Spin lock dumbbells may be cheap, but are they any good? If you are currently sat on the fence regarding making your dumbbell purchase, then keep reading. Because today, I’ll be explaining when spin lock dumbbells can be worth it.
Spinlock dumbbells are worth the money for beginners. They are cheap, durable, and have the capacity to be loaded with moderate poundage. This makes it worthwhile for beginners to start weight training with spin lock dumbbells before upgrading to more expensive equipment.
10 years ago, I began my weight training journey with a set passed on by my father (yup, they lasted two generations!).
Now I’ll help you decide whether you should get your own set.
Let’s jump right in.
What Is A Spinlock Dumbbell?
The spinlock dumbell is the classic dumbbell type which everyone knows.
It consists of the spin lock bar and weight plates.
The bar has two threaded collars joined by a handle in the middle.
This is the basic unit, and from here, you can add dumbbell weight plates as required.
After the target weight has been made up, you would then secure them in place with two spinning locks at the ends of each collar.
Spinlock dumbbells are commonly made from two types of materials with varying degrees of quality.
High-Quality Spin Lock Dumbbells Are Worth It.
Premium dumbbell models are made from cast iron, steel, or a chrome-plated alloy. The weight plates are also manufactured in a similar process.
Cheaper, budget models have bars that are usually made from plastics and composites. Additionally, the bar itself may be hollowed out to keep production costs low.
The weight plates are usually made from a plastic case which is then filled with water, sand, or concrete.
Premium cast metal spin lock dumbbells are well worth the money.
They are durable, have a high-quality feel, and can handle extra weight plates (additional to what the original set came with).
Conversely, the cheaper spin lock dumbbell models are generally not worth the money.
They may be cheaper, but the low-quality manufacturing makes them susceptible to wear and tear (especially cracked weight plates).
Why Spin Lock Dumbbells Are Worth The Money.
Here are the pros and cons of using spin lock dumbbells over other types of free weights.
- Extremely cheap- in comparison to other free weights, spin lock dumbbells are extremely cheap. You’re looking to pay around $2-4 per pound of weight. In comparison, modern selectorized dumbbells, fixed-weight dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells can cost upwards of $6 per pound.
|Free Weight||Average $ Per Pound|
|Spin lock dumbbells||$3|
|Fixed-weight dumbbell set||$15+|
|Barbell and plates||$7|
- Durable- good quality spin lock dumbbells are made from cast iron or steel. If kept in dry conditions, these will last you a lifetime. My current spinlock dumbbells were passed on from my dad to myself (2 generations!).
- Great for beginners- spin lock dumbbell bars tend to be narrow, sturdy, and have well designed ergonomics. This makes them a great way for beginners to start lifting weights.
- Versatile- dumbbells in general can be used to train the entire body. Chest, arms, back, shoulders, abs, and legs can all be worked effectively using dumbbells.
- Limited weight- these dumbbells hold considerably less weight than the other types of free weights (which often have capacities of 70+ pounds. So if your goal is to get big and muscular, spin lock dumbbells may not be worth your time.
- High weight increments- plate combinations are restrictive and often leave you with big weight increments between different plate combinations. This can make it difficult to progress.
- Loose collars- cheap models have a tendency for the locks to become loose. This is annoying and sometimes dangerous.
- Longer workouts- the time required to change weight plates after each exercise will mount up to prolong your workouts.
Check out my other article to learn more about the advantages of dumbbell training!
Spinlock Dumbbells Are Safe For Beginners.
Spin lock dumbbells are well worth it for beginners purely for the low barrier to entry.
And by that I mean they are safe to use.
Unlike barbells and kettlebells, dumbbells are by nature lighter weights.
Additionally, you can safely drop your dumbbells if you ever reach failure on an exercise.
Now compare this to, say a fully-loaded barbell, and you can understand why spinlock dumbbells are a much safer way to lift weights.
Safe as they may be, you should be aware of loose collars.
It’s not uncommon for the spin locks to become loose as you are lifting your weights.
If not tightened, this can lead to the lock coming undone completely, and the weight plates falling off the handle.
So make sure you make an effort to tighten the lock as much as you can, especially on cheaper dumbbells!
Go to my other article for 36 great dumbbell exercises to try (with video tutorials)!
How Much Weight Can A Spinlock Dumbbell Hold?
A typical spin lock dumbbell set will hold between 22 to 55 pounds (10 to 25kg) per dumbbell.
This comprises the handle which weighs around 5 pounds (2kg), and the weight plates.
The plates come in a variety of weights. The most common are:
- 11 pound (5kg).
- 6.5 pound (2.5kg).
- 3 pound (1.25kg).
- 1 pound (0.5kg).
When you outgrow these weights, you can also purchase individual dumbbell plates which can go as heavy as 22 pounds (10kg), 33 pounds (15kg), or 44 pounds (20kg).
The spinlock handles themselves will handle these weights without a problem.
However, the total weight is limited by the length of the collar.
A typical spinlock collar is usually around 13cm.
And these’s only so many weight plates you can stack in such a limited space.
But in general, you can expect a maximum of around 88-110 pounds (40-50kg) per dumbbell.
Learn how to choose the right dumbbell weight to buy in my other article!
Selectorized Vs Spinlock Dumbbells: Which Is More Worth Your Time?
So far I’ve established that spin lock dumbbells are worth the money for beginners to lift weights on the cheap.
But how do they compare to the other popular type of adjustable dumbbell- the selectorized dumbbells.
Selectorized dumbbells are basically the modern version of the spin lock dumbbell.
They pack all the weight increments into one convenient unit, and these can be changed with the click of a dial.
Aside from fast weight changes, the other major advantage of selectorized dumbbells is that they come with smaller weight increments.
It’s not uncommon for selectorized dumbbells to come with 10+ different weight settings, and increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds.
Now compare this with spin lock dumbbells, where the weight increments can often be over 10 pounds per dumbbell
Combined, these two factors make selectorized dumbbells a faster way to workout and also makes them easier to progress with.
That being said, you can’t beat the durability of spin lock dumbbells.
So if you are new to weight lifting, and want something that can take a battering, then spin lock dumbbells will be of more worth.
Find out 15 reasons why selectorized adjustable dumbbells are worth the money in my other article!
Today I’ve explained why spin lock dumbbells can worth the money.
They are a cheap, beginner-friendly- and easy to use weight.
So if you are new to weight training and want to test the waters before taking the plunge with more expensive types of free weights, then spin locks are for you!
Besides, the high durability of spin lock dumbbells mean they won’t break. And you can always sell them off in the future to upgrade to better equipment!
Will you be choosing spin lock dumbbells or selectorized dumbbells?
Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy).