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PowerBlock is a fitness company that’s known for producing high quality home gym equipment, including kettlebells, weight stands, and benches.

The company also offers three series of adjustable dumbbells, which provide the benefits of owning multiple dumbbells in one compact device.

While all the models are made from high quality materials, the adjustable dumbbells vary in price and weight options.

This article will discuss the pros, cons, and special features of PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells to help you decide which product is right for your workout needs.

Pros

  • variety of models to choose from
  • replaces up to 28 sets of dumbbells, depending on the model
  • suitable for small spaces
  • pin adjustment mechanism is easy to use
  • durable, sturdy design

Cons

  • expensive
  • additional cost for shipping
  • bulky design doesn’t accommodate certain exercises
  • handles can be uncomfortable
  • company’s website is difficult to navigate

After years of trying to figure out how to improve the basic dumbbell, PowerBlock founder Carl Towley opened the first PowerBlock shop in Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1993.

The company focuses on fabricating and selling space-saving fitness equipment, most notably the adjustable dumbbell.

Other products include adjustable kettlebells, barbell attachments to use with the dumbbells, and benches that feature attachments for exercises like dips and pullups.

What are adjustable dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells are dumbbells that include several weights in one piece of equipment.

Depending on the brand, the weight load is easily adjusted using a selector pin, dial, or handle-twist mechanism.

In addition to offering the luxury of being able to work out from home, adjustable dumbbells are relatively compact, making them a good fit if you have limited space for gym equipment.

Plus, the portability of adjustable dumbbells allows you to easily move them around your home or transport them for an outdoor workout.

They’re also generally cheaper than buying multiple sets of traditional dumbbells.

While adjustable dumbbells offer many benefits, there are a few downsides to consider.

For example, they’re often not as durable as regular dumbbells, as the adjustment mechanism can be easily damaged, especially if they’re dropped.

They’re also bulkier, which may limit your range of motion and make it difficult to do certain exercises.

PowerBlock offers several adjustable dumbbell sets to suit a range of fitness levels.

There are currently three series available, including:

  • Pro Series: Adjustable and expandable, the Pro Series ranges from 5 to 90 pounds per hand with urethane-coated steel plates, an open interior to maximize range of motion, a contoured and padded grip, and an “auto-lock” option for micro-adjustments of 2.5 pounds.
  • Elite Series: The Elite Series starts at 2.5 pounds per hand and goes up to 90 pounds with two expansion kits. The weights feature welded steel construction with a straight bar padded grip.
  • Sport Series: The Sport Series comes in expandable and non-expandable versions, starting as low as 2.5 pounds per hand and going up to as much as 90 pounds. It features a solid steel, powder-coated finish, open-air handle for improved range of motion, and contoured and padded grip.

While they differ in price and training options, all of the dumbbells are adjustable using a weight-locking pin.

The mechanism is easy to use, as you simply slide the pin into the side of the dumbbell at the spot that corresponds to your desired weight.

What’s more, many of the models include color-coded weight bands, making it easy to quickly identify where to place the weight-locking pin.

PowerBlock also offers three expandable models, including the Pro EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set, the Elite USA 5-50 Stage 1 Set, and the Sport EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set.

These models differ from other PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells, as they can be used with up to two 20-pound (9.1-kg) expansion kits for heavier lifting.

As a result, unlike other models that top out at 50 pounds (22.7 kg) per hand, the expansion kits allow you to lift up to 70 or 90 pounds (31.8 or 40.8 kg) per weight.

Additionally, some PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are compatible with accessories, such as the EZ curl barbell, straight barbell, and kettlebell handle, which allow you to perform a greater number of exercises.

For the EZ curl barbell and straight barbell, simply attach the dumbbells to either end of the bars.

Meanwhile, the 10-pound (4.5-kg) kettlebell handle attaches to the top of one of your adjustable dumbbells.

Finally, PowerBlock offers additional equipment to complete your home gym, including weight stands, a travel bench, and a sport bench with optional chinup and dip attachments.

Here’s a closer look at each of the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbell models.

Pro Series

Powerblock dumbells Pro Series

The Pro Series is the most expensive series and includes three models, all of which feature a contoured grip with an open handle design for better freedom of movement.

