This PowerBlock dumbbells review will help you decide if the PowerBlock dumbbells are the right adjustable dumbbells for you.
I’ll explain the pros and cons of this adjustable dumbbell system so that you can judge how well they meet your needs.
Although the PowerBlocks come in many different models, they all share core commonalities as an adjustable dumbbell system. And so I will generally lump them together and talk about them as a whole. Though, when applicable, I will point out important differences between specific models.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know what’s the best PowerBlock dumbbell for you, then check out my top 3 recommendations below:
Rated 5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells
Rated 4.5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells
Rated 4.5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells
If you would like to learn in-depth about the differences between the various PowerBlock series and models, I urge you to read my full guide on PowerBlock Dumbbells.
Without further ado, let’s get into the pros and cons…
PowerBlock Dumbbells Pros & Cons
Before I begin, I’ll post a short video clip that shows the very basics of the PowerBlock system, for those not yet acquainted with the concept:
At several points within the list of pros and cons below, I’ll compare the PowerBlock dumbbells to the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbells…
…The Ironmaster dumbbells, which I also own, are the most formidable competitor of the PowerBlocks. As such, it’s necessary to point out some major differences between the two systems.
When I originally wrote this PowerBlock review article years ago, I hadn’t bought any PowerBlock dumbbells. However, I have since bought my first pair of PowerBlock dumbbells: the Pro EXP Stage 3 Set. I’ve also used other models that my friends own.
So, I now have first hand experience with both of these leading adjustable dumbbell systems. I’ve updated certain parts of this page to include new insights where relevant regarding their comparison.
Without further ado, I’ll get to the good part of my PowerBlock dumbbells review! The pros and cons are as follows:
I’ll start this review by getting into the good stuff. The following sections will cover all the good things about the PowerBlock dumbbells.
If fast weight adjustment is a top priority for you, then the PowerBlock dumbbells are your best option. It takes no more than 2 to 5 seconds to change the weights of the dumbbells.
Rapid adjustment is an essential feature for you if you plan on doing a lot of supersetting or some type of cross training (or if you’re just really impatient). This, in my opinion, is the greatest benefit these dumbbells have over the Ironmaster set.
The PowerBlocks utilize a self-containing storage mechanism, where the dumbbell handle and weights conveniently and compactly “nest” within each other. This reduces the space required to store the dumbbells to that of their own small footprint.
There’s no need for extra space to store individual weight plates. That said, it’s still desirable to have a dumbbell stand to safely and efficiently rack the dumbbells between sets, and to store them when not in use.
Heaviest Models for Home Use Are Expandable to 90 Pounds!
There are several PowerBlock dumbbell models to choose from. Different models have different max weight capacities.
There are a few light to moderate capacity sets, which I do not recommend for any serious lifter. These lighter PowerBlock sets have maximum weight capacities ranging from 24 to 50 lbs:
- Sport 24: Adjusts from 3-24 lbs per hand; not expandable beyond that.
- Pro 32: Adjusts from 4-32 lbs per hand; not expandable beyond that.
- Sport 50, Pro 50, PowerBlock 50: All three of these sets adjust from 5-50 lbs per hand and are not expandable beyond that.
The heavy PowerBlock dumbbell models are all expandable to a max weight of 90 lbs per hand. There are four of these heavy models, listed below:
- Pro EXP: Expandable to 90 lbs with Stage 3 Set.
- Elite: Expandable to 90 lbs with Elite 90.
- Sport EXP: Expandable to 90 lbs with Stage 3 Set.
- PowerBlock EXP: Expandable to 90 lbs with Stage 3 Set.
You’ll want one of these sets with a max weight of 90 lbs even if you can’t lift such heavy weight yet. Eventually, you will.
Note that you don’t necessarily have to buy the heaviest version of the model (Stage 3) right away. You can always buy the Stage 1 version (5-50 lbs) or the Stage 2 version (5-70 lbs), then upgrade later by buying an expansion kit. This is a prudent strategy if you have a tight budget for your initial purchase. However, if you buy the Stage 3 Set from the get-go, you will save a little bit of money because it’s all in one purchase.
NOTE: There used to be the “Urethane Series” of PowerBlock dumbbells, which were discontinued in 2018 and replaced by the Pro Series. This Urethane Series included the U-90 dumbbells, which went all the way up to 125 lbs with the U-90 Stage 4 Set.
I personally think the Pro EXP 90 Stage 3 is the best choice for serious lifters. It’s the one that I bought for myself, and I’m very happy with it. Here’s why I consider it to be the best choice:
- It goes all the way up to 90 lbs per dumbbell.
- It is the only heavy model that’s compatible with three awesome PowerBlock attachments: the EZ curl bar attachment, the Straight Bar attachment and the Kettlebell handle attachment — All are highly useful and affordable attachments that multiply the number of exercises you can do with the dumbbells. I’ll discuss these in more detail, later.
- The Pro EXP weight blocks are coated in urethane. This makes them more durable, resistant to damage, quieter and safer to use. The plates on all other models are steel with no protective coating (other than paint).
The Pro EXP does cost more than the other heavier models by about 20%. For what you get, that’s a very fair price difference. Well worth it in my opinion.
