Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

For a long time, the adjustable dumbbells market was plagued with crappy products. You either had the option of easy to adjust or long-lasting.

You couldn’t seem to get both.Here comes PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells, a dumbbell innovation that claims to answer both concerns.

I took a deep dive into this PowerBlock craze and there were a few surprises in store that might be useful to help you buy the right pair of adjustable dumbbells.

Let’s get on to the review.

What Are PowerBlock Dumbbells?

powerblock thumb

PowerBlock dumbbells are adjustable dumbbells that claim to have one of the fastest mechanisms for changing out the weight plates.

They are available in 3 models that are designed for different levels of fitness training. More on the different sets shortly.

The entire goal of these adjustable dumbbells is to allow people to take advantage of workout routines that would otherwise require 10 or 20 pairs of dumbbells..

Not only would those take up a load of space and get you in trouble with your significant other. But it could also work out quite expensive for a home gym.

Another one of the unique things highlighted in a lot of online reviews is that each of the models is expandable. So, you shouldn’t end up in a situation where you have a fixed range of weight settings.

As you bulk up and gain strength, you could order more compatible weight plates.

youtube

How Do Powerblock Weights Work?

guy using dumbell

PowerBlock weights work by using a pin system and color-coding to make the required weight adjustments.

When you look at it closely, the mechanism functions in a similar way to what you see at the gym with machines that use a cable pulley system.

As you move the pin, it’s going to set and engage a different number of plates.

During some competitive testing here at the office, Connor was actually able to get the fastest time for changing the weight plates on both adjustable dumbbells in under 3 seconds.

Once you have the right settings, you simply grab the handle and gently lift it out of the base. Some of the plates will stay in place, and you’ll be ready to start your training with the PowerBlocks.

To set the right weight for your exercise, you check the color chart on the side and then place the pin accordingly.

What are the Benefits?

powerblock thumb

I mentioned above that adjustable dumbbells used to have very limited uses, and they often started falling apart during training.

It only takes one weight plate to drop on your foot to never want to use one again (Yes, that’s experience talking).

However, after some extensive testing, we have identified a few benefits that may help you decide on whether to buy this adjustable dumbbell set.

1 - Way Cheaper Than A Set Of Dumbbells

A standard set of dumbells could run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars, depending on how heavy you need them to be.

When you then consider that the smallest set of PowerBlocks Elite could replace 16 pairs of dumbbells, then you start to see how much savings there could be.

Once you get to the largest set, you could be saving on 28 pairs, which for a quality brand would likely cost you thousands of dollars [1].

2 - You Won’t Need A Load Of Storage Space

If you’ve ever ended up in a heated discussion with your significant other about another piece of training equipment taking up space, then PowerBlocks could be a great peacemaker.

Even on the standard stand, they should only take up about 2 square feet of floor space, allowing you to keep them out of the way. This means less tripping over them and fewer arguments.

3 - Easy To Use Weight Settings

The only thing you need to get used to is the color coding for the weight settings. It’s printed on the side, and within a few seconds, you should be able to pull out the pin and place it in the right slot.

Many online reviews say that it’s easy to get used to, but still best to practice a few times before your first training session.

4 - Expandable For Higher Weight Range

You have to buy most other adjustable dumbbells in the weight range that you plan to use. Once you buy a set, that’s it; you won’t be able to extend the range on them.

However, PowerBlocks have made it possible for you to start with a smaller weight set, and then possibly invest in more weights for the same series.

That’s one of the great features that we often saw in reviews.

5 - Good Choice Of Increments

There are a mix of increments, which is a little confusing at first, but they are 2.5 and 5 lbs increments: 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 lbs

This may not give you full flexibility of 2.5 lbs increments, but for a home gym setup, that’s still a great range of choices [2].

Use the "2 for 2" rule when deciding if it's time to increase the amount of weight you're lifting: When you can do two more reps with a given weight than you started out with for two consecutive workouts, increase the weight.
- Bill Geiger, Senior Content Editor bodybuilding.com

6 - Quality Materials For Durability

The PowerBlocks Elite adjustable dumbbells have a welded steel design that seems to be robust and durable. Even when you shake them a bit, you’re not going to get that loose or clanky feel that used to be so common in other products

According to the company, the pins are made of quality polypropylene, which has been rated up to 500 lbs weight.

7 - Suitable For Majority Of Exercises

One of the really important things about adjustable dumbbells is that they have to feel like normal ones. You don’t want to adjust your exercise routine and risk injury, just because your weights are bulky and possibly get in the way [3].

Our testing so far has only found 1 or 2 exercises where the shape of the PowerBlock Elite may limit the use a bit.

