Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System Review
While building out my home gym the first problem was what weights to get? Weights would be the most important piece of equipment you need to work out at home so I was researching the hell out my choices. I ended get getting the IronMaster adjustable dumbbell set.
Why choose adjustable dumbbells?
Traditionally, you need many sets of dumbbells per workout, which takes up a lot of space. While this is fine in a commercial gym, I did not have the space… Well I technically do have the space in my garage, it would be getting the wife to give up the space for her shoes which would be the more difficult part =P
So I decided to get the best set of adjustable dumbbells I could find. The choice ended up being between PowerBlock and IronMaster. After trying both I went with the IronMaster, here’s why.
What makes IronMaster dumbbells so special?
The Company : IronMaster
Well the full technical name is the IronMaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System and the company is based out of Seattle, Washington (USA). IronMaster have been around since 1978 and they design and sell their own fitness equipment.
They do boast that over 30% of their business comes from referrals as well as repeat customers. Since getting both their Super Bench and their dumbbells I can see definitely see why. They are high quality pieces of equipment. They have even been featured in such reputable magazines as “Muscle & Fitness” and “Flex”.
The Quality and Feel
The dumbbells are heavy duty, chrome plated handles with deep knurling. It feels nice and solid in your hands. There is no give to them and you definitely feel that everything is held together tightly. The lifetime warranty also shows that the company stands behind their product. Everything is designed and engineered in the USA as well.
The knurling is the same as you would find on an Olympic barbell and it feels satisfying in your hands. It lets you get a good grip without slippage and really makes you feel like you are getting some real work done.
The Quick-Lock system
The Quick-Lock system they have designed for the dumbbells is quite ingenious. The weights themselves are square and are made to lock together so they don’t spin around while you are lifting. The lock system consists of a screw with a notch running along the length of the screw.
You spin the locking screw until the notch lines up with the corresponding arrow on the dumbbell handles. This will allow you to remove the screw easily (just pull it out, no need to keep unscrewing at that point). Then you can add or remove however many plates as you want. Then just insert the screw and spin to lock. The entire process takes about 5-10 seconds. The system is actually one of IronMaster’s patents.
The length of the dumbbells are also good. I’ve used different ones before that can take Olympic plates and they are always far too long. It makes certain exercises impossible to do. The IronMaster dumbbells are short enough (9″ with the dumbbells set for 20lb) that I can use them for overhead tricep extensions without the danger of denting my head from the ends of the dumbbells.
The dumbbells can also be expanded to support up to 165lb per dumbbell though the official maximum is 120lb per dumbbell. The 165lb version is a custom kit that IronMaster offers but it will void the lifetime warranty if dropped. Both add-ons consist of more weight plates as well as longer screws to handle the plates. The breakdown of what each part weights is
- Dumbbell handle – 5lb
- Locking screw – 2.5lb
- Weight plates – 2.5lb, 5lb or 22.5lb (the 22.5lb plates are part of the add-on kits)
So the handle plus 2 locking screws would be 10lbs.
Any other features?
There have been a couple of add-ons to the system that really expand the number of exercises you can do without taking up much space. One is that IronMaster has released a kettlebell handle! Another is that there is a barbell and ez-curl handle as well.
Both barbells and kettlebell versions let you use the same square weights as the dumbbells. The kettlebell would actually use the same locking screw while the barbells have a collar to keep the weights locked on.
The 75lb version (which is what I have) also comes with a weight stand (pictured on the left). The weight stand is nice but not necessary, it does a good job of keeping the weight plates all in one location. I found it unnecessary and just keep the plates and handle on the mats I have on the floor.
- High quality – these are solid pieces of metal all around!
- Barbell, EZ curl bar and Kettlebell options! – even more choices for exercises!
- Fast weight changes – 5-10 seconds per change
- Short length – the handle doesn’t jut out past the plates, makes overhead exercises MUCH safer
- Free storage stand with 75lb set
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime warranty
- More expensive than simple dumbbells – if you only need a few weights or have the space, you can go with the traditional dumbbells and save quite a bit of money
- Barbell option – I wasn’t impressed with the barbell option. I would stick with the dumbbell and kettlebell options instead. I can’t comment on the EZ curl, I never got to experience it first hand.
- DB Stand – it comes free but I found I didn’t use it very often. It was just taking up space so I stored the stand away and keep the dumbbells on the floor mats by the bench
- Weight plates are not rubberized. I don’t drop the dumbbells on the floor so it isn’t really a con for me, but you always see people in the gym just drop the weights. Always seemed a bit dangerous to me…
For people who need the space savings, I would definitely recommend the Ironmaster dumbbells. The quality of the construction along with the sheer versatility and usefulness make them an outstanding choice!
Also while it is nice the dumbbells can go up to 160 lbs, 99% of us will never need it. You can go with the 75lb version and be good for many years. Especially if you go with a higher volume style of working out.