Still, I understand that different people simply have different budgets. Some aren’t willing or able to pay a premium. If that’s the case, then I’d recommend looking at the Sport EXP Stage 3, Elite 90 or PowerBlock EXP Stage 3.
Also, as I touched upon earlier — Remember that it can be helpful from a budget standpoint to buy just the Stage 1 set of whichever model you choose (e.g. Pro EXP Stage 1, or PowerBlock EXP Stage 1, or Sport EXP Stage 1, or Elite 50). Then you can purchase the expansion kits once you have more cash to spare.
NOTE: PowerBlock does make a dumbbell set that goes even higher. It’s the Pro 175 Commercial Set and it can go all the way up to 175 lbs. However, it’s part of their commercial equipment line. And it is MUCH more expensive than even the most expensive home-use dumbbell sets. We’re talking about a cost of $2129 *before* shipping. It’s likely way out of the price range for most people–As such, I chose not to highlight it or make it my top choice (though I’d love to own it!).
Very Compact Size
All PowerBlock dumbbell models are the most compact dumbbells on the market, at least in terms of their length. This includes both adjustable and traditional fixed dumbbells.
The compact size is helpful, in particular for using the optimal path of movement for bicep curls (i.e. no maneuvering the dumbbells around your hips). And in general, the smaller size makes the weights easier to control during heavy exercises.
These things last people through years and years of consistent use without breaking or needing repair.
This is why you’ll see used PowerBlocks being sold on Craigslist that are several years old but still in very good condition (with the expected superficial scratches or bumps from use, of course). Some folks have dropped them multiple times without incident and wouldn’t worry if it were to happen again.
That said, dropping the dumbbells is definitely not advised, since they contain parts that could break, crack or warp, more easily than the Ironmasters or traditional dumbbells.
5 Year Limited Warranties
PowerBlock, Inc. offers a 5 year limited warranty for ALL of their home-use dumbbells. Previously, different models had different warranty lengths (e.g. The Classic/Elite Series sets used to have a 10 year warranties; the Sport Series sets used to have 15 year warranties; the now-discontinued Urethane Series sets had lifetime warranties)…
…However, around late 2018 when the Pro Series was released with its 5 year warranty, I believe they switched all other Series/models to have the same warranty duration. After all, it wouldn’t make sense for the Pro Series, which is the best overall and most expensive model, to have the shortest warranty.
Of course, if you bought one of the other models before the warranty length change, they would honor the warranty length at the time of purchase.
I won’t get into detail on the terms and conditions of each warranty type. I’ll give the basics — It covers materials and workmanship defects. It doesn’t cover obvious things like misuse or abuse, which includes (among other things) damage from dropping the dumbbells from 12 inches or higher (or 6 inches or higher for some models).
Accompanying Accessories & Complementary Equipment
There are several accessories available for the PowerBlock dumbbells. I’ll cover all the major ones in the following sections.
PowerBlock Pro Series EZ Curl Bar & Straight Bar
My favorite PowerBlock accessories are the Pro Series EZ Curl Bar and the Pro Series Straight Bar. The EZ Curl Bar is best for biceps curl variations and triceps extension variations. The straight bar works well for bench and shoulder presses, squats, lunges, deadlifts and other movements.
These bars are only compatible with certain models, including:
The compatibility of these two accessories with the Pro EXP was the main reason I went with the Pro EXP over the other heavy PowerBlock models. Now that I’ve been able to train with them for a while, I can say that I made the right decision. I use the EZ curl bar more than the straight bar, though, because I have multiple Olympic straight bars in my home gym, but I don’t yet have an Olympic curl bar.
You can see my EZ curl and straight bars below, with the full Pro EXP Stage 3 weight stack on each bar:
The handles on each of these bars have tubes for adder weights so you can achieve smaller increments.
The designs of the Pro Series EZ Curl Bar & Straight Bar attachments have been updated slightly since I bought mine. The only real difference is that the handles are black instead of white, as shown below:
PowerBlock Pro Series Kettlebell Handle
Another cool accessory is the Pro Series Kettlebell Handle. It allows you to transform your PowerBlock dumbbell into a kettlebell just by swapping out the handle.
I should note that I have a previous version of this, which was called the “KettleBlock Handle.” The new version, as mentioned already, is called the “Pro Series Kettlebell Handle.”
There are a few key differences between the older KettleBlock Handle and the new Pro Series Kettlebell Handle:
- The new version has no hollow tubes for adder weights. The old version has 2 hollow tubes for adder weight.
- The new version has a starting weight of 10 lbs. The old version has a starting weight of 15 lbs.
- The new version is black. The old version is white.
- Different stickers on the top of the handles.
Below, I’ll include a product shot of the new one, as well as a shot I took of my older version:
It’s important to note that the Pro Series Kettlebell Handle only works with these PowerBlock dumbbells:
- Pro EXP
- Pro 50
- Commercial Pro 90
- Commercial Pro 50
- The now-discontinued U50, U70 & U90
Compatibility with the kettlebell handle attachment is another reason why the Pro EXP is my top pick for best PowerBlock dumbbell set.
NOTE: The weight guide sticker on the Pro Series Kettlebell Handle is only accurate if you’re using it with the Pro 50. If you use it with the Pro EXP, you’ll have to do some quick mental math to make sure you’re selecting the desired amount of weight.
