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Possibly the Best and Most Compact Adjustable Dumbbells Ever

By Strength Oldschool


* This article contains several "Affiliate" Links for Amazon, Ironmaster and NUOBELL. This means, if you click on any of these links and decide to purchase something, Strength Oldschool will receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Recently I made several 'Dumbbell Training' decisions...

Ironmaster 34 kg Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells

My first decision was to keep my 34 kg (74.8 lbs) Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells, and not sell them due to several reasons...

  • One: They're compact in design. Take up very little space, great for Home Gyms.
  • Two: They're Heavy Duty.
  • Three: They come with a "Life-Time" Warranty!


Where to Buy Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells?

(UK): If you are based in the UK click here.
(USA / INTERNATIONAL): If you live in the USA click here.


The second decision was to sell my Fixed Hex Rubber Dumbbells, ranging from 1 kg (2.2 lbs) all the way up to 45 kg (99 lbs).


I've owned my Hex Dumbbells for years and love them but unfortunately, they take up way too much space and my house and small Home Gym, cannot accommodate them any longer.

Last but not least, I recently purchased a brand new set of "Nuobell" Adjustable Dumbbells from a gym equipment company called "BRAINGAIN". The company is relatively new and from what I gather, they simply buy their Nuobell Dumbbells and other Gym Equipment from China but use their own "Branding". The excellent thing about BRAINGAIN at this moment in time, is that they sell their Nuobell Dumbbells far far cheaper than their competitors.

The price was good enough for me to take the plunge and test out the adjustable dumbbells which doesn't rely on taking weight plates on and off, or securing the weights with locking screws or collars. Instead, you simply turn the handle to adjust the weight. The following videos I've made will give you an idea of how the dumbbell looks, sounds and works.




 
There are different variations / similar styles of these kind of adjustable dumbbells but the ones I chose can be increased in weight from 2 kg (4.4 lbs) all the way up to 32 kg (70 lbs), in 2 kg (4.4 lb) increments! That's pretty good and is perhaps the most "compact" designed adjustable dumbbell in the world today, beating out even Ironmaster.

There are negatives however to these "Nuobell" dumbbells, such as...

One: Fat Grips cannot be added to the handles due to the design.

For me, this is quite a considerable flaw as I love using Fat Grips in training, but also because I feel it should be standard these days that any type of dumbbell should be automatically designed to fit a Fat Grip, given how popular the product is. However, if you don't use Fat Grips, then this isn't a problem at all.


Two: "Dumbbell Spotter Hooks" unfortunately do not fit the handles.

 
I tried two popular brands of hooks, "Bodymax" and "Mad Spotter", and neither fit the dumbbell handle. Not a problem with either Hooks design, the problem lies with the design of the dumbbell handle / weight adjustment mechanism.

I was hoping to use my Dumbbell Hooks, so again, for me, this was a major flaw. However, if you prefer to clean the dumbbells from the floor to your thighs, before pressing overhead, to perform dumbbell bench presses etc, then you won't see this as an issue.


Three: This adjustable dumbbell is not Heavy Duty!

Ironmaster dumbbells come with a "Life-Time" Warranty for a reason...because the company 100% believes in the production of their dumbbells. They can be dropped repeatedly and should never break! If they did, Ironmaster would replace them at no cost to the customer. You are not going to get this with the "Nuobell" Adjustable Dumbbells unfortunately.

These "Nuobell" dumbbells have plastic parts covering the weight change mechanism around the dumbbell handle area. The repeated use of turning the handle to change the weight may at some point wear out. Depending how often you use dumbbells in your training, the repetitive turning of the handle on a daily, weekly, monthly basis etc could perhaps stop working after a month, two months, six months, a year, who knows?

The important factor is...What's the "Warranty"? And unfortunately, standard warranty (free) only lasts 12 months! If you wish to add another year, so that makes for a two year warranty, then that comes at an additional charge of £80 (UK British Pounds), which if you can afford that extra cost, may prove worthwhile.

