Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells Review

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Having bought the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells over two years ago I figured it was time to do a review. Better late than never.

I will tell you right now that I can’t imagine my home gym set-up without them. They are that important. With an adjustable weight of 10 to 90 lbs (4.5 kg to 40.8 kg), the SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells have you covered for every possible dumbbell exercise imaginable.

Having a versatile pair of dumbbells is important in the variety of exercises you can do to build your arm muscles.

Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with one dumbbell out of the cradle

Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with one dumbbell out of the cradle. Oh, that’s where my laptop went!

And the best part? They take up very little space. So, are these dumbbells worth the price tag? Having used them for over 27 months at the time of writing this post, I can tell you that they are worth every penny.

That’s actually what the cost works out to, pennies. 67 of them a day if I do the math, (my head hurts now) and going down everyday.

If you are looking for a pair of dumbbells for your home gym or office you won’t find a better option. In this review, I will show you why the SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells are an indispensable piece of workout equipment.

Bowflex also has a barbell and curl bar option. Check out my review of the Bowflex SelectTech ST2080 Barbell.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells

The best aspect of the SelectTech 1090 dumbbells is the amount of weight they pack into such a small space. Measuring 19 inches across, 18 inches long and 10 inches high for the pair of dumbbells together, you can store these pretty much anywhere.

What the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells look like at 10 lbs and 90 lbs.

What the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells look like at 10 lbs and 90 lbs.

As displayed in the showcase box above, these adjustable dumbbells replace 34 individual dumbbells. 34 dumbbells. To put that into perspective in terms of not only space but cost as well, check out this rack on Amazon.

You’ll notice I hid the “Buy” button on these. Not only are they the price of a gently-used Kia, they only go up to 75 lbs. They also take up almost 6 feet of space with a height of over 3 feet. Oh, and the shipping weight? 1342 lbs. Yikes.

Okay, now that I’ve made my case for the space that the 1090 dumbbells saves, let’s take a look at what else they’re bringing to the table.

Who are the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells For?

These are for anyone that needs the functionality of a lot of different weights and doesn’t want all the clutter. I guess I should include who these dumbbells are not for.

If you are someone that loves to clank your dumbbells together (think dumbbell flies), or drop them on the ground He-Man style, then you might want to go with some rubber-coated hex dumbbells.

For the rest of us who aren’t in the first heat of the World’s Strongest Man from the Isle of Malta, these dumbbells will work fine.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells with one sanding upright

Displaying what one of the dumbbells looks like at 60 lbs.

The SelectTech 1090 dumbbells are an update to Bowflex’s popular 552 SelectTech Dumbbells. The difference between the two pairs being that the 552 dumbbells only range from 5 lbs to 52.5 lbs. However, if you don’t foresee yourself needing anything above 52lbs these are also a great option.

What’s Included?

I’m going to go over the important features of the SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells and discuss what sets them apart from the other adjustable dumbbells on the market today.

Features of the SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells come with a dumbbell portion and a cradle portion where the weight resides. Let’s take a look at the adjustability of these dumbbells.

Adjustability and Usability

To change the weight of these dumbbells all you need to do is change the dial at the ends of the cradle. For instance, if you wanted the dumbbell to weigh 30 lbs. you would turn the dial to 30 on each end.

Pretty easy.

The dials are set at 10 lb increments so what if you wanted to go up or down in weight by only 5 lbs? Well, that’s pretty easy too.

SelectTech 1090 dumbbell set at 20 lbs on one end and 10 lbs on the other, making it 15 lbs.

SelectTech 1090 dumbbell set at 20 lbs on one end and 10 lbs on the other, making it 15 lbs.

Let’s say you’re using the dumbbells on the 30 lb setting. To go up to 35 lbs you would put the dumbbell back in the cradle and adjust just one side of the dumbbell to 40 and leave the other side at 30. This would essentially give you 20 lbs on one side and 15 lbs on the other.

As far as any problems arising from the dial system and the weights not locking in, I have never had any problems. These dumbbells are solid and built to last.

