First off, congratulations! Why?
Because you’re considering an investment into an adjustable set of dumbbells.. this is something I consider to be one of the best investments I’ve personally made in terms of my home gym equipment..
..and secondly, You’ve somehow managed to find the top 2 products on the market.
But which of the two titans should you choose?
..I’ve put a significant amount of time into researching this and below is what I’ve found.
Powerblock vs Bowflex
The Powerblock brand 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 created the first PowerBlock product in 1993.
Now, the brand has three different series of dumbbells with changeable weights, 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 range of weights you can own. (2)
Bowflex targets the home gym market — boasting a range of quality products for thirty years now. The company has sold a selection of dumbbells under its SelectTech range. Their adjustable dumbbell 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 adjustable dumbbells include three options: ranging from beginner to the serious bodybuilder. (3)
In-Depth Dumbbell Comparison: Bowflex vs Powerblock
Design and Style
Quality and Durability
- Very high quality.
- 2-year warranty.
- Look good even after years of use.
- Weights are held securely using metal tabs that connect to the dial. They will not fall off.
The Adjustment System
- Rubber ergonomic grip between the weights.
- Rubber padded in the centre of the block, surrounded by plastic.
- Model 552: 5 – 52.5 lbs | 2.3 – 24 kg.
2.5 increments up for first 25 lbs then it is 5 lb. increment to 52.5 lbs.
- Model 1090: 10 – 90 lbs | 4.5 – 41 kg.
10-90 lbs per dumbbell with a 5 lb increase.
- Model 560: 5 – 60 lbs | 2.3 – 27 kg.
2.5 lbs increments up to 25 lbs then it is 5 lbs increment to 60 lbs.
- The numbers are on the dial
- The weights are at the bottom of the dumbbell as the handle is higher.
- Distribution is more or less even.
- The square weights allow for even distribution. If you remove one of the weight bars the weight will be slightly uneven.
The Verdict and My Personal Experience
I have used both products and still have them at home. However I do tend to use Bowflex dumbbells more, I haven’t touched my pair of Powerblock dumbbells for over a year. The main reason why i like Bowflex better is the ease of changing weights and the overall feel of the Bowflex dumbbells.
Bowflex vs Powerblock - What Do People Say?
Amazon Reviews: Bowflex
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells have a high rating on Amazon. (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 dumbbells 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 and claim Bowflex to be the best adjustable dumbbells on the market.
“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 selector pin may be a bit fiddly and you may have to focus slotting the selector pin 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 a larger weight range.
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)
PS! People also like the Powerblock Sport product, check out this article comparing Powerblock Sport vs Elite.
Powerblock vs Bowflex Round-Up - Which Is Better?
In order to sum up our Powerblock vs Bowflex comparison, I’d say that both products are really good. It is very hard to give a straight recommendation.
The adjustment system is very quick on the Bowflex dumbbells, but only ever so slightly slower on the Powerblock dumbbells.
Both 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 Powerblock’s dumbbells are the expandable units. You can buy the blocks and expand in weight when you become stronger.
If you have a smaller physique, Powerblock’s dumbbells are more compact and will be more comfortable with certain exercises like chest presses, overhead shoulder presses, where the dumbbell set has to meet in the middle.
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.
Go for 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 put the dumbbell set back onto the case, turn the dial to adjust your target weight, and continue lifting.
The higher end of the weight range for the Bowflex dumbbells is 90 pounds with the Bowflex Selecttech 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 of 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.
What Are Dumbbells With Changeable Weights?
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 these kinds of dumbbells to save on cost and space. All you need is to buy a pair of dumbbells and a decent weight bench and you could save hundreds in annual gym membership costs.
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 These Kinds of Dumbbells
The main benefits of using an adjustable dumbbell are 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.
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.
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