In this Bowflex SelectTech 1090 review, we’re looking at one of the top choices in the adjustable handheld weights market.
Adjustable dumbbells are a great substitute for standard dumbbells for your home or garage gym.
While regular dumbbells have a fixed weight, adjustable dumbbells can be customized to different weight levels.
A regular dumbbell rack takes up a lot of space and can be very expensive.
Meanwhile, just one adjustable dumbbell replaces an entire rack, which saves you plenty of space and money.
Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Review: Quick Summary
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 are adjustable dumbbells that have a weight range of 10 to 90 pounds, using 17 different weight settings in increments of 5 pounds.
Furthermore, their compact design and storage tray make them an excellent choice for home or garage gyms.
Bowflex is a company that focuses on manufacturing quality fitness equipment for home use.
Their product line features innovative redesigns of traditional gym equipment to fit the size and budget ideal for most homes.
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 adjustable dumbbells allow you to replace an entire dumbbell rack for a fraction of the price and much less space required to store them.
Once seated in the storage tray, the weights can be quickly adjusted to the desired weight using turning dials, which feature bright red numbers to make it easy to read your current setting.
Since the excess weights stay on the storage tray, they can’t get lost.
The handle length is 5 inches long with a diameter not specified by the manufacturer but measured slightly over 1 inch in diameter - typical for most dumbbells.
Let’s take a quick look at the specs before we do a detailed Bowflex 1090 review.
- Number Of Settings: 17 weight settings
- Weight Range: From 10 to 90 pounds
- Weight increments: Per 5 lbs
- Dimensions: 16.9" L x 8.3" W x 9" H (17.5" L x 9.5" W x 10" H with stand)
- Adjustment system: Easy-to-use selection dials
- Materials: Steel, Nylon, ABS, Thermoplastic Rubber
- Additional features: Storage tray, compatible with JRNY™ app (requires subscription)
- Warranty: 3-year warranty on all parts and a 6-week satisfaction guarantee
- Weight: 98 pounds per dumbbell including the resting base
- Color: Black with red details
Bowflex SelectTech 1090 are adjustable dumbbells that have a weight range of 10 to 90 pounds, using 17 different weight settings in increments of 5 pounds.
Large number of weight settings, particularly for the adjustable dumbbell market
5-pound increment settings allow for streamlined weight progress over time
The weight adjustment mechanism is easy to use and works quickly
The storage tray makes them easy to store and carry
Weight plates can’t get lost as they stay on the storage tray when not engaged
Could be better:
Knurling on the handle could be better
The dumbbells are long and stay the same length with all weight settings
Dropping them could damage the mechanism
Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Review
The Bowflex Selecttech 1090 dumbbells offer some of the highest weight selections in the adjustable handheld weight market.
The exact weight settings include 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, and 90 pounds.
This wide range of settings offers many workout possibilities and easily covers the needs of most athlete levels, from beginner to advanced.
Additionally, no matter which weight you start off, the 5-pound adjustable increment lets you streamline your strength progression and prevent you from “outgrowing” your dumbbells.
To use the weight adjustment on the Bowflex Selecttech 1090 dumbbells, you need to rest them on the storage tray first.
To adjust the weight of the individual dumbbell, simply turn the dial found at the end on both sides until it shows the same number as your desired weight.
The numbers need to match and represent the entire dumbbell weight, not just one side.
This means that, for example, to set them to 50 pounds, you turn both dials to 50, not 25 each.
The advantage of such a system is that it prevents you from accidentally using uneven weights and causing an injury.
As you turn the dials, the automatic locking system secures the needed weight plates to the handle.
Once you’ve set the number to match on both sides, all you need to do is lift the weight, there are no additional locks or features you need to secure.
This system makes it quite quick to change weight settings in the middle of your workout.
Once you get the hang of it and your muscle memory starts picking up how many turns you need before you reach your desired weight setting, you’ll be able to adjust it in no more than a few seconds.
This way you can even use them effectively for supersets.
At first glance, the Bowflex 90 lb adjustable dumbbells appear just like a regular dumbbell, with plastic covering the weight and handle.
The storage tray serves multiple purposes, as it’s not only a platform to leave your weights and carry them, but also part of the weight adjustment mechanism.
Once you lift the weight, the excess weight plates that aren’t engaged stay locked on the tray, meaning you won’t lose them by accident.
As mentioned in the specs, the handle is very typical compared to most dumbbells.
