Adjustable dumbbells have come a long way in the last 30 years. Not only are they more compact and more stylish, they continue to be quicker and easier to use. And the CAP adjustable dumbbells 1 which I can’t even find on their website promise to uphold that.
So, to that end, I spent $79 and bought a quick select 25 lb. CAP adjustable dumbbell. So, read on for my full review and how it compares to a couple other adjustable dumbbells I had on hand in my home gym, namely those from ProForm and BowFlex.
In addition to those two other sets, I’ll also give you a couple other options you can look into if you’re interested in 25 pound adjustable dumbbells.
Overview of the CAP adjustable dumbbells
CAP Barbell is a relatively well-known manufacturer of fitness equipment, with items ranging from kettlebells 2 of which I have one…it’s not my favorite and barbells to, well, adjustable dumbbells.
They have a couple different sets – a 12.5 lb set, this 25 lb. set, and a 50 lb. one. The sets look to be fairly similar in functionality and construction although there some differences in terms of the look and feel.
Anyways, the adjustable dumbbells’ weight-adjustment system allows you to rapidly switch from one exercise to the next by simply turning the handle. Just move the handle right or left to adjust the weight in 5-pound increments – up to 25 total pounds each – then lift up the weight, and start your workout.
The compact design along with the quick select weight adjustments, allows you to replace whole sets of dumbbells in one package. Obviously this is boon to those with a home gyms, as space is a limiting factor for a lot of folks.
While there’s no storage or carrying case 3 or stand , it does include a molded storage tray. This is par for the course for any quick adjustable dumbbells, as the storage tray is what holds any leftover weight plates after you select your desired weight.
Now that you know the general facts about this adjustable dumbbell, here’s the (standard) testing criteria I used when I evaluated it:
- Speed and ease of adjustment: Being able to load or unload weight quickly and smoothly is important for workout timing and flow, and also for safety.
- Adjustment increments: The typical load adjustment increment generally depends on how heavy the adjustable dumbbell is. Lighter dumbbells – such as these – sometimes allow increases or decreases of 2½ pounds, while others adjust by increments of 5 pounds.
- Ergonomics: How the weights feel and move in your hands is very important. Adjustable dumbbells tend to be larger and a bit unwieldy when compared to fixed dumbbells which can affect your ability to use them.
- Overall construction: How well put together is it? What are the materials used? More metal (and fewer plastic) components generally make for a better experience
To test the CAP adjustable dumbbell, I used one of them in conjunction with some other rapid select adjustable dumbbells I had on hand. Namely, the ProForm adjustable dumbbells (which I just reviewed) and the BowFlex adjustable dumbbells.
Essentially, I set all the dumbbells at the same weight and using one dumbbell from the different sets, I went thru a myriad of different exercises such as step ups, overhead squats, push press, and more.
Doing it that way, let me do a direct comparison to multiple dumbbells at the same time and helped me get a good feel of the pros and cons of these adjustable dumbbells.
Speed and ease of adjustment
Similar to the BowFlex dumbbells, the CAP adjustable dumbbells using a dial mechanism to select and lock in the selected weights. However, unlike the BowFlex, you don’t turn dials on the outside of the dumbbell. Instead, you turn the actual handle of the dumbbell. In doing so, you select the appropriate weight and it “locks” into place with a satisfying click sound.
Once selected, simply lift the dumbbell up and any leftover weight plates remain in the tray.
In terms of the weight, you have to make adjustments in 5 pound increments, starting at no additional weight and going up to 25 lbs. total. Smaller increments – like 2.5 lbs. – might be better but you don’t have that option here.
So how does the rapid weight selector work? Well, it works really well. It’s definitely better than the pin selection mechanism of the ProForm and it’s faster than the BowFlex, simply due to the fact you only have to turn one handle instead of a couple dials. I also prefer it over PowerBlocks and other similar selection mechanisms.