Apparently some users have experienced trouble getting the weights out of the cradle after receiving these dumbbells in the mail. This is a safety feature so the weights don’t go flying around during shipping.

To get the weights out of the cradle the first time you will have to turn the cradle over first. Next, you will hit the cradle with your hand and then turn each dial to 10lbs. Smack the cradle again and they should release.

There’s a release button on the bottom of the dumbbell that will allow you to take the plates off to inspect as well.

You can then put the weights back in the cradle and you should be good to go.


Each dumbbell is stored in a cradle where the dial and all of the weight plates exist. You can only adjust the weight on the dumbbell from the cradle.

Bowflex dumbbell out of the cradle.

Bowflex dumbbell out of the cradle.

I must mention that the dial system of the cradle is the easiest way to adjust weights I’ve encountered in years of weight-training. Gone are the days of attaching new plates to the dumbbell after taking off and putting back on the collars.

You don’t think about how annoying something is until you’ve found a simpler way to do things. I do not miss putting collars on dumbbells at all.


The SelectTech 1090 dumbbells are like all of Bowflex’s products in that they offer some form of warranty for the consumer right out of the box.

These dumbbells come with a two-year warranty on any parts issues you might encounter. The warranty does not cover you if you decide to drop them on the ground after a lift.

On a side note, if you are consistently dropping your weights on the ground you are probably lifting too much weight to begin with. Muscle is built by controlling the weight, not by lifting out-of-control without proper form.

As for normal wear and tear, I can attest to using them for over 2 years with no problems whatsoever. The cradles are made of hard durable plastic and the dumbbell weights are sheathed in the same material.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single) View on Amazon

Pros and Cons of these Dumbbells


  • Smooth dial-adjusting weight cradles.
  • A massive weight range of 10 to 90 lbs, which has you covered in a multitude of exercises anywhere from heavy shoulder shrugs to toning triceps extensions.
  • Tiny space footprint. These dumbbells take up less space than a microwave.
  • Quiet. You aren’t going to get any clanking around with these weights. Ideal if you don’t want to wake up your family or neighbors if you live in an apartment.
  • Speaking of apartments, these are the ideal weights to have around if you don’t want to go to the gym. You would have a variety of exercises at your disposal due to the large weight range.


  • A big investment upfront. These aren’t cheap, but if you plan on working out for the rest of your life, that original investment turns into the best bang for your buck.
  • You can’t drop them. (See my admonishment above.)

Exercises You Can Use With the SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells

You can use the SelectTech 1090 dumbbells for pretty much any dumbbell exercise. The best aspect of these dumbbells is how easy they are going from warm-up sets into progressive weight sets.

A great example would be dumbbell flys. You could start with a warmup of 20lbs and then progress to your normal sets with whatever weight you choose.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

And Bowflex actually has an App for the SelectTech dumbbells that have every workout possibility imaginable.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)

Here are just some exercises that are extremely easy with these dumbbells due to their easy weight-changing capabilities:

  • Bicep curls
  • Dumbbell flys, inclined and standing
  • Dumbbell military press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Tricep press
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Farmer’s walk
  • Probably a million other exercises but you get the point

Alternative Option

Here is another adjustable dumbbell option on the market. I don’t consider these to be in the same league as the Bowflex dumbbells but I thought I ‘d give you a glimpse of what’s out there.

PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells

I don’t know, these seem weird to me because of their shape. I’ve seen them in use on Youtube and they just don’t look right, like you’re lifting lego squares. That’s just my opinion. These go up to 70 lbs but they cost less than the Bowflex dumbbells.

However, you can add on expansion plates later that will get you up to 90 lbs. It’s at that point when the price is commesurate with the Bowflex 1090 model.


The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell pair is a fantastic option for people that want a wide range of weight options as well as equipment that takes up very little space. Measuring roughly 20 inches wide and 18 inches long, this pair of adjustable dumbbells replaces the equivalent of 34 invidual dumbbells. This is a fantastic piece of exercise equipment.