Bowflex 552 Vs 1090 – Which One Will Be The Best For You?

BY: Michael Perry

uPDATED ON: January 27, 2021

Dumbbells are a convenient way to build body strength and endurance in your home gym. However, purchasing an entire set of individual dumbbells can be expensive and take up a lot of space. 

Enter the adjustable dumbbells. In this article, we'll compare the Bowflex 552 vs 1090 sets of adjustable dumbbells to dive into the best solution for most situations.

The winner of this Vs. roundup is the Bowflex SelectTech 552. Sold in a pair, these durable dumbbells are versatile enough to handle a wide variety of exercises for many years, even with regular use.

Meet The Bowflex SelectTech 552

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 set of adjustable dumbbells allow you to adjust the weight from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds. Bowflex has a unique system that lets you change between weights with the turn of a dial.

From 5 to 25 pounds, you can increase the weight by 2.5-pound increments. After 25 pounds, it jumps to 5-pound increments.

This one pair of adjustable dumbbells takes the place of 15 separate pairs of bells. That makes them a very convenient, space-saving option for weight lifting at home. You can also replace almost every barbell exercise with this versatile piece of home gym equipment.

Pros
  • Easy to change from one size weight to the next
  • Convenient, small size saves space in your home gym
  • Rubber handles are comfortable and provide a solid grip
  • 2-year warranty on weight plates and parts
Cons
  • 5-pound increments after 25 pounds reduces some exercise flexibility
  • Tops out at 52.5 pounds, which might not be heavy enough for some lifters

- Check Its Price Here

And The Bowflex SelectTech 1090

The 1090 SelectTech option has a lot of similar features to the 552 set. This set is also a convenient, space-saving option to store dumbbells in your home gym. You adjust the weight with the same dial system of the 552.

However, they differ in their weight settings. The 1090 allows you to adjust the weight from 10 pounds up to 90 pounds, in 10-pound increments.

These dumbbells take the place of 17 individual sets, making them a slightly more versatile option than the 552. They have durable metal plates with molding to provide a smooth lift.

Pros
  • Larger weight settings mean you can lift heavier in your workouts
  • Takes the place of 17 sets of dumbbells
  • Textured metal handles provide good grip
  • 3-year warranty on parts
Cons
  • Sold as singles, not in a pair, making them more expensive than the 552
  • Some customers have reported the weight locking system is faulty

- Check Its Price Here

Face To Face: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Vs 1090 Dumbbells


Design And Style

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 and 1090 dumbbells are very similar in design and style. The most notable difference is the 552 has a rounder appearance to the plates, whereas the 1090 is more squared off.

Both sets of dumbbells have the weight settings numbered on the dials at the end of each bell. The newer sets have white numbers and the older sets have red ones.

Easy And Fast To Change Weights

Both systems make it very fast and easy to change weights. The dial system moves smoothly with satisfying clicks at each level. You can also set one end to a different weight than the other for off-balance exercises like hammer curls or farmer's carries.

bowflex selecttech 552 dial system in action

If you don't click the dial perfectly into place, the dumbbell won't lift out of its base. If you're moving too quickly, you can attempt to pull the bell out and get a surprise when the whole base tries to come with it.

Basically, both Bowflex SelectTech systems allow you to change the weight with just a few seconds of moving the dial. Just be careful to click it fully into place.

Total Weight And Weight Ranges

The total weight is arguably the largest difference when comparing the 552s vs the 1090s. The 552s top out at 52.5 pounds whereas the 1090s go all the way up to 90 pounds. If you want to lift heavy, the 1090s are a good choice.

However, if you want greater options in terms of the weight range, the SelectTech 552 dumbbells have a smaller increment level up to 25 pounds. This is useful for beginning lifters who need a more gradual increase in weight.

The Base

The base of the selecttech dumbbells

Both the 552s and the 1090s have a set of cradles in which they sit. The metal plates rest in divets on these bases. When you dial to your desired weight, only the plates needed for that weight come off the base. The rest stay neatly in their divets.