The important point to note is, that's nowhere near a "Life-Time" Warranty, which Ironmaster offer. So given the cost involved in buying a brand new set of these dumbbells, if you're lucky, you could get several years out of them, maybe a lot longer, but there's no guarantee. If you have plenty of money, yes, you could easily replace them once your warranty runs out, but for us lifters who struggle to pay the bills month to month, is it worth the risk? That's for you to decide.

If you check out other gym equipment companies that sell "Nuobell" dumbbells, you will notice the alarming price difference between them and BRAINGAIN. As the adjustable dumbbells did not come with a "Life-Time" Warranty, I therefore chose to order from BRAINGAIN, for two reasons....

  • One: Much cheaper price.
  • Two: The company had received great reviews online.

I believe the product, no-matter where you buy it from, is the exact same. It comes from China. And the difference is, well known companies stamp their brand name on the "Nuobell" dumbbells and sell the dumbbells at a very expensive price. Whereas BRAINGAIN, a relatively new company at this point in time, places their brand name on the adjustable dumbbells and sells for almost half the price!

For me, it's not rocket science, I therefore chose to support BRAINGAIN.

If you're a lifter who likes to throw weights about, I would strongly suggest you don't buy these adjustable dumbbells. The dumbbells need to be gently placed down and carefully placed back in their racks. Otherwise, you seriously risk damaging the dumbbells which could potentially stop the weight changing mechanism from working. Which obviously, you don't want!


SIZE COMPARISON

I thought it would be interesting to do a size comparison video between the Nuobell dumbbell, an Ironmaster dumbbell and a Hex Rubber dumbbell. The main factor being that each dumbbell weighed 30 kg (66 lbs). The results were interesting I thought.

 
For sheer compact size, Ironmaster came out on top, followed closely by the Hex dumbbell. The Nuobell dumbbell was surprisingly long compared to the other two while being at the same weight.

The height of the dumbbells at this 30kg poundage were all the same. Ironmaster and Nuobell dumbbells are very similar in design and size - both types of dumbbells as they become heavier, their length increases, but the height remains constant. Whereas, fixed Hex dumbbells, as the weight increases, both the height and the length of the dumbbell become larger.

Sizes of Hex Rubber Dumbbells from 1kg up to 70kg


One of the main differences between the Nuobell dumbbell and Ironmaster, is that Ironmaster has the potential to be considerably increased in weight, whereas the Nuobell cannot become heavier, unless magnetic fractional plates are added.

I mention this because within the BRAINGAIN website, there are other similar adjustable dumbbells which, at the turn of a handle, can be increased to 40 kg (88 lbs)! So if you consider yourself quite strong, you may be wise to go for the heavier set.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, Nuobell style dumbbells don't go heavier than 40 kg (88 lbs). This is where Ironmaster and Hex Dumbbells win and therefore appeal more to the strength athlete.


POTENTIAL BUYERS OF NUOBELL

The Nuobell dumbbells would suit all types of weight trainers in my opinion, from the casual / general lifter, to the more serious, competitive trainer. All age groups and genders would be drawn to these particular dumbbells. Older lifters and especially for people with small Home Gyms would love the Nuobell's with the extremely small footprint and easy weight changes. This type of dumbbell would also cater for the mobile Personal Trainer as the adjustable dumbbells are easily portable and could be placed within a boot or backseat of a car.


CONCLUSION

As I've previously mentioned, my Nuobell adjustable dumbbells are still a recent purchase for me, and so far, I've spent more time creating videos on the aesthetics and design of the dumbbells, and not yet got round to focusing on the actual training side of things. So expect another article in the coming weeks or months where I'll review them in much more "training" related detail.

However, my first impressions are positive. I can see the value in having a design like these. No weight plate changes, no collars to secure the weights, just simply turn a handle to increase or lower the weight. If this style of dumbbell was made to be much more "Heavy Duty" i.e. get rid of the plastic parts, and increase the weight to at least 50 kg (110 lbs), it would have serious potential to rival Ironmaster, in my opinion.


If you wish to check out these Nuobell style dumbbells for yourself, please use the link below.

Website: BRAINGAIN

     

    Keep training hard folks!

    All the best,


    Strength Oldschool



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