Three key points from the Ativafit dumbbell review:
- AtivaFit is a good set of adjustable dumbbells but not a great one
- It’s currently ranked 14 out of the 35 we rated
- Its strongest point is value for money, while speed and convenience are good but nothing to write home about
We’ve tested and compared over 30 adjustable dumbbells. Find our best adjustable dumbbell recommendations here.
- AtivaFit dumbbell review – finding your way around
- We’ll use 9 primary criteria as a tool for this review
- Criterion 1 – Max load of the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells
- Criterion 2 – increments (total number and consistency)
- Criterion 3 – Materials and build quality of the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells
- Criterion 4 – the weight-change mechanism
- Criterion 5 – reviewing the weight plates of the AtivaFit
- Criterion 6 – the speed of the weight switches
- Criterion 7 – Looks, design, and finish of the AtivaFit dumbbells
- Criterion 8 – price and competition to Ativafit adjustable dumbbells
- Criterion 9 – warranty terms of the Ativafit dumbbells
- Key takeaways from the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells review
I’ll get to the brass tacks – the Ativafit adjustable dumbbell will get the job done for some but won’t blow anyone away.
It’s one of the top values on the adjustable dumbbell market but doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Granted, the proverbial table is already jam-packed with similar products, so it’s hard to do anything new.
Bottom line – this review below won’t be exciting, but it will answer all the important questions…the critical one being this:
Are these bells worth the money when sets like Nuobel, Bowflex, and Ironmaster exist?
AtivaFit dumbbell review – finding your way around
This version of the AfitavaFit is nested cozily at place 14 out of the 35 adjustable dumbbells we compared in the main guide here.
It’s rated 19.75 out of the maximum 36.5.
That’s better than it sounds because our ratings are complex, and only one set of dumbells ever went over 25 (more on that in a minute).
We’ll use 9 primary criteria as a tool for this review
I’ll go through the primary criteria and analyze:
- How the AtivaFit dumbbells fair against the competition in each category
- What’s good about the set
- What could’ve been better or what’s better in other sets
- What it all means for putting together putting a home gym
I’ll use the bite-size pieces approach because that’s how I’d like to see the information presented to me.
Let’s cut to the chase.
Criterion 1 – Max load of the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells
The good news is that AtivaFit offers 5 sets of dumbbells with max loads ranging from 12.5 to 71.5, which is more than enough for most home gyms.
The one we are reviewing here is the 55lb set.
But the options mean you won’t be wasting money on the weight you don’t need.
Most people will do just fine by going with one of the three sets in their medium range:
- 27.5 lbs for beginners
- 55 lbs for the intermediate lifter
- AtivaFit 71.5 for the experienced gym bunny
The “bad” news for the beasts among you who need 80+ lbs is that you’ll have to pay more for sets like Bowflex SelectTech 1090’s.
For example, you’d need to spend similar money for this AtifaVit set and one dumbbell of the Bowflex 1090, which goes up to 90 lbs in weight (at the time of completing this review).
Why the rating of 19.75 isn’t bad
It’s not bad because we award up to 5 points in the maximum load category.
For the 5-55 weight range, this AtivaFit set received 3 points, which is not inherently bad.
If you’re never lifting over 55, this point is moot.
The bottom line is that a rating of 30+ is pretty much unattainable, and it would be awarded to a high-tech dumbbell that offers ALL the widgets for minimum money.
And I’m yet to see it.
Any set with a rating close to 20 will do the job for a home gym.
Note: to read more about how we rate adjustable dumbbells, see this section of the main guide.
Criterion 2 – increments (total number and consistency)
The more weight points to choose from, the more versatile the adjustable dumbbell is.
With 10 increments, AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells are (again) better than some and not as good as others.
You have similarly-priced sets like NordicTrack that feature 15 increments, and you have bells like Snode Cast Iron with a similar weight range but only 5 increments.
The weight range is 2.5-22.5 (kilograms) per dumbbell, which is 5.5-55 lbs.
As you turn the dial to choose weight – the increments are 5 -> 10 -> 15 -> 20 -> 25 -> 22.5 -> 17.5 -> 12.5 -> 7.5 -> 2.5.
Consistent but not intuitive
The increments are evenly distributed at 5 kilos, but the order takes getting used to because it’s not intuitive.
I prefer adjustable dumbbells with a natural progression. To be fair, this “problem” isn’t unique for AtivaFit.
it’s how things work in most dumbbells with a side dial.
An example of a more user-friendly solution is the NÜOBELL set with the handle-twist mechanism.
On top of that, marking the weight in kilograms doesn’t help.
Encore, nothing to write home about
The increments are another aspect in which AtivaFit is good but not great.
I’m not a fan of the dial system, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
There is, however, one crucial aspect that gives AtivaFit an edge. We’ll talk about it when we review and compare the mechanism in greater detail.
Criterion 3 – Materials and build quality of the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells
Everything on the 51.5 version of the AtivaFit is made of hard plastic except the weights and the dial.