They also include steel plates that are coated with urethane to reduce noise.

Plus, each set is designed to be durable and less susceptible to damage than many other adjustable dumbbells on the market.

Out of the three Pro models, the Pro 32 is the lightest and cheapest. However, it isn’t compatible with PowerBlock’s accessories and only goes up to 32 pounds (15.5 kg) per hand.

In contrast, both the Pro 50 and Pro EXP can be used with accessories, such as the EZ barbel and kettlebell attachment. Though, the Pro EXP is a better option for heavy lifting.

Here’s a closer look at how the three models compare:

Pro 32Pro 50Pro EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set
Price$339$499$509–$907
Maximum weight
(per dumbbell)
32 pounds (15.5 kg)50 pounds (22.7 kg)50, 70, or 90 pounds (22.7, 31.8, 40.8 kg), depending on expansion kits
Approximate weight increments4 pounds (1.8 kg)2.5 pounds (1.1 kg)5 pounds (2.3 kg)
Number of weight options81928 (with both extensions)
Compatible accessoriesnone – EZ barbell
– straight barbell
– kettlebell handle
– EZ barbell
– straight barbell
– kettlebell handle
– expansion kits
Features– lightest Pro model
– color-coded weight bands
– smaller grip
– color-coded weight bands
– open handle design
– auto-lock handle
– color-coded weight bands
– open handle design
– auto-lock handle

USA Elite Series

Powerblock USA Elite Series

The USA Elite Series currently includes just the Elite USA 5-50 Stage 1 Set, an expandable option that’s available in 50-, 70-, and 90-pound (22.7-, 31.8-, and 40.8-kg) sets.

The Elite Series features steel weight plates, closed handles with straight cylindrical grips, and padded wrist support.

It’s also the most popular PowerBlock series and replaces 16 pairs of dumbbells.

While it’s a great basic option, the Elite USA 5-50 Stage 1 Set isn’t compatible with PowerBlock’s barbell or kettlebell attachments.

The Elite Series starts at $419 for the base model and goes up to $797 with both extension kits.

Sport Series

Powerblock Sport series

The Sport Series includes three models that use steel weight plates and feature an open handle design for a full range of motion.

While many customers find them more comfortable and easier to use than the Pro models, they aren’t compatible with PowerBlock’s barbell or kettlebell attachments.

The Sport 24 is the cheapest adjustable dumbbell that PowerBlock offers. It’s also the lightest, making it a great option for lighter weightlifting.

In contrast, the Sport 50 and Sport EXP are designed with more serious weight lifters in mind.

While the Sport 50 features nonslip handles that are suitable for larger hands, the Sport EXP includes an auto-lock feature that allows you to make micro weight adjustments.

The Sport EXP can also be used with expansion kits for those who want to lift heavy.

However, it’s worth noting that the Sport 50 and Sport EXP don’t offer color-coded weight bands.

Here’s how the three models compare:

Sport 24Sport 50Sport EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set
Price$199$399$409–$767
Maximum weight
(per dumbbell)
24 pounds (10.9 kg)50 pounds (22.7 kg) 50, 70, or 90 pounds (22.7, 31.8, 40.8 kg), depending on expansion kits
Approximate weight increments3 pounds (1.4 kg)5 pounds (2.3 kg)5 pounds (2.3 kg)
Number of weight options8916
Compatible accessoriesnonenoneexpansion kits
Features– most compact
– color-coded weight bands
– smaller grip
– numbered weight bands
– open handle design
– numbered weight bands
– open handle design
– auto-lock handle

Pro seriesElite seriesSport series
Price$339–$907$419–$797$199–$767
Weight range included2.5–90 pounds with add-on kits2.5–90 pounds with add-on kits2.5–90 pounds, depending on model/options/add-on kits
Pros– replaces up to 28 pairs of dumbbells
– can change weight in 2.5-pound micro-adjustments with adder weights
– accessories and attachments available
– expandable and non-expandable options available
– made in the U.S.
– replaces up to 16 pairs of dumbbells
– can change weight in 2.5-pound micro-adjustments with adder weights
– most compact PowerBlock option available (with corresponding smaller grip)
– expandable and non-expandable options available
– replaces up to 28 pairs of dumbbells
Cons– expandable versions are the most expensive products
– not made in the U.S.
– no contoured grip
– black powder coat finish rather than urethane
– not made in the U.S.
– not all versions offer the adder weights for 2.5-pound micro-adjustments
– gray powder coat finish rather than urethane
Features– contoured grip
– weight plates feature urethane finish
– open-handle design
– 5-year limited warranty
– padded wrist support
– color-coded bands for weight selection
– 5-year limited warranty
– contoured grip
– open handle design on larger models
– 5-year limited warranty

PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells range in price from $169–$817, depending on the model.