On the surface, it appears metal, but it’s actually plastic.
With around 5 inches in length and just over 1 inch in diameter, this helps it fit into the palms of most athletes.
The handlebar does feature a round-shaped knurling pattern, although various product reviews complain that it’s too prominent and really digs into the hand - and I agree.
To solve this issue, you can either get yourself lifting gloves, a padded handle cover, use Fat Gripz, or even find a DIY solution such as duct tape.
One knock off of the design of the Bowflex 1090 adjustable dumbbells is that they’re quite long.
In fact, no matter which weight setting you choose, the length stays the same.
It’s important to point out that smaller-built athletes may find that this design feature causes issues in some exercises, as it may force them to use a larger movement motion.
When, for example, applying a twisting movement with the dumbbells, you may find you need to start turning your wrist slightly earlier.
At the very least, this can force you to work out with a lower weight setting, but it can also lead to discomfort and injury.
If Bowflex finds a way to fix this issue for future iterations of their adjustable dumbbell, that would be a massive design improvement.
Furthermore, athletes need to take this characteristic into account when using it, while Bowflex should disclose it in their user manual.
Materials & Quality
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells are made of high-quality materials to ensure durability and longevity.
The weight plates are made of steel which is covered in a thick plastic casing.
With regular use, the plates will last a long time and won’t show any signs of wear and tear.
However, there’s an explicit warning against dropping the dumbbells, as the plastic casing can crack under impact.
At first glance, the handlebar appears to be metal, but it’s actually made out of thermoplastic.
This material is still quite durable while being easier to maintain than metal, which can be subject to abrasion and corrosion.
Therefore, you should consider the environment where you store the dumbbells when they’re not in use.
Leaving them in a humid garage, for example, may lead the material quality to worsen quickly.
This goes for different material types, always remember to store your gym equipment in suitable conditions, which will often be specified on the user manual or warranty sheet.
Value For Money
Compared to other adjustable dumbbell options on the market, these come at an average to slightly above average price, depending on where you’re shopping.
However, compared to competitors, the build and material quality is higher, giving them a better return on investment over time.
The dumbbells come with a 3-year warranty on all parts, excluding damage caused by misuse.
Along with that, there’s a 6-week satisfaction period in which you can return the dumbbells and get a refund, in case you didn’t like them.
It’s important to note that most websites that have these actually sell them in singles, and not as a pair of weights.
The dumbbells are known for their build quality and longevity, which also gives them good resale value, should you choose to move on from them.
Additionally, each purchase of the Bowflex 90 lb adjustable dumbbells grants you one year of access to the JRNY™ fitness app.
JRNY™ is a platform developed by Bowflex to go hand in hand with their equipment.
The app tracks your workout data, then uses AI to process it to help you set fitness goals, training regimens, exercise preferences, track your progress, and more.
To help you get started, JRNY™ has a library of on-demand workouts, including virtual coaching sessions and video-based training programs.
The app is also compatible with popular fitness apps such as Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, and Google Fit.
Who Are Bowflex Selecttech 1090 For?
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells are ideal for a majority of athletes.
With a 10 to 90 pound weight setting with 5-pound increments, they offer high amounts of weight customization which can be adjusted to fit the needs of both beginners and advanced users.
They’re great for a variety of training methods and can be used to achieve progressive overload, including large sets of low weights and short sets of high weights.
The compact design required very little space to store, especially compared to a dumbbell rack, making these an ideal choice for home or garage gym owners.
The dumbbells are suitable for a wide range of exercises, including chest presses, curls, squats, and lunges.
Overall, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells are good for anyone who wants a convenient and effective way to perform resistance training at home.
According to scientific research, just 10 weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.
Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Alternative
Whereas a standard dumbbell rack has a large upfront cost and takes up plenty of space, Bowflex introduced the 1090 adjustable weights as a way to avoid these inconveniences.
Bowflex also offers some of the largest weight settings, as most adjustable dumbbells only go up to 50 to 60 pounds of maximum weight.
For example, the Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells go up to 52.5 pounds.
The Bowflex sports an impressive 10 to 90 pound range, making it a great choice for those looking to lift heavier, and much harder to exceed over time.
The 5-pound increments are standard for adjustable dumbbells and offer plenty of adjustability, with 17 total weight settings.
However, some other models on the market offer even smaller increments, such as 2.5 or 3 pounds, which can be beneficial for more precise weight adjustments.
