Powerblock vs Bowflex - Which is Better?
Free weights add variety to your workouts. That’s why gyms have stacks of dumbbells, barbells and weight plates.
Adding dumbbells into your home gym will open up more options for your workout routine and get you looking shredded quicker.
You can use free weights to work all the muscles in your body, which is why people usually invest in a good set.
What Are Adjustable Dumbbells?
While dumbbells have become essential in a home gym, you may worry about the size of storage that you might need.
Alternatively, people usually buy adjustable dumbbells to save on cost and space.
Adjustable dumbbells come in the traditional plate-loaded. On the other hand, the more modern ones come with selection options pre-set into the unit.
While the traditional plate-loaded are great, they can become expensive quickly if you have to keep buying weight plates.
Benefits of Using Adjustable Dumbbells
The main benefit of using adjustable dumbbells is increments and versatility. You can increase as little or as much weight for your weight exercises.
For example, a small increase but more repetitions per set works your endurance; while a larger increase in smaller amounts targets muscle strength. (1)
Another benefit of using adjustable sets of dumbbells is to save space. This is because weight plates are easier to store and you can use it in a barbell if it fits the diameter.
Most people would have a pair of dumbbells and a long barbell when buying free weights.
Powerblock vs Bowflex
What Is The Powerblock?
The Powerblock was born out of the need to have dumbbells that do not take up space at home or at a gym.
After years of researching, the founder and creator Carl Towley made the first PowerBlock in 1993.
Now, the brand has three different series of adjustable dumbbells, each series comes in pairs and some models are expandable.
The brand’s main aim is to provide home gym owners dumbbells that save on space but maximizes weights you can own. (2)
What’s the Bowflex?
The Bowflex targets the home gym market — boasting a range of quality products for thirty years now. The company has sold a selection for adjustable dumbbells under its SelectTech range.
Their adjustable dumbbells can allow you to have a fully functional gym at a fraction of space and costs.
The Bowflex dumbbells offer an all-in-one set, where you can have a workable set of weights in one unit, using unique locking mechanisms.
The company boasts that you can replace an entire rack of weights easily with their system. Bowflex has three dumbbell options: ranging from beginner to the serious bodybuilder. (3)
In-Depth Dumbbell Comparison: Powerblock vs Bowflex
Design and Style
Quality and Durability
Other Special Features
Powerblock vs Bowflex - What Do People Say?
Amazon Reviews: Bowflex
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells have an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in their user reviews. (12). There are complaints that the locking mechanism breaks. But generally, people are happy with the quality and ease of use of the dumbbells.
“I am highly satisfied with this product. I recommend this to anyone who is a beginner to the intermediate lifter.” (13)
“Very good quality and easy to use. My wife loves them as well and uses them daily. I highly suggest this!!!” (14)
Amazon Reviews: The Powerblock
People commented on the rattling on Amazon reviews, but most are happy that the set saves a lot of room in their home gym. (15)
The Powerblock Elites sometimes have noticeable weight discrepancies, other complaints include only one dumbbell arrive.
Overall the users are happy with the quality and the durability of the Powerblock.
“… I think it is well worth the money and it’s an important part of my exercise routine. The company’s handling of my customer service issue has made me a fan for life.” (16)
“Yes, they are expensive but worth it as an apartment dweller… “(17)
Youtube Reviews: Bowflex
Bowflex 552 Dumbbells generally have good reviews. People seem to like the quick selector dials for a superset. Most people find the size a little too cumbersome, particularly during certain exercises like presses.
The uneven distribution can be an issue, but most people get used to it and work out without any problems. Most people find that they have to be careful not to drop the Bowflex because of its plastic casing.
The reviewers like the storage casings to keep the dumbbells, and how quickly they can change the weights. Some complained that they cannot rest the Bowflex on their knee between sets to rest. (18)
Aside from the size and handling, most are happy with it.
“Price ratio concern, there’s a definite advantage to the adjustable dumbbell set.” (19)
“You don’t really want to drop them, you have to take care of it.” (20)
Youtube Reviews: Powerblock Elite
Most people who reviewed the Powerblock Elite 90 say that the handle and the padded posts are also comfortable for different ways of holding.
The pins may be a bit fiddly and you may have to focus slotting the pins in properly. A lot of reviewers say that it takes getting used to (22).
They also like that you can do smaller increments, and overall the Powerblock has more weight ranges.
The square shape allows users to do push-ups and other bodyweight exercises. Some complain about the rattle, but no one has said that the weights fell off.
“You can choose the grip like kettlebell swings or normal grips… really cool feature” (23)
“When I feel the post hit my wrist I know that I have to focus up and get everything back in line” (24)
Powerblock vs Bowflex Round-Up - Which Is Better?
Both adjustable dumbbells are sturdy, despite having plastic parts. Although these can take a hit on the floor, take care not to drop them during your workouts.
Both dumbbells are padded for comfort, and most users comment that they will slightly adjust their arms during workouts to accommodate for the size.
Overall, both brands have much to offer.
Buy the Powerblock if…
The main advantage of the Powerblock is the expandable units. You can buy the blocks and expand in weight when you become stronger.
If you have a smaller physique, the Powerblock is more compact and will be more comfortable with certain exercises like chest presses, overhead shoulder presses, where the dumbbells have to meet in the middle.
The Powerblock has another advantage in its shape. The square shape sits sturdy on the floor, and the metal plates can also withstand a lot of weight. You can comfortably use this to perform push-ups or loaded hip- swings, which will add to the variety of exercises you can perform using it.
Buy the Bowflex if…
For high-intensity workouts, supersets, or when you want to workout with little or no rests, the Bowflex emerges a clear winner.
You can set the dumbbell back onto the case, turn the dial to adjust your target weight, and continue lifting.
The maximum weight for the Bowflex is 90 pounds with the 1090 model, which is ideal if you are not looking to have massive gains.
Even though people comment on the weight distribution, it is an advantage if you are looking to tone up your arms.
You can put more weight on one side in the Bowflex, creating a staggered resistance. The difference in weight placement makes your arms work harder for stability, especially when you are doing an exercise like overhead tricep extensions or rows.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.