PowerBlock Dumbbells Review (2020) – Pros & Cons

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PowerBlock Dumbbells Review - Is This the Best Adjustable Dumbbells Set?

This page is my PowerBlock dumbbells review. Read on to find out if the PowerBlock dumbbells are the right adjustable dumbbells for you.

I'll explain the pros and cons of this dumbbell system, so that you can weigh them and judge how well this system meets 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 here to find a quick answer to which PowerBlock dumbbell model is right for you, I'll include a summary of my top recommendation in the table below:

Dumbbell

Key Features

Rating

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 Dumbbells
  • As of 2018, this has replaced the "Urethane Series"
  • Goes up to 90 lbs
  • Flex bracket design for significantly greater durability
  • Urethane coating to protect the dumbbells from wear and tear over time
  • Auto lock adjustment
  • Open handle design (most space for hand on any model)
  • Weight indication on the rail on both sides of each block (painted into rails)

Rated 5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite 90 - 5-90 lbs
  • Goes up to 90 lbs
  • Straight handle (as opposed to contoured)
  • Best bang for your buck PowerBlock set

Rated 4.5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock Sport EXP Stage 3 - 5-90 lbs
  • Goes up to 90 lbs
  • Auto lock adjustment,
  • Sleek design
  • Open handle design
  • Weight indication on the rail of one side of each block

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...

Pros & Cons of the PowerBlock Dumbbells

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 unquestionably the only 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 article years ago, I hadn't bought any PowerBlock dumbbells. However, more recently I bought my first pair of PowerBlock dumbbells: the Pro EXP Stage 3 Set.

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:

Pros

Rapid Adjustment

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.

Self-Contained Storage

Removing PowerBlock Dumbbells from the Weight Stack

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.

Different PowerBlock Dumbbell Models - Including Lightest and Heaviest Sets

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.
  • PowerBlock 50, Sport 50, Pro 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:

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 KettleBlock 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 early -- 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 total cost of over $2000 after 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.

Sturdy Construction

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 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 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 a several accessories available for the PowerBlock dumbbells.

My favorites are the PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar and the PowerBlock Straight Bar. They are only compatible with the Pro EXP or Pro 50 dumbbell sets (as well as the now-discontinued U70 & U90).

The available of these two accessories were 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 most definitely made the right decision.

You can see my EZ curl and straight bars below, with the full Pro EXP Stage 3 weight stack on each bar:

PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar - with Pro EXP Weights Added

Here's my EZ-curl bar with the total max weight of 190 lbs!

PowerBlock Straight Bar - with Pro EXP Weights Added

Here's my straight bar with the total max weight of 195 lbs!

Another cool accessory is the KettleBlock handle. It allows you to transform the weights from a dumbbell to a kettlebell just by swapping out the handle:

KettleBlock Handle without Weights Added

The KettleBlock handle is compatible with the Pro 50 & Pro EXP (and the now-discontinued U70 & U90) dumbbell sets. Has 2 adder weights for smaller increments.

It's important to note that the KettleBlock handle only works with the Pro 50 and Pro EXP sets (as well as the now-discontinued Urethane U70 sets and the U90 sets). This is one of the reasons why the Pro EXP is my top pick for best PowerBlock set.

NOTE: The weight guide sticker on the KettleBlock is only accurate if you're using it with the Pro 50. If you use it with the Pro EXP like I do, you'll have to do some quick mental math to make sure you're selecting the desired amount of weight.

The KettleBlock handle be used comfortably on most exercises up to 55 lbs, but can go all the way up to a 95 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.

KettleBlock Handle with 55 lbs Added

Here's my KettleBlock with the recommended max weight of 55 lbs.

KettleBlock Handle with 95 lbs Added

Here's my KettleBlock with the absolute max weight that can fit on the handle: 95 lbs.

As an aside, PowerBlock, Inc. does make another dedicated adjustable kettlebell system:

  • PowerBlock Adjustable Kettelbell: This is their newest kettlebell product, which sports a sleeker design compared to the KettleBlock 20 and 40. It has 4 weight adjustment increments including 18, 22, 26 and 35 lbs.