The rubber weight dial (the spinny wheel on the side) is a plus
It’s a plus because rubber is easier to grip, especially as you get a sweat going. I prefer this dial to the Bowflex 552, which is hard plastic.
Bowflex does look “cleaner” and will probably change less with time, but the cost is convenience.
I never pay that price if I can help it.
The handle, discs, and the safety button
The handle itself has a rubber grip that feels OK, but just that.
I can imagine it becoming slippery at longer workouts when you don’t have the time to wipe the sweat off (like drop-sets).
A serious lifter will prefer a knurled-steel handle over this one.
The weight-changing discs on the handle seem to have a bit of metal layered between the plastic (see image).
There’s no way these are surviving a drop at serious weights. They might not break, but I’d be shocked if they aligned well for long after a few drops.
Finally, the red safety button looks like it might be a weak link but doesn’t feel like it.
It’s solid; the spring underneath moves smoothly and has little sideway slack.
I’d say the button is not likely to be a problem.
Criterion 4 – the weight-change mechanism
One more criterion that calls for caveats because it’s not the best, but the bells with better mechanisms cost more.
If we limit the comparisons to other sets with dials, AtivaFit stands its ground.
Two main points I’d like to make are:
- The lower weights were significantly harder to change (I had to squeeze more weight plates into the correct place).
- The 0.5 weights were harder to change as there are plates on either side compared to all the weights on one side, with the weights ending in 0 or 5.
It only jammed once in my tests (which is one jam too many)
I mentioned that I’m not a fan of the dial mechanism.
There are three main reasons for that:
- Too many things need to align for a smooth transition to happen.
- The weight plates mount onto the bar instead of locking to the sides. At lower weights, you’re lifting an awkward cone-like shape. It’s too long and feels weird.
- There’s too much rattle.
Surprisingly reliable with an edge over the competition
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with AtivaFit’s weight changes. It’s actually very smooth, easy to change, and it normally clicks.
Now, I didn’t use this for long, and that impression might change with time.
If it happens, I’ll update the review to reflect that.
That’s why it’s a good idea to bookmark this page if you’re not making a decision today.
The “edge” I promised…and a caveat
You change the weight by only turning one dial.
With Bowflex and the like, you’ll need to select the weight at both ends.
This would be a bigger advantage if you could do it with one hand, but, alas, there’s the red safety button you need to press to unlock the dial.
You won’t hear me cheering for skimping on safety in any context. It’s still worth noting that changing the weight with one hand isn’t an option.
Not great if you’re a safety prude
I did have an “incident” in one of the weight-switch tests.
The test was to go through the following sequence 2.5 -> 7.5 -> 12.5 -> 17.5 -> 22.5 and do one lift between each weight.
The plates got stuck on the 12.5-to-17.5 change and dropped off as I lowered them.
It only happened the one time, but one time would be enough to break your nose on an inclined bench.
Am I nitpicking?
For a broken nose to happen, you’d have to miss the jammed plates and lift the weights above your head.
That’s not likely to happen.
Still, it was a setback, and my feeling about the bells changed slightly. If I’m lifting anything over my head, I need to have absolute confidence in it.
Here is a note directly from Ativafit (and I would certainly agree with this)…
Regarding the possibility of dropping a weight plate during exercise, I would like to say it is unlikely to happen only if users adjust weights appropriately –
- Place the dumbbell on its tray, and press the red button when turning the rotating dial to adjust the weight;
- When the desired weight is aligned with the center line of the handle, release the red button;
- Make sure you hear or feel the red button bounce before you lift the handle.
Criterion 5 – reviewing the weight plates of the AtivaFit
All the weight plates on adjustable dumbbells with a side dial mechanism are similar.
They’re iron, typically painted black, shaped to work with the mechanism, with a few flat lines to make racking easier.
Don’t expect a fancy (or durable) coating because these plates must go in and out of the rack repeatedly. There’s no point in coating them with zinc or chrome because they will be dinged after a few months anyway.
The crucial part is the size and the footprint
The size and bulk determine how close bells like these feel to your traditional dumbbell…and you want them as close as possible.
I discussed and wrote about this stuff so often that I coined a term to describe this aspect.
I call this quality “native.”
A native adjustable dumbbell will feel pretty much the same as your classic dumbbell.
In those terms, Ativafit is better than Bowflex 552 because of its smaller footprint. The plates are just over 7 inches wide, about an inch less than Bowflex.
Not as naive as the handle-twist models
Nuobel and similar sets feel more natural…and it’s not even close.
The width is approximately the same, which is great. It’s the length that feels awkward at lower weights.
Criterion 6 – the speed of the weight switches
I designed a series of tests that will tell you a more well-rounded story than I ever could by rambling on.
I’m presenting those results in the table below.