There can be better suited for beginners, as well as sticking to specific training plans.
The Bowflex Selectech 1090 dumbbells are priced in the mid to high range compared to other adjustable dumbbells, but are superior in weight range and material structure to cheaper alternatives.
There are more affordable models present on the market, but they may not offer the same weight range or construction quality.
Bowflex Selecttech 1090 vs NordicTrack Adjustable Dumbbells
The Bowflex Selecttech 1090 first hit the markets in 2007, so now in 2023 it’s moving closer to 20 years since release.
Since then, Bowflex have used what they learned and added more adjustable weight resistance products to the SelectTech line, including:
- 552i Dumbbells (2014)
- 840 Kettlebell (2019)
- 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar (2020)
In comparison, the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight dumbbells first became available in 2020, meaning they had a full 13 years to study and try to improve on the Bowflex.
Here’s how the two compare in basic specs:
There are many things I liked about both.
In terms of build quality, they’re eerily similar, consisting mostly of metal and plastic.
For example, NordicTrack managed to solve the length issue, as the dumbbell gets larger the more weight you add on, instead of being a one-size design.
Even at the highest 55-pound setting, it’s not really larger than a regular 55 pound dumbbell you see at the gym.
This is a major plus for the NordicTrack.
However, the Bowflex Selecttech 1090 easily beats it out in the maximum capacity, with 90 pounds compared to the 55 of NordicTrack.
This means that intermediate to advanced athletes have higher weight settings to play around with.
The higher weight capacity is also helpful for various other exercises where you might want more resistance, such as dumbbell squats and deadlifts.
Overall, I’d recommend the 90 lb Bowflex dumbbells for more advanced athletes looking for additional exercise variety, while the NordicTrack makes for a good choice for beginners.
There are many things to like about the Nordictrack, and I’m excited to do a detail review on them soon.
What Happens if I Drop Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Dumbbells?
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells have a “Do Not Drop Dumbbell” warning label on them.
Even though they're made from durable plastic and can withstand some degree of impact, they’re not indestructible.
Additionally, if they fall, they can cause damage to the surface they land on since they don’t have any safety features against impact, so dropping them should be avoided.
Therefore, this should be a point of consideration when selecting your optimal weight, as dropping them can lead to injuring yourself or damaging the surface they land on.
Are Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Dumbbells Safe to Use?
The Bowflex Selecttech 1090 dumbbells are as safe to use as any other dumbbells - meaning as long as you use them properly and respect your physical queues, you won’t have issues.
Use weight appropriate to your strength level and only push past that with proper assistance from a partner or trainer.
Check if you have enough space in your surroundings and that nothing intercepts your exercise path.
And remember to always listen to your body - stop exercising if you feel pain and discomfort and consult a physician.
Dumbbells are generally a highly recommended method of resistance training.
Among other health benefits, research has shown that resistance training with dumbbells can lead to lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Are Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Dumbbells Good for Beginners?
Yes, adjustable dumbbells such as the Bowflex Selecttech 1090 are a good choice for beginners.
They offer a wide range of weight options, from 10 to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments, which is helpful for inexperienced athletes who aren’t familiar with their physical capabilities.
Furthermore, they provide a large variety of exercise options, which is found to have a positive effect on physical health.
Keep in mind that, according to research, increasing weight may result in greater muscle mass, it won’t immediately result in greater strength.
It’s especially important to note for beginners that, while you will appear larger, it takes more time to develop the strength necessary to jump to a higher weight setting, and it’s perfectly normal to stick to one number for longer periods of time.
That was our detailed Bowflex Selecttech 1090 review, here are some of the main takeaways:
Compared to competitors such as NordicTrack, the Bowflex 1090 dumbbells have good price to value relation. Their large number of settings makes them a good choice for beginners and advanced athletes. They do use larger weight increments - 5 compared to 2.5 or 3 pounds - but are made from quality materials that will last a long time if properly cared for. Bowflex 1090 are a great choice for people starting out at a home or garage gym, as they save a lot of space and cost significantly less than installing a dumbbell rack.
Do you use dumbbells in your exercise routines? Have you had experience with an adjustable dumbbell before? Let me know in the comment section and remember to follow my social media pages for similar product reviews and other valuable fitness content.
- Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men // Ncbi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303131/
- What to Know About Dumbbells // Webmd: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-to-know-about-dumbbells
- Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22777332/
My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships – 105kg division.
I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.