There’s also an additional fee for shipping and delivery, which varies by location.

When purchased from PowerBlock’s website, you can expect your dumbbells to arrive within 21–30 business days.

To make the dumbbells more affordable, PowerBlock also offers special financing for qualified customers.

Dumbbells that are purchased from PowerBlock for home use are covered by a 5-year limited warranty. Just make sure to register your purchase using the company’s online form.

If you’re unhappy with your purchase, you have 30 days to return your dumbbells. However, there’s a 20% processing and restocking fee that will be deducted from your reimbursement.

PowerBlock has a long-standing reputation as being a high quality, home-based fitness brand.

Third-party review platforms like Trustpilot indicate that, overall, customers rank them as “average,” with 3.5 out of 5 stars. This appears to be at least somewhat related to declining customer service response and decreased product quality during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

That said, of the service’s 385 reviews, 85% rated PowerBlock as “excellent,” noting that the product works as advertised, saves space, and is easy to use.

If you’re familiar with lifting weights using traditional dumbbells, making the switch to adjustable dumbbells truly isn’t all that different. Just as you grip and lift a standard dumbbell, you grip and lift adjustable dumbbells.

The difference isn’t in the mechanism of using the dumbbells but in the mechanism of selecting how much weight you want to use.

While each PowerBlock series and model has slightly different ways to identify and select how much weight you want to use, it’s a fairly standard system.

Simply identify the weight you want to use on each block — look for the numbered or color-coded indicators — and slide the provided pin into the slot to lock it in place.

If you want to make micro-adjustments to how much weight you lift, there may also be the option to remove an adder weight from the PowerBlock to reduce the weight by 2.5 pounds.

For instance, if you’ve selected a 10-pound weight increment on each PowerBlock, removing the adder weights would reduce the amount lifted to 7.5 pounds.

One thing to keep in mind about the PowerBlock weights is that their rectangular shape and internal handle can feel more bulky and awkward to lift than a standard dumbbell. It can take some getting used to, so practice with lighter weight selections to get comfortable.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind for most exercises, you’re not supposed to flex your wrist. The PowerBlock shape may actually help remind you to keep your wrists straight and strong.

You may also be nervous about lifting the weight over your head — will the pin actually hold in place and keep the weights from falling? This is a common concern for users, but the pin is sturdy and designed to hold 500 pounds (much more than each dumbbell has).

Just make sure you take your time to insert the pin correctly and check that it’s locked in place.

There are several brands of adjustable dumbbells on the market, with the Bowflex SelectTech 552i and Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System being the most popular.

PowerBlockBowflex Ironmaster
Adjustment typeU-shaped pindial patented lock system with removable plates
Weight 2.5–90 pounds, depending on model and series5–90 pounds, depending on model5–45 pounds; up to 120 pounds with an add-on kit
Add-ons– expansion kits to take the max weight from 50 pounds up to 90 pounds per dumbbell
– accessories to turn the PowerBlocks into barbells or kettlebells, depending on the model and series
– technologically advanced systems that are Bluetooth enabled and come with an app– add-on kit to increase the max weight
– optional kettlebell handle attachment to use the dumbbells as kettlebells
Price$199–907, depending on model and optionsapproximately $335 and up, depending on model$519–$918, depending on weight add-on accessories
Shapeboxy/rectangular; hand-inserted inside dumbbell for griptraditional dumbbell shapetraditional dumbbell shape

Bowflex SelectTech 552

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells stand out from others, as they feature a unique dial mechanism for adjusting the weight load. While some customers prefer the dial, others complain that it can get stuck and be difficult to use.