Until 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.

Other PowerBlock accessories include the array of dumbbell stands for the various PowerBlock dumbbell models.

PowerBlock Dumbbell Stands

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.

Additionally, there are 3 weight benches available:

PowerBlock Travel Bench

PowerBlock Travel Bench shown above unfolded for use, and folded for easy transport and storage

PowerBlock PowerBench

PowerBlock PowerBench shown in flat and incline positions. This is the sturdiest bench from PowerBlock  and is part of their commercial line

Cons

Relatively Expensive

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 $649 with free US shipping. 

Depending on the PowerBlock model you get, a set of PowerBlock dumbbells will be somewhere between $737 + $99 S&H (current price for the Pro EXP Stage 3) on the high end and $577 + $99 (current price for the PowerBlock EXP Stage 3) on the low end. In other words, the PowerBlocks cost between 4% to 29% more, 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 affect technique or performance.

Also, there are some 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. Basically, it has a pillar on all four corners of the handle, surrounding the grip area. This crowded design can potentially interfere with your hand position and wrist movement if you have bigger forearms/wrists and hands. Also, having the four the pillars surrounding the handle grip prevents you from using the traditional grip for dumbbell triceps extensions (though you can work around this by gripping any two adjacent pillars).

However, this design flaw has been fixed on all other PowerBlock dumbbell models, which now have all been upgraded to the "open handle" design, shown below:

Open Handle vs Closed Handle Design


Lastly, the pillars prevent you from using the traditional grip for dumbbell triceps extensions (though you can work around this by gripping any two adjacent pillars).

Not Designed for Very Rough Use

The PowerBlocks 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 (there are a few models available on Amazon, too).

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 dumbbell 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 four choices and several video reviews from PowerBlock owners.

45 thoughts on “PowerBlock Dumbbells Review (2020) – Pros & Cons”

    1. bruno fumagalli

      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

    1. You’re very welcome, Majid. I hope you were able decide which (if any) of the PowerBlock dumbbell sets is right for you.

    1. 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:

      • NAME: AIBI International | PHONE: 65-6533-8555 | ADDRESS: 50 Yishun Industrial Park A, AIBI Building, Singapore
      • NAME: Singapore Health Equipment | PHONE: 02-533-8555 | ADDRESS: 1 Park Road, #04-22-23-24 Peoples Park Complex, Singapore

      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!

      Best,
      Alex

      1. 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!

  1. 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!!

    1. 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!

      1. Alex,

        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.

        Cheers

        1. 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!

          Best,
          Alex

          1. 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.

      2. 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?

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

      Best,
      Alex

      1. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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:

      • The new version has black handles; the old version has white handles
      • The new version is 5 lbs heavier than the old version (25 lb starting weight vs 20 lb starting weight) — You can tell this by looking at the comparison image below of the old bar with the U90 sticker and the new bar with the Pro 50 sticker:

      Old PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar vs New PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar

      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):
      The U90 Weight Chart Sticker for OLD PowerBlock Straight Bar Is Accurate for the U90 on the NEW PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar

      Let me know if you need any clarification.

      1. 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).

  7. Would you know if the extensions for the PowerBlock EXP vs PowerBlock Sport EXP compatible or interchangeable?

    1. 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.

  8. Valentin Ivanov

    Dear Alex,

    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 ?
    Best
    Valentin

    1. 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.

  9. Dear 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?

  10. 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….

    thx Alex!

    1. 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).

  11. Hello:

    Can you advise where the different Powerblock dumbbells rank in terms of overall build quality and durability? Powerblock vs. Pro vs. Elite vs. Sport?

    Thanks.

    1. 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).

      1. 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 ?

        1. 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.

  12. 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!

    1. Hi Deb,

      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:

      • The blocks have slightly different dimensions, which prevent the expansion kits from being inter-compatible.
      • The Elite USA is made in the USA. The Elite EXP is imported.
      • The Elite EXP has the “auto lock” feature (as does the PowerBlock EXP, Sport EXP and Pro EXP), whereas the Elite USA does not.

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