You can use Pro Series Kettlebell Handle comfortably on most exercises up to 50 lbs, but can go all the way up to a 90 lb max capacity (with the Pro EXP Stage 3). However, the heavier it gets, the wider it becomes, making it awkward to handle at very heavy weights for kettlebell swings and certain other kettlebell exercises.
PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell
As an aside, PowerBlock, Inc. does make another dedicated adjustable kettlebell system: the PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell. It is their newest kettlebell product, which sports a sleeker design compared to the Pro Series Kettlebell Handle attachment. It has 4 weight adjustment increments including 18, 22, 26 and 35 lbs.
Until the Fall of 2019, PowerBlock also made the “KettleBlock 20” (increments of 5, 8, 12, 16 and 20 lbs) and the “KettleBlock 40” (increments of 8, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 lbs). However, they have since been discontinued. New kettlebell products may be coming in near future, but I don’t know any specifics.
PowerBlock Dumbbell Stands
Other PowerBlock accessories include the array of dumbbell stands for the various PowerBlock dumbbell models.
There are several types of PowerBlock dumbbell stands that are designed for different dumbbell set sizes. The ones shown in this image are for some of the larger dumbbell sets.Also, in case you’re wondering–the four holes on top of each are for storing the cylindrical adder weights that come with some of the dumbbell sets.
PowerBlock Weight Benches
There are 3 weight benches available from PowerBlock:
- Sport Bench: Full sized flat/incline bench with optional dip station and chin-up bar
- Travel Bench: Portable travel bench that’s ideal for on-the-go personal trainers
- PowerBench: A more robust adjustable bench for stronger lifters, that’s still compact and light
This wouldn’t be a fair PowerBlock dumbbells review without talking about the negatives. In the following sections, I’ll discuss where the PowerBlock dumbbells fall short.
Both the PowerBlock dumbbells and the Ironmaster dumbbells are NOT cheap products. They both cost several hundred dollars.
When comparing the costs between the two brands, the PowerBlocks end up costing a slight to moderate amount more than the Iromasters. Sort of…
…It’s hard to compare compare their prices directly, though, since the most popular configuration of the Ironmaster is usually the combo package of the 75 lb pair plus the dumbbell stand. If you want more than 75 lbs, you can get the 120 lb add-on, but that will make the price (and max weight) higher than that of the PowerBlocks.
Whereas, stands for the PowerBlocks are never included with the dumbbells; not to mention, having a stand for the PowerBlocks is much less less necessary than for the Ironmasters. Plus, most people reading this page will probably opt for the 90 lbs PowerBlocks.
That all being said — let’s simplify things and just compare the prices of the 75 lb Ironmasters + dumbbell stand, and the 90 lb PowerBlock sets.
Currently the Ironmasters are $749 with free US shipping.
Depending on the PowerBlock model you get, a set of PowerBlock dumbbells will be somewhere between $907 + S&H (current price for the Pro EXP Stage 3) on the high end and $767 + S&H (current price for the PowerBlock Sport EXP Stage 3) on the low end. Shipping varies on the destination, but let’s call it $100 S&H for shipping a 90 lb set. So, the PowerBlocks cost between 16% to 34% more than Ironmasters, in this specific comparison.
Again, this is not a direct comparison for the reasons explained above, but it gives you a general idea of the price differences. And it shows that both options will cost you several hundred dollars — not cheap for sure, but definitely an investment that will pay off if you’re serious about training.
Incompatibility Between Different Models
PowerBlock, Inc. makes several product series and models. The upside of this is that you have a much bigger variety of options from which to choose, compared to the Ironmasters.
However, the downside is that the components of the different dumbbell sets are (usually) incompatible with each other…
…Thus, it’s important that you understand and are comfortable with the capabilities and limitations of a given model, before you buy it. You won’t be able to modify the weight increments or increase the maximum weight by using extension kits or other parts from different models.
Dumbbell Stand Not Included
Unlike the Ironmaster adjustable dumbbell system, the PowerBlocks don’t come standard with a dumbbell stand. Of course, this is good in that you pay less than you otherwise would.
Having a stand for the PowerBlocks is less necessary than for the Ironmasters, since you need the Ironmaster stand to store all the weight plates. However, having a stand for your PowerBlocks is still very desirable. You’ll definitely want one; if not right away, then eventually.
Luckily, you can snag the Large PowerBlock Compact Weight Stand for a relatively low price. The added convenience is worth the modest price tag.
They Look… Different
The first thing you probably noticed about the PowerBlock dumbbells was their non-traditional design:
- They’re constructed with pillars in at least two of corner, which surround the handle and give the dumbbell a cubic shape.
- They use weight “brackets” as opposed to traditional plates.
- The dumbbells have all the colors of the rainbow showing brightly on the sides of the weight block to indicate the weight.
- UPDATE: This is only true of the older models that are still in production (e.g. the Elite 50/70/90 and the Sport 24). Newer models are less flashy in this sense. For example, the Pro EXP only uses small rings of different colors to indicate the weight of the blocks; the Sports EXP and the PowerBlock EXP use just black and red respectively for the weight indicator colors.
Obviously, all of these things serve specific and necessary purposes. All else being equal, I do prefer the more natural look of the Ironmasters. But this is just one factor consider, and a relatively unimportant one. It is not at all a make-or-break issue for me.