Another potential downside is that the Bowflex dumbbells can’t be used with barbell attachments, as some of the more expensive PowerBlock models.

Priced at $349, the SelectTech 552s cost around the same as the PowerBlock Pro 32 and Sport 50. Yet, for the price, the Bowflex dumbbells offer more weight options and they’re designed to replace 15 pairs of dumbbells.

The Bowflex SelectTech 552s also go up to 52.5 pounds (23.8 kg), compared with 32 pounds (15.5 kg) with the Pro 32s.

We tested the Bowflex 552 dumbbells. See our full review here.

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System features a patented lock design that allows for quick weight adjustments.

The system offers weights ranging from 5–45 pounds (2.3–20.4 kg) in 2.5-pound (1.1-kg) increments, which is similar to the lighter PowerBlock sets.

However, similar to the PowerBlock EXP models, Ironmaster offers upgrade kits for increasing the weight load to 75–120 pounds (34–54.4 kg), which surpasses PowerBlock’s 90-pound (40.8-kg) maximum.

Ironmaster also offers accessories like an EZ curl bar and a straight bar.

The Ironmaster system costs $459.

Are PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells worth the price?

If you enjoy dumbbell exercises, but don’t have the space for multiple weights, PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are worth considering. The variety of weight options ensures that the dumbbell sets will work for most fitness levels and multiple household members.

Online reviews of PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are mostly positive, with customers noting that the weights are durable, easy to adjust, and great for saving space. Of course, not all reviews are favorable.

The most common complaints include noise, limited movements due to the bulky design, and difficulty adjusting the weights on carpeted floors.

Why are PowerBlock dumbbells expensive?

It’s easy to see the price of PowerBlock dumbbells and assume that the price is inflated. But weights, in general, are expensive.

A new set of dumbbells typically cost about $1–$2 per pound of weight purchased.

So, if you were to purchase a set of 10 dumbbells (2 dumbbells per set) in increments of 5 pounds, starting with 5-pound weights and increasing to 50 pounds, you would be purchasing a total of 550 pounds of dumbbells.

At $1 to $2 per pound, you’re looking at paying $550 to $1,100.

Comparatively, PowerBlock’s most expensive model, the Pro Series, has the option to go up to 90 pounds per dumbbell at a corresponding total price of $907 (not including shipping). Ultimately, you’re getting more weight options for a better price.

Which PowerBlock series is best?

If you don’t plan on lifting more than 24 or 32 pounds (10.9 or 15.5 kg) per arm, the Pro 32 and Sport 24 offer the best bang for your buck.

In contrast, more advanced weight lifters may want to consider the Pro EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set. In addition to expansion kits, this model can be used with the barbell and kettlebell attachments for added variety to your weightlifting routine.

However, if you don’t plan on using the attachments, the Sport EXP 5-50 Stage 1 Set will give you many of the same benefits as the Pro EXP, but at a lower price.

Which is better: PowerBlock or Bowflex?

PowerBlocks and Bowflex’s SelectTech adjustable dumbbells have pros and cons, and which is best ultimately comes down to your personal needs.

Bowflex offers a simple mechanism to adjust weight that most users find easy to manage. The dumbbells seem slightly more user-friendly when it comes to transitioning from traditional dumbbells to an adjustable version.

Bowflex dumbbells are also shaped more similarly to traditional dumbbells, making them a little easier to use.

PowerBlock, on the other hand, provides lots of options to users for expanding most sets, making weight adjustments, and using add-ons to provide a more extensive, compact home gym.

When comparing similar dumbbell models, the prices tend to be comparatively close.

Where reviewers tend to enjoy both brands, Bowflex appears to have more customer service complaints about poor response time than PowerBlock. If it’s important to you to be able to contact customer service if there’s a problem, PowerBlocks may come out on top.

With an extensive product line, PowerBlock offers high quality adjustable dumbbell sets to suit a variety of fitness levels and workout needs.

In particular, the Sport 24 and Pro 32 provide excellent value for most home gyms, while the Pro and Sport EXP models are designed with more serious weight lifters in mind.

However, as the dumbbells are still quite pricey and don’t include shipping, it’s worth shopping around to find a set of adjustable dumbbells that best fits your workout goals and budget.