I also had no trouble removing (or replacing) the weight out (or back in) of the included storage tray. There was no jostling or wiggling needed to make sure everything went smooth when removing or replacing the weight.
Overall, it’s one the favorite selection mechanism I’ve used. It’s quick and easy and basically impossible to mess up.
Obviously, ergonomics – how you interact with the dumbbells – is a big factor when evaluating any fitness equipment . An adjustable dumbbell needs to be comfortable – or at least, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable – to use otherwise you’ll eventually stop using it. Trust me, I’ve been there.
And I’m glad to report that I had no issues with the cap adjustable dumbbell. The handle is chrome plated and not overly thick, with some light medium depth diamond knurling. The knurling is not aggressive at all and provides just a little bit of a extra grip.
While some may prefer an all rubber handle like in the BowFlex, in practice I didn’t really notice any difference. Both provided good grip and were comfortable to use. If anything, I slightly prefer the chrome handle and the slightly thicker diameter but it’s really six of one, half dozen of the other.
Like I mentioned above, I experienced no issues taking the adjustable dumbbell out of the storage tray. Unlike the Proform, I didn’t need to occasionally jostle or wiggle the dumbbell in order to remove it from the tray. In fact, the ease of getting the adjustable dumbbell out of the tray and putting it back into the tray to the same as the more expensive BowFlex. Overall, I think Cap Barbell nailed this aspect of the design.
Lastly, I also liked how the weight is printed on the inside of the dumbbell, by the handle. This is much better than printing the weight on the storage tray as it makes it much easier to see and select the weight you want.
A lot of times where adjustable dumbbells ultimately fail, it’s due to their long-term durability. That’s why BowFlex 4 well, one reason…marketing is another can command a higher price – their adjustable dumbbells last longer than comparable ones from other manufacturers.
So while it’s too early for me to know exactly how this shakes out, I can say that it’s “so far so good.” Everything feels sturdy and solid. There’s no excessive shaking or movement when using the dumbbell set. Quality is very good; the dumbbells are rock solid right now.
My only concern is that some reviews I read mentioned weight plates falling off months (or years) down the line. Obviously, if that’s the case, that’s a HUGE design flaw. Either way, I’ll continue to monitor the long-term construction to see if it becomes an issue for me.
Lastly, as a general rule, you should always be careful with your adjustable dumbbells. Try to avoid dropping them or otherwise unduly stressing them. That rule has served me well and has I’ve had very few long term issues with my dumbbell sets.
As of right now, you can get two of the 25 lb. quick select dumbbells for $99 (+ tax) at Wal-Mart. If you can get both in that price bracket, it’s a fantastic deal as you’re highly unlikely to find any other good, quick select dumbbells at that same price.
Typically, though, you’re probably going to find a single dumbbell in the $69-79 range which is still affordable. Considering the ProForms retail right around the same price, between the two dumbbells, I prefer the Cap Barbell version.
If price is a concern or just you don’t care about having a rapid select adjustable dumbbell set, you can find some cheaper adjustable dumbbells that will work just as well.
Comparison to other adjustable dumbbells
Throughout this review, I’ve compared the CAP adjustable dumbbells to a few others I recently reviewed, namely the BowFlex and Pro-Form. While both of those are good options, here’s a quick table overview of some other options –
A set of good, rapid select adjustable dumbbells are a great addition to any home gym. And the Cap adjustable dumbbells are very good right out of the box. The easily adjustable design which allows you select your weight by just twisting the handle is fast, easy, and foolproof.
And while the dumbbell set is plastic – at least everything except for the chrome coating on the handle – everything feels rock solid. It’s also quick and easy to take the adjustable dumbbells out of the storage tray; no jostling or wiggling needed.
In short, quality is great right out the box. However, after reading reviews, I do have some concerns about the long-term construction and durability and it may be worth a worth spending a few bucks and picking a longer warranty just for peace of mind.
I’ll update this review once I have a better feel for the durability but, until then, these are a great addition to your home gym, especially for the price. Happy lifting!