The base of the Bowflex 552 set has a slightly sleeker look, as the middle of it curves upward in a graceful arch. The 1090's base has a more utilitarian, solid aesthetic.

Reviews report that the metal base of the Bowflex 552 set is heavier than the plastic base of the 1090. However, they also state the 1090's plastic base is highly durable, so this is not a detriment.

Quality And Durability

In terms of quality, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 vs 1090 vary slightly. Reviews for the 552 say that most people have owned their set for years. This speaks to the durability of the design and the quality of the materials. Even people who use their set multiple times per week report little to no issues.

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090, however, is a slightly different story. Reviews for this set are more varied. It seems the older sets with the red numbers have a design flaw where the tabs that secure the weight to the handle are covered with molded plastic.

This molded plastic is subject to wear and tear with use, meaning eventually, users report the tabs wear down and no longer hold onto the weight plates. This essentially makes the dumbbells useless.

However, reviews have also reported the newer sets of 1090s with white numbering have replaced these molded tabs with metal ones, making them the same as the 552s. If you decide to purchase the 1090s, look for the newest model to avoid the molding issue.

What The Handles Are Made Of

When comparing the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 vs 552 in terms of their handles, the main difference is material. The 552s have a rubber handle with a textured grip. The 1090s have a metal handle that's also textured.

The 552's Handles

Reviews say the grip doesn't make much difference; both the 552 and 1090 have excellent textures. You're unlikely to drop either one during a workout. (However, it is always a good idea to invest in a solid set of workout gloves to avoid sweat making your hands slippery.)

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Size of Each Dumbbell

In terms of dimensions, each 552 dumbbell is 15.75 inches long by 8 inches wide by 9 inches tall. Together, they take up approximately 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet of floor space.

The 1090s measure 17.5 inches long by 10 inches wide by 10 inches tall, making them only slightly bigger than the 552.

Bowflex also offers a stand for each set of weights, so if you prefer to have them at waist height rather than resting on the floor, that's an option.

This is definitely a space-efficient choice for your home gym. To hold the same amount of weights that these sets replace, you'd need a rack that's more than three times as long and more than four times as tall.

If space is a commodity, definitely consider purchasing these instead of standard free weight gym equipment.

Warranties

Both the 552s and the 1090s come with warranties. The 552 has a standard 2-year warranty on its parts. You have the option to add a 3- or 5-year Bowflex protection plan for an extra fee if you choose.

The 1090s have a standard 3-year warranty on its parts with similar options for extra protection plans.

The Bowflex 552 Vs 1090 In Short


Bowflex 552

  • Smaller increments: from 0–25 pounds, you can change the weight by only 2.5 pounds, making for a more versatile workout
  • Durability: extremely durable plates and locking system with a solid base
  • Grip: texturized rubber grip provides an excellent, solid hold
  • Sold as a pair: you can start your workout immediately upon receiving your dumbbells
  • Space efficiency: takes the place of up to 15 separate sets of dumbbells
  • Easy to use: dial system makes switching between weights quick and easy

Bowflex 1090

  • Heavier weights: can be set to up to 90 pounds for heavier lifts
  • 10-pound increments: more experienced lifters can jump from one weight to 10 pounds heavier
  • Durability: newer models have metal locking plates and a solid plastic base
  • Grip: texturized metal grip provides a strong hold
  • Space efficiency: takes the place of up to 17 separate sets of dumbbells
  • Easy to use: dial system makes switching between weights smooth and effortless

Alternatives to the 552 and 1090


1. Powerblock Elite Dumbbells

The Powerblock Elite dumbbells are an alternative to the Bowflex options. This set has a square, boxed appearance and color-coded weight levels.

To switch between weights, you move a selector pin to your desired weight, then reach into the center of the unit to lift the dumbbell. When you're done, you replace the dumbbell and change the selector pin to a different weight.

This adjustable dumbbell set comes with a weight range of 5 to 50 pounds per hand, with the option to add two expandable sets to reach 70 and 90 pounds, respectively. The price can be a detriment, especially as you need to purchase separate expendable sets to reach the same weight as the Bowflex 1090.