Here’s what you’re looking for in the columns, respectively:
- The weight series/switches I chose to do
- The total time it took me to go between the weights, doing one biceps curl in-between (three separate series for more accurate results)
- The average time per weight change in each series
- The average time per weight change of ALL series
|Times to complete the set (in seconds)||Average time per switch (in seconds)|
|7.5 -> 12.5||9.1, 9.25, 8.75||9.03|
|5 -> 10 -> 15 -> 20 -> 25||36, 34.9, 29.4||8.36|
|2.5 -> 5 -> 7.5 -> 10 -> 12.5||47.7, 41.9, 39.8||10.78|
|15 -> 17.5 -> 20 -> 22.5 -> 25||38.3, 35.3, 33.2||8.9|
|2.5 -> 7.5 -> 12.5 -> 17.5 -> 22.5||37.68, 30.2, 34.1||8.5|
|Total average per switch (in seconds between all tests and all repetitions)||9.114|
Notes and interpretation of the tests
- The tests confirm my feeling that it’s harder to switch between the lower weights since the average times in tests 1 & 3 are higher.
- It’s easier/faster to go in 5-kilo increments than 2.5 – I expected to see this since half of the wheel is .5, and the other half are the whole numbers.
- The first time I performed the last test, the 12.5 to 17.5 caused stuck plates, which explains the slight time difference.
The takeaway from the AtivaFit speed tests
As far as dial mechanisms go, AtivaFit stands tall with minor, non-red-light issues.
Comparing its speed to dumbbells with superior mechanisms (like handle-dial) makes little sense because you’re not giving it a fighting chance.
Criterion 7 – Looks, design, and finish of the AtivaFit dumbbells
Compared to what is probably its main rival and the most popular adjustable dumbbell ever made, the Bowflex 552, AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells are more rugged but not as well-finished.
First of all, looks-wise, I’m not a fan of the matte gray body.
It makes the set look cheap and not as cool as the black-chrome combo of the Bowflex.
In practical terms, I do get why they didn’t go for all-black – because t would be harder to align the handle with the plates when switching weights.
Still, the gray looks dull.
If you have to have the contrast, offering a red-black combo as an alternative would be a massive plus for me.
The length of the dumbbells are a bit awkward for certain lifts too.
For example, when you do concentration curls it can hit your leg. When using a small weight such as 2.5kg the length of the dumbbell is still 16.5″. This just makes certain lifts feel clunky.
When you compare that to other adjustable dumbbells such as Nuobell’s the length is smaller with the lower weight as you can see below…
Criterion 8 – price and competition to Ativafit adjustable dumbbells
The price or “value” is the main selling point of any Ativafit set.
Or at least it should be…
For years, I’ve been writing about dumbells like these as a “budget alternative” to Bowflex.
But that stopped being accurate a while ago.
For two reasons:
- These “alternatives” got so good they stand in their own right and don’t need the Bowflex references anymore.
- They stopped being much cheaper than Bowflex.
So, they’re neither budget nor an alternative.
What that means for you
Since these are now in the same price bracket, the choice between the two will come down to the aesthetic and size.
- Bowflex is the more elegant of the two, better finished, and feels more polished overall.
- Ativafit has a smaller footprint and feels better in hand than Bowflex.
AtivaFit is still great value
To even the playing field, I introduced a new metric a while back – Price per Weight.
It’s simply the number of dollars you pay per maximum weight.
In that aspect, Ativafit is in the TOP 3 adjustable dumbbells on our list, which is no small thing.
Bottom line – if you’re old school and don’t whine about spending extra 10 minutes in the gym, the value is absolutely there.
Criterion 9 – warranty terms of the Ativafit dumbbells
Ativafit comes with a 1-year warranty, which is pretty much the industry standard in the price range.
The more moving parts, the less likely you are to get a great warranty on adjustable dumbbells.
I don’t care how much you pay…
The only set with a Lifetime warranty on our list is the Ironmaster 75.
And Ironmaster doesn’t belong to the “quick-adjust” category.
It has more in common with a classic dumbbell. You pack on the weight in the same way; you just load/offload it faster.
Bottom line – most sets in the price range come with a one-year warranty. Bowflex offers two years, which is what I’d like to see from Ativafit.
Key takeaways from the AtivaFit adjustable dumbbells review
Value-wise, AtivaFit bells are easily in the Top 3 out of the 20 highest-rated adjustable dumbbells we analyzed.
If you’re getting it, add the rolling stand. Convenience-wise, it’s a must-have.
Where to next?
If you like the AtivaFit set, follow this link to see it on their site.
If you feel like you missed something, click here to skip back to the beginning of the review.
If you feel like there are better sets for you, I recommend exploring our main guide on the best adjustable dumbbells here.
These are the dumbbells we recommend for ‘most people’.
We have spent over 50 hours of research and compared over 100 dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells make sense for most home gyms as they save space.
The Nüobell dumbbells go all the way to 80lbs per hand. This means they are much more versatile than most 50lbs adjustable dumbbells. You can use these for heavy shrugs, squats and bench press etc.
The main reason they are the top pick is because of their shape. They actually feel like real dumbbells and are not awkward to lift like some others.