What We Didn't Like

powerblock banner

While our entire team believes these are one of the best adjustable dumbbells, we did find some minor issues. But to make this an honest review of gym equipment, we decided that they should be highlighted.

1 - The Pins Are Plastic

Even on the pro version of the PowerBlocks, it comes with the pins that are made of a plastic material. According to the company, this plastic has been tested up to 500 lbs of weight.

That certainly does make it durable, but we still think that combined with the next issue, there could be a possibility for it to break.

2 - The Forks Of The Pins Could End Up Misaligned

To change the weight setting on the adjustable dumbbell, you pull out a fork-like pin. If you do this too quickly, there’s a good chance that the forks are in the wrong slots.

This could result in them being separated and stretched, which could cause them to break off.

It hasn’t happened to any of us, but we think this could be better fixed with metal pins.

3 - Dumbbell Design Feels Different

Because the handle is surrounded by a system of bars that hold the plates together, the PowerBlocks do have a different feel to them.

There does seem to be plenty of space for your wrists and lower arms, but I could see this getting in the way for some lower arm exercises.

PowerBlock Elite vs Other Models

powerblock thumb

The Powerblock dumbbell comes in 3 different models that claim to have been created for specific needs of certain fitness levels of athletes.

Each of the models comes as a pair of adjustable dumbbells, but they mainly differ in the weight ranges.

  • The PowerBlock Sport 50 is the entry-level design, and it’s great for people who might need less flexibility when buying for their home gym.
  • The PowerBlock Elite is the most popular pair as there is a wide range of weights for more flexible exercise sets.
  • The PowerBlock Pro Series adds more flexibility for increments and comes with higher maximum weight options. The pro series claims to be best suitable for professional athletes who are aiming for some toned muscle growth.

 

One thing you have to keep in mind when comparing the sets is that the expansion system for each model is unique. This means that you won’t be able to use an Elite series expansion set on the pro series, for example.

If you’re uncertain which model to choose, then you could stay on the safe side with the Elite adjustable dumbbell pair.

Most of us here at Total Shape think they are going to give you more room for improvement in the future.

How Do You Use PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells?

using powerblock

You use PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells the same way as standard dumbbells. The only difference really is that you’re not picking a fixed weight for each set, but rather make a quick setting change on the adjustable dumbbell.

The PowerBlocks system offers possibly the best range of weights available, meaning that you could plan for lifting up to 90 lbs with each hand.

Additional Accessories

I know that some of you might get in trouble if you get a delivery of more gym equipment, but there are a couple of things that you may want to consider.

And if you have enough space at home, then here’s what you should consider

1 - Stand

What we like about the PowerBlock stands is that they are set at a good height. This means you don’t need to bend down as much to pick them up, which could result in back injuries [4].

There are a few different ones to choose from, and personally, I think the column stand offers the best design.

2 - Expansion Sets

Each of the series has its own Powerblock expansion stage. This is going to give you more flexibility with your initial purchase, not requiring the most expensive pair.

You could order the extra weights when your strength has improved enough.

3 - PowerBlock Bench

For more flexibility in your training routines, you're going to need a Powerblock Sport bench. Fortunately, there are some foldable products available that wouldn’t be too bulky in your home.

Both available products are sturdy and well-padded, and based on many comments, they are of better quality than most standard benches.

FAQ

powerblock faq banner

Are PowerBlock dumbbells any good?

Yes, PowerBlock dumbbells are good for all types of training from amateur to pro. Even the most basic pair offers a wide range of weight settings, which could take your strength and muscle building routine to the next level.

Another popular adjustable dumbbell is BowFlex. You can read our full Bowflex Dumbbellls review here.

Can you do squats with PowerBlocks?

Yes, you can do squats with PowerBlocks. You could either grip each handle and hold them next to your body. Or you could hold one handle with your hands overlapping to have a more balanced center of gravity.

Are PowerBlock dumbbells suitable for muscle building?

Yes, PowerBlock dumbbells are suitable for muscle building. The pro series PowerBlocks are aimed at athletes in the bodybuilding category. But even the Sport and Elite series should give you enough variety to bulk up like you would with fixed weights.

Should You Buy Powerblock Elite Dumbbells?

powerblock thumb

Our entire team here has been happily working with clients using these adjustable dumbbells, and we would recommend a PowerBlocks adjustable dumbbell pair for anyone who wants to do some extra workouts at a home gym.

The mechanism for switching out the plates is not just simple to use, but also fast.

As a result, you won’t have to worry too much about cooling down. I’m not surprised many consider this brand as the best adjustable dumbbells on the market

I have it in my home gym so I can vouch for it, as supported by this review.

Once you’ve started using them, make sure you leave us a comment about how they worked out for you.

Other Resources You Can Read:

About the author