There isn't a set increment like on the Bowflex models. Rather, the Powerblock has what's called an "adder weight." This 2.5-pound piece can be added to or taken out of the dumbbell, making the increments very flexible.

However, the trade-off is that switching between weights can take more time than Bowflex's streamlined dial system. For example, if you want to bump up the weight by 2.5 pounds, you have to remove the main core, slide the lock open, place the adder weights inside, replace the lock, and replace the main core.

To remove the adder weight and progress by 10-pound increments, you complete the process in reverse. If you're doing a superset or DVD-led workout, this process will slow down your time between switching weights and may prove too cumbersome.

Otherwise, reviews say they're great quality and a solid way to take the place of 16 separate pairs of dumbbells.

You can check it out here.

2. Merax Deluxe 71.5-Pound Adjustable Dial Dumbbell

Another alternative to Bowflex is the Merax Deluxe adjustable dial dumbbells. These have a similar dial system as the Bowflex utilizes, making switching between weights more convenient than the Powerblocks.

Each dumbbell adjusts from 11 pounds up to 71.5 pounds in 5.5-pound increments. 11 pounds may be a bit heavy for very beginning lifters, but the 5.5-pound increments make them attractive for those who need a more gentle step between levels than the Powerblocks.

Reviewers say the quality is top-notch and the customer service is very accommodating. This set has a smooth, round appearance similar to the Bowflex.

This set of dumbbells also comes with a stand, similar to Bowflex, so if you want your workout equipment off the floor, it's a solid option.

It's worthwhile to note that the Merax has only one dial on one end of each adjustable dumbbell. Bowflex has a separate dial on each end. This means the Merax is slightly faster to adjust; however, you lose the flexibility of being able to set one side of the dumbbell heavier than the other for off-balance workouts.

Check it out here.

FAQs


1. How Do The Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells Work?

Each dumbbell has an adjustable dial on either end. You simply spin this dial to your desired weight and pick up the dumbbell. The plates necessary to provide the weight come with the handle and the rest stay securely in the base. The plates are locked into the handle with metal notches.

2. What Are The Benefits Of Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells?

Both the 552 and the 1090 come with a host of benefits:

Dumbbells Sets

Space Saver

Saves space in home gyms. Takes the place of 15–17 pairs of separate dumbbells, depending on the model chosen. Can reduce space needed for storage by more than half.

Durable Design

Cool & Durable Design

Durable design means users can purchase one set that will last for years.

Warranty Symbol

Protect Your Purchase

2- and 3-year warranties on the 552 and 1090, respectively.

Bowflex SelectTech Quick Dial System

Keep The Intensity High

Easy to switch from one weight setting to another with the spin of a dial.

Dumbbells Chest Press With Bowflex SelectTech 552

Mix Up Your Workouts

Can do a variety of exercises, including a chest press, squats, lunges, rows, deadlifts, bicep curls, and more.

Bowflex SelectTech Stand

Keep The Weights High (Literally) 

Optional stand gets weights off the floor and at accessible hip level.

3. How Safe Are These Adjustable dumbbells?

Both the 552 and the newer 1090 are very safe. The weight plates lock into the handle with metal clips, meaning they're secure and very unlikely to fall off during your workout.

It should be repeated that the earlier models of the 1090, with the red numbering, had plastic molding around the clips rather than metal. The molding was prone to wear and the plates would occasionally no longer hold. However, most users noted it simply wouldn't come out of the base rather than falling off the handle once in use.

Should I Buy Bowflex Selecttech 552 Or 1090?


Use the Bowflex SelectTech 552 set of adjustable dumbbells if you're a newer lifter who needs a smaller leap between each pound increment. This set might also be best for you if you prefer purchasing a pair of dumbbells than each dumbbell separately.

However, If you're a more advanced lifter who can handle the 10-pound jumps and prefers the 90-pound limit, go for the Bowflex SelectTech 1090. This set is also best for those who can afford to purchase each dumbbell separately.

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