That said, there are some folks who say the PowerBlock’s design is too “weird” for their tastes.
Non-Traditional Dumbbell Feel
Some people claim that the peculiar dumbbell design gives them a somewhat unnatural “feel” compared to traditional dumbbells.
Part of the unnatural feel comes from the dumbbells not being perfectly balanced, which is to be expected from any selectorized adjustable dumbbell system. And as far as the selectorized dumbbells go, the PowerBlocks are very well balanced especially compared to the likes of the Bowflex-style adjustable dumbbells.
There is also a very slight shift you’ll feel when rotating the dumbbells during a movement (e.g. on biceps curls; the handle goes from facing up at the bottom of the motion, to facing the floor at the bottom of motion). There is the result of there being a tiny amount of play between the blocks and the handle. Again, this is to be expected in any selectorized system with many components. While noticeable, it doesn’t noticeably affect technique or performance.
Also, some people experience ease-of-use issues on the PowerBlock models with the older “closed handle” design. At this point, this only applies to the the Elite 50/70/90 set. The closed handle design refers to the 2 padded wrist supports at the top of the handle. Some people actually like this design because it lets them comfortably prop the handle on their lower forearm to keep their wrists neutral with minimal effort. It can give you a little leverage on exercises like curls, making it easier to focus on the target muscles.
However, those with bigger forearms/wrists and hands may find that the limited space interferes with their hand position and wrist movement.
In any case, all other PowerBlock dumbbell models currently in production besides the Elite Series have been upgraded to have an “open handle” design.
Not Designed for Very Rough Use
PowerBlock dumbbells are far from what one might consider fragile or dainty.
As I explained in an earlier point, one of the pros of this dumbbell system is its durability and solid build quality. However, as I also mentioned in that point, you should treat the dumbbells more carefully than you’d treat the Ironmaster dumbbells or traditional fixed dumbbells.
Put differently, they aren’t meant to be dropped or thrown around all willy-nilly. Just because the dumbbells will likely survive a drop, that doesn’t mean it always will. There is, after all, a reason that their warranties don’t cover drops from above 6 or 12 inches (depending on the model).
Hopefully my PowerBlock dumbbells review has helped you to decide if this is the right adjustable dumbbell system for you. Whether you’ve decided to buy or if you still have questions, one of following two sections will help you out:
“I’m Sold! Where Can I Buy Them?”
If my super-awesome PowerBlock dumbbells review convinced you that you want a set of PowerBlock, then go ahead and buy them on PowerBlock.com.
Be sure to choose the right pair, though. If you’re serious about lifting, then your only real choices are:
“I Need to Do More Research Before Making a Decision.”
Do you want to see more PowerBlock dumbbells reviews (from first-hand users), and learn more about the specific differences between the various PowerBlock series and models?…
…If so, then I’ll direct you to my PowerBlock dumbbells comparison page. It contains a detailed comparison chart of all the PowerBlock models (current and discontinued models), an explanation of the logic behind my top choices and several video reviews from PowerBlock owners.
You can also check out my head-to-head PowerBlock dumbbell comparison guides:
57 thoughts on “PowerBlock Dumbbells Review (2023) – Pros & Cons”
very helpful review. thank you for the honest and detailed input. it will help me make a better decision.
Awesome! That was my goal here 😀
Thank you for the great reviews and after our previous chat i bought the powerblock pro EXP with max weights. I cant be more satisfied. I want to ask you about the straight bar. Is it ok to do bench press with it? Is it stable? Is there problem with the balance? Is there any solution you known for a stand for bench pressing with this bar? Is it long enough in order to bench press?
And whats your thoughts about the Ez bar?
Thank you in advice!
I hope of hearing from you soon!
Ciao Alex ho letto con molto interesse la tua bella recensione. Sono interessato a comprare i manubri powerblock da 70 libbre , indeciso tra la serie elite e la pro. Stavo optando per la pro ( più silenzioso e maniglia open ) , però sono molto titubante per il discorso uretano cancro , ho letto che non hanno superato i test al caldo e potrebbero essere cancerogeni proprio per il discorso uretano , è vero ? Perche se ci fosse la minima possibilità a questo punto opterei per la serie elite….. io sono alto 1.70 , mano piccola e avambracci nella norma , non dovrei preoccuparmi della impugnatura chiusa ? Grazie mille
Very useful. Thanks Alex.
You’re very welcome, Majid. I hope you were able decide which (if any) of the PowerBlock dumbbell sets is right for you.
Thanks Alex! You the best! Only question now is do they ship to Singapore? :/
You’re very welcome, Rohit!
PowerBlock only ships within the US. HOWEVER, you have a couple options. The first option I’ll tell you about is a workaround that should allow you to get the DBs shipped…
…That workaround is using a parcel forwarding service. In case you’re not familiar with that, it’s what a lot of international shoppers use to get around shipping restrictions like this. So basically, you’d have it sent to a parcel forwarding service with a US address, and that service would use their logistics, to ship it to you in Singapore.
There’s a site called Parcl that you can use to find one. Here’s the link to all the US-to-Singapore forwarding services. This option should work just fine, as long as you choose a reputable service.
