs of regular dumbbells
- Cool system for adjusting the load in seconds
- Good value for the cost
- Established on the market with over 20,000 reviews
- Two years warranty
An In-Depth Look At The Benefits of Bowflex SelectTech 552
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells is the sheer flexibility users get.
The weight goes from 5 to 52.5 lbs (2.2 to 23.8 kg), and users can adjust it in 2.5-lb (1.1 kg) increments. That flexibility gives trainees the exact load they need on every exercise.
2. Replace 15 Pairs of Dumbbells
Thanks to the 2.5-lb increments, a pair of 552s essentially replace 15 pairs of regular dumbbells.
The available weights on a Bowflex 552 dumbbell are 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 lbs.
It’s not the same as owning 15 pairs of dumbbells, but you can still change the weight in seconds. Plus, you get to save a lot of space.
3. Easy to Adjust the Load In Seconds
The Bowflex 552 dumbbells aren’t known for their finesse and certainly don’t allow you to adjust the weight like some more expensive options. But you can still change the weight in 30 seconds or less.
Simply put the dumbbell in the tray, turn the dials on both sides, and pick it up to start your set.
4. Established Product
The Bowflex 552s have been around forever and have established themselves as a quality product at an affordable price.
At the time of writing, these dumbbells have 20,400 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, with a rating of 4.8 out of 5. On their website, the dumbbells have just over 7,000 reviews with the same rating as Amazon.
It’s impossible to find another pair of adjustable dumbbells with so much social proof and that many positive reviews online.
5. Two-Year Warranty
Despite their somewhat controversial reputation (more on that below), the SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells have a two-year warranty, giving you peace of mind.
6. Good Value For the Price
As a whole, the Bowflex 552s offer great value for the money. These dumbbells are more affordable than most other models, have a two-year warranty, and come with a dial system that makes weight adjustment seamless.
A Few Things That Could Have Been Done Better
1. Some Elements Could Have Been Made of Metal
One notable drawback of the 552s is that some crucial elements are plastic, which isn’t ideal for long-term use.
For example, the discs on both sides of the handle, where the weight plates go, are made of plastic. Because of that, you must be somewhat careful when putting the handle in the tray to add or remove weight.
Excessive banging can cause some of these disks to crack or break, making it impossible for them to hold onto the weight plates.
2. Could Have Been More Compact
Another drawback of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells is their size. Whether you’re using 5 or 52.5 pounds, the handle is the same length, which can be uncomfortable.
For example, when doing dumbbell curls, the dumbbells can hit your thighs and mess up your form.
On average, an unloaded Bowflex dumbbell will be twice the size of a normal 5-lb dumbbell.
On the topic of design, these dumbbells don’t have a flat bottom, which is somewhat common for adjustable dumbbells. As a result, it can be challenging to set yourself up for a set, such as by placing the weights on top of your thighs before a set of incline dumbbell presses.
3. They Could Have Been Heavier
Yes, I understand that the idea behind the 552s is to offer enough weight and good flexibility for beginners. Nevertheless, it’s still worth noting that these only go up to 52.5 lbs (23.8 kilos), which isn’t nearly enough to challenge stronger lifters.
Of course, if you’re looking for something heavier, Bowflex offers another model - the SelectTech 1090. As their name suggests, these go up to 90 lbs (40.8 kg).
4. The Grip Could Have Been Better
I don’t understand why Bowflex has chosen to make the handle that way, but it is one drawback of these dumbbells.
Unlike regular dumbbells and barbells that feature a metal grip with mild to aggressive knurling, the handle of the 552s is made of smooth metal with rubber over the middle. That handle works well enough initially, but the rubber can start peeling off after a while.
Knurled handles would have been much better and more durable.
5. They Could Have Been More Durable Overall
Overall, the Bowflex 552 dumbbells aren’t the most durable, especially compared to regular ones.
Because of the many plastic components, these dumbbells can crack or break, so don’t drop them.
What Do People Say About The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells?
Here are some Bowflex SelectTech 552 reviews from users:
- “Overall a great product, and it's far better than other adjustable dumbells. The weight plates that are "loaded", based on the selected weight are not wobbly. The only tricky part is placing the dumbells that are loaded at 50 pounds back in the rack when you are training to muscles to failure.” - Jamie
- “The select tech is a great dumbbell to use. I bought the rack as well. Myself and my wife love using them. Very easy to use, and they provide a great workout without having multiple dumbbells.” - Kyle
- “I bought the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells and absolutely love them. I originally bought them because often, when I get off work and get to the gym, the weight area is overcrowded, and it can be difficult to get a proper workout. I bought these and a bench, and they have been easy to use, tough, durable, and extremely comfortable. They are easy to use, and the asymmetric weight loading abilities are a really neat function as well. Would absolutely buy again!” - Spencer
- “I use the 552 dumbbells 5 days a week. I usually start with a short program from JRNY, then use them as free weights. My primary use is for general fitness and strength training.” - Rich
- “I use it daily for strength exercises like bicep curls, deadlifts, etc. It's a great product. The only con is that we have to remember to turn the dial on both sides of the dumbbell, or will be working with unequal weights (happened to me once).” - Amber
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Review: The Final Verdict
The bottom line is that the Bowflex 552s are good dumbbells that can last many years when used with care.
You can’t treat these like regular dumbbells, but not slamming the handle in the tray when adjusting the weight or dropping the weights after a heavy set will significantly lengthen their life.
Despite their drawbacks, the 552s are decent dumbbells offering flexibility and versatility for most trainees. Even more advanced trainees can get decent value out of these because there are plenty of exercises to do with 52.5 lbs or less.