PowerBlock dumbbells are not your typical adjustable dumbbells. They are sure to turn your head when you see them and you might not even recognise them as adjustable dumbbells when seeing them for the first time. There are also a lot of different models out there and it can be baffling to choose and pick one for your workouts. Today we are going to make the decision that much easier for you.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have some kind of understanding whether PowerBlocks are for you or not and which model you want to go with.
How They Work
The Powerblock dumbbells work a little different than other adjustable dumbbells you might be used to. You might remember choosing weights on a stack with a pin on commercial gym machines. The weight choosing in PowerBlock dumbbells is very similar.
The dumbbells have weights stacked on top of another like machines in a gym. Simply take the selector pin out and plug it to the spot you want to.
So how do you know which section to plug it to?
The dumbbells have colour coded bars on the sides. Now, on top of the dumbbells you can find a weight guide marked with several colours. Each of these colour options display three weights. The lightest weight is without any adder weights (do not worry, we will cover this soon enough), the middle option with one adder weight and the heaviest option with two adder weights.
First decide which weight you want to work out with. Then look which colour option displays your chosen weight and plug the selector pin below the bar marked with that colour.
Fine Tuning Your Weights – The Adder Weights
The adder weights allow you to go with smaller, 2.5 lb increments. Basically these adder weights are small cylinders which weigh 2.5 lb each and are placed inside the dumbbell handles.
Some models do not have any adder weights and some have up to two of them.
They Come in Various Models – Grouped Into 3 Series
While there are many different models, they are all grouped under three different series: The Classic Series Sets, The Sports Series Sets and The Urethane Series Sets.
The model names usually are an indication of two different things: the series it belongs to and the weight of the dumbbell. This weight, however, is not always indicative of the maximum weight which can be misleading. Some of the models are expandable and some are not.
Be sure to always remember to check how much weight is included in the set and how heavy they are expandable before buying.
The Classic Series and Sport series are lighter with their heaviest versions, Elite 130 and Sport 90 going up to 130 lb, including their expansions. The Urethane Series are by far the heaviest with up to 175 lb expandable weights.
The PowerBlock dumbbells all have very good warranties but do note the warranty varies based on which Series you decide to go with. The Classic Series has a good 10-year warranty. The Sport Series goes even higher with a 15-year warranty. The Urethane Series takes it to the extreme with lifetime home use warranty.
Besides the maximum weight range and warranty length there are not many significant differences between different series. If you wish to learn more about their differences, you can view them here.
Powerblock offers a billion of different sets and it can be hard to choose the right one for you. If you are too overwhelmed which one to choose, Powerblock has listed their dumbbell models and their specs in table format on their website. You can view them here. I will briefly list the versions and their respective weights below though.
- U33 Stage 1 Set, 3-21 lb
- U33 Set, 3-33 lb
- U70 Stage 1 Set, 5-40 lb
- U70 Set, 5-60 lb
- U70 Set, 5-70 lb
- U90 Stage 1 Set, 5-50 lb
- U90 Set, 5-70 lb
- U90 Set, 5-90 lb
- U90 Set, 5-125 lb
- expandable up to 175 lb
Want to go heavier? Pick the Stage 3 Add On Kit here. This Add On Kit expands on the above Stage 1 & 2 Set so make sure to buy it first.Sport Series Sets
Sport Series Sets
- Sport 24 Set, 3-24 lb
- Sport 50 Set, 5-50 lb
- Sport 90 Stage 1 Set, 5-50 lb
- Sport 90 Set, 5-70 lb
- Sport 90 Set, 5-90 lb
- Sport 90 Set, 5-130 lb
- expandable up to 130 lb
- Classic 50 Set, 10-50 lb
- Elite 50 Stage 1 Set, 5-50 lb
- Elite 70 Set, 5-70 lb
- Elite 90 Set, 5-90 lb
Why They Will Impress You
The PowerBlock dumbbells go very heavy. So heavy indeed that they are a whole 10 lb heavier than the Ironmaster dumbbells.
But unlike Ironmasters, these dumbbells are very fast to change weights with and beat Ironmasters like a day beats the night. Changing weights takes only a few seconds with the selector pin. If you want to adjust the weights in smaller increments using the adder weights, it will take longer to change the weights but it can still be done in under a minute.
The heavy weights and fast speed of changing weights are not the only advantages of PowerBlocks – they are also very compact. So compact indeed that they are shorter than in given weight sizes than respective fixed dumbbells!
The dumbbells are also very durable which is also indicated by the long warranties (10 year, 15 year and lifetime home use warranties). They are not as durable as the Ironmaster dumbbells but they are quite good in this aspect too.
When not in use, these dumbbells will neatly stay in one place. The lighter weights are based inside the heavier weights and when you choose weights, these lighter weights come up with the handle leaving the heavier weights in place. So when not working out, you will just have two dumbbells neatly in place instead of two dumbbells and a pile of weight plates like with Ironmaster.
If you like Ironmasters but feel the time it takes to change weights is too long for you, then I would definitely recommend going with the PowerBlocks. The speed of changing weights is very fast with PowerBlocks and is good if you want to change weights fast or doing drop sets.
But It’s Not All Dancing On Roses
There are not many complaints when it comes to PowerBlocks but I will do my best to tell you as many of them as possible.
The most obvious, and also often heard, complaint is their looks. The PowerBlocks look nothing like traditional dumbbells. It’s hard to tell you are dealing with adjustable dumbbells when seeing them for the first time. And rightly so, many people report being turned off due to this.
If you are looking for adjustable dumbbells which both look and feel like traditional dumbbells, then you may want to consider Ironmaster dumbbells instead. But if you are fine with it, stick on.
Another complaint with the PowerBlocks comes from the closed design of them. While it is not necessarily an issue you have to place your hand inside the dumbbell instead of having an open handle, this space is a bit confined. Some users have reported they find their hands touching or rubbing the dumbbell while lifting. If you have bigger hands, this might be an issue for you.
You might also hear clanking and rattling while working out with these badasses. This should not be an issue though since the sound is not loud – but it is still audible so I think it is worth mentioning.
The stand is not included so be sure to order it separately. Purchasing the stand is important since it not only avoids lower back strain since you won’t have to pick up weights from the floor but also makes changing weights easier.
Users of these dumbbells have reported changing weights on a soft surface is harder so be sure to place the dumbbells on a stand or other hard surface before changing weights with the selector pin.
If the odd feel and look of PowerBlocks have not turned you off yet, they are a great addition to your home gym. They have the option to go very heavy, are durable, have long warranty, are compact and are also very fast to change weights with.