Here’s the second option: You can go to a physical location in Singapore that’s an authorized PowerBlock Dealer. As luck would have it, there’s actually two of these locations! You can find the info at the bottom of the dealers page. But, I’ll also copy and paste the relevant info for you below:
If you go to one of those dealers, obviously you should call ahead of time to make sure they have the model you want in stock. 😀
Hope one of those options works for you!
You have been really helpful man. Really appreciate it. You were so detailed and patient. Don’t come by people like this often these days. Thanks again buddy!
Thanks! Not a problem–I’m always happy to help if I can find the time to do so.
Great Review. Thanks.
Thanks Steve! I’m happy to hear you liked it.
Thanks for this page, it helped clear up some of the confusion with the different product lines.
I just bought the U90’s with the Stage II and III expansions as my local fitness store still had them and they come with a much better lifetime warranty versus the 5 year warranty on the Pro EXP’s that replaced the U90’s last year. The U90’s are also expandable up to 125lbs each, yet the stage IV expansion is cost prohibitive at over $400 due to it containing another pair of, deeper seated, handles.
I also prefer the colors on my set versus the new, mostly black, ones, although having them out of order, as far as the colors of the rainbow go, is oddly annoying. Made me wonder of they did it to make sure as to not be associated with what rainbows are commonly associated with these days! In which case, that would be an absolutely pathetic reason. After spending our whole lives seeing those colors in the order of red- orange- yellow- green- blue etc it looks kind of off and ‘wrong’ with PowerBlock’s color ordering being what it is.
Also note that the U90’s, along with the Pro EXP’s (and also the discontinued younger bros, the U70’s), are the only PowerBlocks compatible with the PB EZ Curl Bar, the PB Straight Bar and the KettleBlock Handle. The KettleBlock Handle and the EZ Bar I just ordered online; can’t wait to try them out!!
Glad I helped clear up the confusion, Mike. Thanks for the detailed comment — That’s awesome you got the U90s locally and are happy with them…always nice to have at least the option to get the IV expansion set in the future, if you happen to find an extra $400 lying around 😀
Great point about the compatibility of the KettleBlock Handle, EZ Curl & Straight Bar with ONLY the Pro EXP series, U90, and U70 sets. It was a major selling point for me in deciding on my Pro EXP, so I make sure to stress that in all of my articles on the PowerBlocks — I don’t want anybody to accidentally buy a different set then realize after the fact that it’s not compatible with these accessories.
Have fun with the KettleBlock handle and EZ curl bar. You’re gonna love ’em!
Thanks for the reply, bro. Yeah I’m loving it all so far. Bought a stand for the U90’s which makes it so much more convenient to get at them/change weight amounts. Also picked up the Straight Bar, which I’m digging.
My Kettleblock Handle hasn’t arrived yet due to a stock issue that’s now been resolved and it’ll be here soon, so I came back here today to see what this page had to say about it and I’m glad I did. I had no idea that the weight amounts on the sticker wouldn’t be correct for the U90’s. I’m assuming that’ll be mentioned in the documentation when mine arrives, but, regardless, THANKS again for this page. I’m gonna start exploring the rest of your site and see what else I can learn from you.
No problem. So glad to hear you’re happy with your new set and the straight bar. So true about having a stand, too.
If I remember correctly, the reason for the discrepancy in the sticker weight guide is that the KettleBlock was originally made for the U70. The first four weight blocks in the stack for the U70 were 5 lb blocks (i.e. black, white, orange, yellow), with the remaining 5th one (and all others) being a 10 lb block…
…This is why the KettleBlock sticker chart shows increments of 5 lbs for the first 4 colors (i.e. with no adder weights: black = 15 lbs, white = 20 lbs, orange = 25 lbs, green = 30 lbs), and then jumps 10 lbs for the 5th color (i.e. yellow = 40 with no adder weights).
So, actually I’ll need to update this article when I get a chance — to state that even the Pro 50 wouldn’t be totally accurate with the weight guide sticker provided, since ALL of its weight blocks are 5 lbs. That is, the Pro 50 would be accurate for the first four colors (black through green). But it would be inaccurate for the fifth (yellow) color (e.g. if you put the KettleBlock handle in the Pro 50 weight stack with no adder weights, and set it to the yellow block, the weight according to the sticker would show 40 lbs; but the actual weight would be 35 lbs).
Really, the sticker provided with the KettleBlock handle is only truly accurate with the U70. Of course, it still works great, the math is just off if you have any other compatible model. I’m almost positive they didn’t include different stickers in my KettleBlock when I got it, and that they didn’t have any notes about it in its documentation. Hopefully they include more stickers in the box at some point to fix this…maybe yours will have them, since the Pro series has been out for a while now.
I’m glad you brought this topic up so I could update my info about the weight sticker in regards to the Pro 50!
I thought all of the Urethane plates were 10 pounds?
The heavier urethane sets (i.e. the Pro EXP sets) have all 10 lb plates (and adder weights). However, the lighter urethane sets (i.e. Pro 50; and the now-discontinued U50/U70) have 5 lb plates.
Hey Mike, I recently purchased the Kettleblock handle, the newer model no longer allows the add-on weights 🙁 . However, they now have a sticker that works for your set, you might want to get ahold of them and get one.
