Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells Review

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In our recent article on ‘How Much Space Do You Need for a Home Gym’, we had shared a list of products that we highly recommend for people who do not have much space. The list included adjustable kettlebells, adjustable dumbbells, and independent squat stands. These adjustable home gym equipment require minimum floor space and yet they are so versatile that you won’t be able to outgrow them anytime soon. 

This is a Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with Stand
This is a Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with Stand

The Bowflex dumbbells 1090 are one such product that we highly recommend for people who are into cardio and strength training. These dumbbells can be adjusted between 10-90lbs with a gradual weight increment of 5lbs. Just like the Bowflex adjustable kettlebell that we recently reviewed, they too use a dial knob for weight adjustments, making it almost instant and effortless to adjust the weights. 

Bowflex dumbbells are expensive and bulky (which is common with most adjustable dumbbells). But, if you are about to start strength training, they can help you replace 17 dumbbells and save a lot of floor space. 

Here are some more details that you should know, in case you are planning to buy them. 

Noteworthy features of Bowflex 1090 dumbbells

The design 

Just like the Bowflex adjustable kettlebell, these dumbbells too utilize the SelectTech technology that enables Bowflex to provide maximum possible weight in the most compact design. 

Bowflex dumbbells 1090 feature a single bar with 5 metal plates hooked on to it. This design gives it a rather elongated shape as compared to standard dumbbells. The dimensions, as per the manufacturer, are 10. inches x 17.5 inches x 10. Inches. 

The dumbbells come with their own resting tray and you need to keep them in it when not in use. These trays also hold the unused plates.  

A Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with its resting tray
A Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells with its resting tray

The weight of the bowflex 1090 dumbbells can be adjusted from 10lbs to 90lbs by turning a dial, which is a typical feature of all other products from the same manufacturer. The case is made of molded plastic which helps dampen the noise when you place the dumbbell on its tray. 

Safety click sound 

When you turn the knob for changing the weight, you will get a soft clicking sound, which indicates that the weights are safely locked in their place. Make sure you pick up the dumbbell only when you hear the click, so you don’t pick it up when the plates are not secured 

Suitable for intermediate to advanced trainers 

90lbs is enough for most of us unless you are a hulk. Plus, it provides a 5lbs weight increment. You can gradually make progress instead of pushing your body to suddenly train with a higher weight. 

Most adjustable dumbbells have a max weight of 55lbs. Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbell, the closest competitor of Bowflex 1090 adjustable dumbbell has a max weight of 71.5lbs. It provides a weight increment of 10lbs, which could be too much for beginners. 

If you want to train with more than 90lbs weight, you can buy Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell connectors. It comes in a complete set including the weight plates and the price is very reasonable too. But, please note that you have to manually adjust the weight. 

People who are just getting started with strength training can go with Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, which are cheaper than the 1090 ones and have a max weight of 55 lbs. 

Free access to Bowflex SelectTech training app

Both Bowflex dumbbells 1090 and 552 models come with free access to its own training app. You can use it to practice various trainer-led workouts. You can also use it to track your progress and create customized workouts for yourself. It is a great feature for people who need some help getting started with strength training as well as for people who start losing their motivation after some time. 

What we don’t like about Bowflex 1090 dumbbells 

A buyer review of the Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells
A buyer review of the Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells

The handles do not have rubber grip 

The main issue that most buyers have reported about Bowflex adjustable dumbbell 1090 is that the handle is squarish and does have any rubber coating or grip. Well, if you are lifting about 60-90lbs of weight, you would need a grip to keep your hands comfortable as bare steel with knurling could dig into your palms. 

You can wrap some athletic tape around it or use gloves but Bowflex should have thought about it, especially if it is claiming that this product is meant for advanced trainers. 

The bare steel handle of a Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells plates
The bare steel handle of a Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells

Significantly bulky and restricts you from doing certain exercises 

As mentioned above, the dumbbells measure 10 inches length x 17.5 inches width x 10 inches height. Now 17.5” is just too much. You may not be able to hold them comfortably beside your body while doing curls. Plus, you might find it odd to perform a few other exercises because of its bulky design. 

Well, that's how adjustable dumbbells are and there is nothing much that the manufacturer can do about it. Buyers have, however, stated that after a few weeks of use, you will get used to its size and then, it will get a lot easier for you to use them safely without hitting yourself. 

Sold as a single unit (not pair)

That sounds funny because dumbbells are supposed to be used in pairs. How could you do curls and presses with one dumbbell!

We don’t know why but most adjustable dumbbells are sold as a single unit. So, as obvious, you need to buy two units and pay twice the price listed. 

Bowflex, however, sells them in pairs on its website, which could help you save some money. 

The tabs that hold the plates are made of plastic 

The plastic holding tab of the Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells plates
The plastic holding tab of the Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells plates
Buyer's review of the Bowflex dumbbells plastic tabs
Buyer's review of the Bowflex dumbbells plastic tabs

The 552 Bowflex adjustable dumbbell that has 55lbs weight capacity uses a metal tab but the 1090 model with 90lbs weight uses a plastic one! Not sure what made Bowflex think that a small piece of plastic will be able to keep the weights locked in

The manufacturer has already clearly mentioned that these adjustable dumbbells need to be used carefully i.e. they shouldn’t be dropped. But, buyers have stated that the plastic got cracked even though they didn’t use them roughly. It probably gets worn out with time. 

This is a serious issue and, despite numerous complaints, Bowflex hasn’t fixed it. 

Our Rating: 4/5

Wrap up

Yes, the design flaws of the Bowflex 1090 dumbbell aren’t something ignorable. But, that’s how adjustable dumbbells are. They have a short life and larger size than the standard products. We recommend them only if you have limited space and there is no way you can accommodate multiple sets of dumbbells. 

If you are creating a small home gym, you must be looking for product recommendations. We have already created a list of Best Home Pulley Systems, Best Doorway Pull-Up Bars, Best Treadmills, Best Rowing Machines, and Best Spin Bikes. We have also reviewed numerous top-rated home gym equipment and accessories such as myofascial release tools. Many more reviews are in progress. If you want to buy a specific product and want us to review it for you, please feel free to get in touch with us. We will be happy to help!