I also purchased the straight bar. Geez, I love powerblocks, but they are HORRIBLE when it comes to things like instructions and stickers. They have me several different stickers, but none actually match my U-90 set. Did yours come with the correct sticker?
So here’s what I’m wondering:
I’m in the market for a set of PowerBlocks and keep going back and forth between the Pro EXP 90’s and Pro commercial 90’s. I would love to not spend the extra $500 on the commercial set although it does have it’s perks (straight knurled handle, comes with stand, easier and clean 5 lb increments), but I’m hesitant to get the EXP’s due to possible unbalanced handles and durability. Here’s what I mean:
Because the EXP’s have the 2.5 lb adder weights I’m worried having them installed especially just one would throw off the balance noticeably. I’ve never picked up PowerBlocks before (no store close to me carries them) so I’m not sure how it feels. It scares me to think the adder weights might drastically throw off the balance (especially with just one installed). Could you please speak to that point? I’m leaning towards the commercial set because you just swap handles for that 5 lb increment and I bet that keeps them pretty balanced.
As far as the durability it pretty much just comes down to the handles for me. I’m worried the contoured rubber handles with get torn up or start to lose their grip or start rotating after a long while (years) whereas I’m sure the straight knurled handles won’t have any of those issues… I usually also prefer a straight bar, but I could get used to a contoured grip.
Could you please give me some input on these points? I’m looking to purchase them during the holidays while they have a sale. Thank you for your time!
Hi Samuel, great questions. The balance is slightly altered by the adder weight configuration, though it’s only something you’d really be able to feel at much lower weights if you’re very sensitive to it.
I find that it’s nearly imperceptible when using anything above 20-25 lbs. It’s certainly subjective in terms of a users feeling. However, it’s never been something that affected my workouts or that I’ve even thought of — truth be told, I had to go into my gym and test the dumbbells several times at different weights, with and without the adder weights, in order to answer this question 🙂
In terms of durability, you have nothing to worry about. First off, the Pro Series has a 5 year warranty (and even if it’s beyond that, PowerBlock is really good with being fair with their customers for any issues).
As for the grips, I’ve only owned mine for ~11 months. I’ve noticed no wear in this time. So, I reached out to PowerBlock to get their input on how the grips hold up over several years. They told me it would be a decade or more before the rubber grips could be worn to the point of replacement and that’s with intense daily usage. For example, the grips on the PowerBlock dumbbells at the EXOS Arizona facility, which PowerBlock outfitted, are 7-8 years old and they’re still holding up; they’ve certainly been worn but have maintained their grip and orientation. Furthermore, the rubber grip itself is over-molded with a steel hex bar core that mates to a hex in the handle (molded end), so it won’t spin.
In terms of knurling vs. rubber, that’s a hard call. I too am a fan of knurled dumbbells, but when I was buying mine, I saw they had the knurled Pro 90 commercial set. While I definitely was attracted to that feature, I wasn’t willing to pay the higher price.
Since you can be confident of the durability of the rubber grips and assuming you’re not bothered by the slight adder weight imbalance that’s only noticeable on some exercises at low weights, it’s really a matter of if you’re willing to pay the ~$500 for the knurled straight grip — and that’s a question only you can answer of how much you value that feature compared to how much you value the savings.
I hope this makes the decision easier!
Awesome. Thank you very much for the thorough response. It’s great that you spend so much time helping others like me get answers that we need. Huge help.
No problem, Samuel. I love talking about fitness equipment, so these types questions are always fun to answer.
Whats the difference between the powerblock exp and the sport exp? They seem identical to me besides the color?
Also would you pick the exp over the elite? does the open bar style have any cons? And is the open design better then the closed cage design of the elite?
You’re right. The only real difference is the colors. The other difference is that the Sport is sold mostly in physical stores (AND online), whereas the PowerBlock EXP (not to be confused with the PRO EXP) is sold only online (e.g. on Amazon or other online distributors).
The open design is better than the closed design. It gives much more room for your hand to fit in and for your wrist/forearm to move around. There’s no cons to it. Assuming you don’t mind paying an extra 10-20% more for the Sport or PowerBlock EXP over the Elite, then yes I’d lean toward one of those EXP sets. The open handle design, plus the auto lock adjustment make for a slightly more comfortable and easier to use experience.
Hope my PowerBlock dumbbells review helped you out. Let me know if you have any more questions!
Thank you for the detailed reviews on all PowerBlock series. I am inclined towards PowerBlock EXP stage 2. I am regular follower of Beach Body workouts (P90x, Lift4, body beast etc..). Will changing 2.5lb on PowerBlocks be hard during the workouts? Note that I already own an individual set of dumbbells up to 30 lbs, which I am outgrowing now. I will use PowerBlocks as higher weights only. All I am looking is for a cheap and durable option for weights above 30 lbs.
You’re welcome, Dhavel. The PowerBlock EXP stage 2 is a great choice. They’re very durable compared to most rapid change adjustable dumbbells on the market. And one of the best priced options that PowerBlock offers.
To answer your question — NO, changing 2.5 lb increments won’t be hard during your workouts. You can do it in seconds. It’s even easier than with the Elite model, since it has the “Auto lock adjustment”, which automatically locks the adder weight slots when you place the block inside the weights.
Powerblock Series (black plates, red bands) vs Powerblock Sport Series (gray plates, black bands)
You mentioned you put the Sport model above the Powerblock (red and black) model because the second is newer and hasn’t been reviewed much. If it is the case then why do they not sell those Powerblocks on powerblock.com? Instead they sell the Powerblock sport version. Also comparing the 50lb non-exp versions of the two — they (black and red Powerblocks) are cheaper than the gray Powerblock Sports on every website.
Can you shed some light on this please?
Hi Kevin, great question. I’ve since been in contact with PowerBlock and they told me the main differences between the Sport Series and the PowerBlock Series (red/black) is the aesthetics and who sells it. The Sports Series is primarily sold in physical stores and on PowerBlock.com. Whereas, the PowerBlock Series is sold mainly by online sellers — Until just recently, PowerBlock.com sold the PowerBlock Series on their site, but they removed them to simplify for their on-site product selection after they revamped their website.
Great review, Alex. I’ve had my U-90 series for years, and I came across your review when I discovered they made the EZ curl bar and straight bar attachments for them. I see they are compatible with my older urethane models, so I plan on investing in both bars. Since my U-90 Stage 3 is mostly similar to your Pro EXP Stage 3, do you mind posting or emailing me a picture of the weight chart for both? I wanna see what the available increments are before I make my decision. The only weight chart they have on the website is for the Pro 50. And the only other weight chart I can find for the EZ curl bar is for an older model, which I believe is a different weight. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
UPDATE – 4/17/21: I’ve left my original comment below intact. However, some of the info is inaccurate. I’ve learned that the previous version of the EZ curl bar was actually 25 lbs (I weighed mine and it was 24 lbs). As such, the old and the new version of the EZ curl bar are actually the same weight. It’s just that the sticker on the old version inaccurately lists the empty bar weight as 20 lbs. So the only real difference between the old and new model is the color (white vs black handles).
Hi Niko. I own the previous version of the EZ curl bar. It appears that the main differences between this old EZ curl bar version and the new EZ Curl Bar version are:
Since we know that the new bar is 5 lbs heavier, you can figure out the increments you’d get on the new bar with the U90 by simply adding 5 lbs to each of numbers in the old EZ curl U90 sticker. OR, you can simply look at the image below (which is the OLD U90 weight chart sticker for the old straight bar — However, it’s also accurate for the U90 on the NEW EZ curl bar since they both have the same 25 lb starting weight):
Let me know if you need any clarification.
Thanks for the thorough response, Alex. I actually found your other post as well, which includes pictures for the weight charts for both bars. Also realized that you have the older versions of both, which I would’ve gotten/preferred if I had known about them. I’d rather have those than the newer (heavier) models, since I would personally rarely use the bars for anything greater than 100 lbs. I guess I have no other choice for now but to go with the newer models. The straight bars are all out of stock anyhow (new or old).
I bought a second EZ Curl Bar to use with a set of PB’s I keep at work. So I have both the new one and old one. I haven’t stood on a scale comparing both, but when I spoke to PB customer service they specifically told me that both bars are identical (other than color) and the new one being listed as 5lbs heavier is because they decided to label its weight more accurately. I thought this was super weird- how could they have been wrong about the weight of their own bar for so many years?? The customer service rep repeated himself a second time when I asked for clarification.
I’ve responded to this comment on my other PowerBlock guide here.
Would you know if the extensions for the PowerBlock EXP vs PowerBlock Sport EXP compatible or interchangeable?
Great question, Alexander. Yes, the expansion kits for the the Sport EXP and the PowerBlock EXP (PowerBlock Series; NOT the Pro Series) are compatible with each other. Technically it’s just a color variation. It’s the same dimensions, fixtures and tooling.
Based on you review i chose to buy powerblock pro EXP Level 2.
I want to ask you about the stand. It am going to use them in home so space limit is something. I saw there is a compact stand, but also a Powerstand which looks very convenient. Could you give me an advise ?
Great choice, Valentin! You should go with the Compact Stand (Size: Large) since it is large enough to hold the Pro EXP Stage 2 dumbbells AND because it has 4 holes in the center to hold each of the adder weights. I own this one and it works great for my Pro EXP set, and it takes up minimal space.
The PowerStand is too small to hold the these dumbbells, plus it doesn’t have any holes for the adder weights.
Thank you, Alex!
I have another question. How durable do you think powerblock proexp are. In my country the lrice is around 800 euro and ita very expensive. I am thinking is it worth the money and will something happen to them in 2 year and i have to repair them for a lot of money. Gym membership for one year is 200 euro and to have some basic equippment i need cable mashine, witxhh is something big. So i have to work out with pull up bar, dip bar, powerblocks and resistant bands.. What do you think?
hi Alex, thanks for the thorough review.
i’m just putting together my home gym. until now i’ve always use a gym membership.
when using heavier weights for bench pressing i would always let down the dumbells to my side. for lack of a better description, it was essentially a controlled drop. i wasn’t being careful per se but not obnoxious either. saying that, will i have to change that habit if i go with the powerblocks?
and now that you’ve used both, which do you think is better? which would you choose if you could only choose one? BASED ON heavier lift movements.
perhaps, i should think about a lower set of power blocks (up to 50) and then just get individual bigger dumbells (55-90)? hmmm….
Hi Jack, yes it would be a good idea to change the habit of dropping dumbbells if you go for the PowerBlocks. While I’ve accidentally dropped mine a couple times and they were fine, they’re not designed for drops. If you want to be able to do some dropping with the dumbbells, you may want to consider the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells instead (see my review here)…
…That said, if you go with PowerBlocks, I think it makes sense to just get a set that goes up to 90 lbs. My preference is for the PowerBlock Pro EXP set (see my review here).
Can you advise where the different Powerblock dumbbells rank in terms of overall build quality and durability? Powerblock vs. Pro vs. Elite vs. Sport?
All are well built. In terms of ranking, though, build quality and durability are comparable between the PowerBlock Series, PowerBlock Elite and the PowerBlock Sport. The PowerBlock Pro is step above all of these because it has urethane-coated plates that make it more durable (shock absorbent) and quieter (no metal-on-metal noise).
It is a pity that when something happens like breaking urethane connections at plates on U50 you cannot get replacement plates to repair the set .
Where can I get new plates ?
Yeah, it’s tough since the U50s have been discontinued for a while. That said, there’s plenty floating around on the second hand market.
I would recommend monitoring Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
Lastly, you could try contacting PowerBlock directly to see if they know of any distributors who may still carry these.
Very detailed review. I was hoping to find info about the Elite 2020 , which seems to be not compatible with the “regular” elite. Could you please add info on the elite 2020 also? thanks!
Correct, the Elite 2020 (aka the Elite EXP or Elite EXP 2020) is not compatible with the “regular” Elite (aka the Elite USA) currently sold on PowerBlock.com. They are 2 slightly different models. Here are the key differences:
Great article. I been waiting months for these and I recently bought the pro series with all the expansion kits! Super pumped! Couple questions how do you like the straight bar and ez curl bar? The straight bar is not good for bench correct? Just mostly curls and deadlifts? Once they come in stock, I might get them. Kettlebell handle, I don’t do much kettlebells at the gym so should I not even worry about it or just get it and learn how to use it?
The straight bar and EZ curl bar are great. You can still bench with it, but of course a full size regular barbell is better for that purpose if you have the choice. As for the kettlebell, I’d say there’s no need for it if you’re happy with your current training style. No need to add a new style of training if you don’t necessarily want to or need to.
Hey ALEX, thank you for sharing reviews about power block. AMAZING! I am not able to shop from these international shopping website directly, but I will definitely use a package forwarding company according to your replay to “ROHIT”. Most of the time I use Splice Packages LLC for shipping from USA. Let me try the Pro EXP Stage 3 Set on number one.
Hi, I have a u70 stage 1 kit and want to get a stage 2 expansion for it. I know the u series has been discontinued. I was wondering if the pro exp kits are compatible with my u70 set?
The U90 set is compatible with the Pro EXP Stage 2 & 3 expansion kits. However, the U70 weight blocks are totally different dimensions than both the U90 and Pro EXP weight blocks, so they wouldn’t work.
You’ll have to find U70 expansion kits from Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or eBay. But they may be hard to find at this point. If you want heavier adjustable dumbbells, then you may need to sell your U70 set and buy a newer model with more weight.
FYI: AS OF OCT 6, 2021 ALL POWERBLOCK PRODUCTS HAVE GONE UP IN PRICE:
Powerblock Sport EXP: price was $369.99 -> Now $409.99 ^UP $40.00
Powerblock Stage 2 Kit: price was $149.79 -> Now $179.99 ^UP $30.20
Large Compact Stand: price was $69.99 -> Now $99.99 ^UP $29.01
These prices are all the same on their website: powerblock.com and on dickssportinggoods.com and Amazon.com
Yes, the prices for all models actually went up in mid-September (Sept 15 or 16 I believe). I’ve already updated all prices for all models in my comprehensive PowerBlock comparison table in this article: https://www.kingofthegym.com/powerblock-dumbbells/#Currently_Available_Models
The reason for the price increases are mainly due to the current crunch in the shipping industry. Shipping prices worldwide have gone way up for everything. I reached out to PowerBlock and they hope to bring prices back down if/when shipping prices go back down, but that’s not expected for many months. Many other equipment companies are also bumping their prices up to keep up with the rise in transportation costs.
Hi….so I might have missed this in the review…but one benefit of the metal (non-urethane) models is that you can buy the small metal magnetic donuts that are 1.25 a piece and that fills in the gap on the weights when you have to go up by 5lbs. and not 2.5.
It’s a small thing….but surprsingly kind of a big deal. I saw a test where the magnets (which are super strong) wouldn’t stick to the urethane plates.
Not sure if that has changed.
It’s just a nice thing to have in your hip pocket…the option to go from 5 lbs. to 90 in 2.5lb in crements the entire way. Although I think 12.5(?) is not possible….as there is no metal to attach the magnets to.
No one loves urethane more than me…I have York Urethane grip plates….can’t highly recommend them enough….and Iooooove the look of the urethane Powerblocks. I actually almost bought the urethane set…until I snagged a killer Craigslist deal on an old set, PB power bench….and column stand….during Covid even.
Just some thoughts!
Hi Bradford, that’s a great point about being able to add magnentic weights to the outside of the non-urethane PowerBlock models. Thanks for sharing.