I’ll focus on the Elite 50/70/90 and Sport EXP sets. Both are heavier models that can go up to 90 lbs per dumbbell. These are best for most people because you can progress without outgrowing them.
However, I will cover ALL models within the Elite Series and the Sport Series, including the lighter models like the Sport 50 and Sport 24.
NOTE: When I talk about the Elite Series dumbbells on this page, I’m referring to the Elite USA dumbbells. Not the Elite EXP dumbbells. While similar, there are key differences; most notably, their expansion kits are incompatible. The Elite USA dumbbells are the ones sold on PowerBlock.com. For more info, read my PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP guide.
Table of Contents
PowerBlock Elite vs Sport Comparison
The table below will allow you to easily compare and contrast the Elite and Sport dumbbells at a glance.
|Features||Elite Series||Sport EXP||Sport 50||Sport 24|
|Max Weight:||90 lbs||90 lbs||50 lbs||24 lbs|
|Increments:||2.5 lbs||2.5 lbs||5 lbs||3 lbs|
|Locking Mechanism:||Manual||Auto Lock||None||None|
|Handle Design:||Closed Handle||Open Handle||Open Handle||Open Handle|
|Handle Grip Shape & Diameter:||1.265″ (33mm) diameter; Straight shape; Thermoplastic rubber||1.5″ (38mm) diameter; Contoured shape; Thermoplastic rubber||1.5″ (38mm) diameter; Contoured shape; Thermoplastic rubber||1.25″ (30mm) diameter; Contoured shape; Thermoplastic rubber|
|Weight Blocks:||10 lbs each; Boxy/square shape||10 lbs each; Curved/arched shape||5 lbs each; Curved/arched shape||3 lbs each; Curved/arched shape|
|Color & Weight Indicator Bands:||Grey handle; Black blocks; Multi-colored bands||Black handle; Metallic grey blocks; Black bands (amount of weight printed)||Black handle; Metallic grey blocks; Black bands (amount of weight printed)||Black handle; Grey blocks; Multi-colored bands|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||Elite 50: 12″x6″x6″|
Elite 70: 14″x6″x6″
Elite 90: 16″x6″x6″
|Stage 1: 12″x6.5″x6.5″|
Stage 2: 14″x6.5″x6.5″
Stage 3: 16″x6.5″x6.5″
|Compatibility:||No compatibility with other models||No compatibility with other models (except for the “PowerBlock EXP”)||No compatibility with other models||No compatibility with other models|
|Warranty:||5 year limited warranty for home use||5 year limited warranty for home use||5 year limited warranty for home use||5 year limited warranty for home use|
|Price:||Elite 50: $419|
Elite 70: $608
Elite 90: $797
|Stage 1: $409|
Stage 2: $588
Stage 3: $767
PowerBlock Elite vs Sport: Overview of Models
Now that I’ve summarized the similarities and differences of the Elite and Sport models from a high level in the table above, I’ll get into a little more detail on each model individually.
The Elite Series, formerly known as the Classic Series, is PowerBlock’s legacy series of adjustable dumbbell models.
These dumbbells have a boxier shape than the Sport Series as well as all other series of PowerBlock dumbbells currently in production.
They’re also unique in that they feature 2 padded wrist support bars at the top of the handle. These let you prop the dumbbell against your lower forearm, making it easier to keep your wrists in a neutral position. Some lifters love this feature, while others think it gets in the way. I’ll discuss it a bit more, later on.
The Elite Series dumbbells have colored weight indicators that take up most of the length of the rails, giving it the classic PowerBlock rainbow look that all PowerBlock models had in the past.
These are the only PowerBlock series made in the USA. There are 3 Elite Series models: the Elite 50, Elite 70 and Elite 90. They’re really just 3 stages of the same adjustable dumbbell set, meaning the blocks are all compatible with each other and you can buy the Elite expansion kits to transform the Elite 50 or Elite 70 into the Elite 70 or Elite 90.
The empty handle weighs 5 lbs and each nested block weighs 10 lbs. Each handle comes with 2 removable 2.5 lb adder weights.
The PowerBlock Elite 50 set goes from 5-50 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs and 42.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Elite 50 to the Elite 70 by buying the Elite USA Stage 2 Kit (50-70). After that, you can upgrade to the Elite 90 by buying the Elite USA Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
The PowerBlock Elite 70 set goes from 5-70 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs, 42.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs and 62.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Elite 70 to the Elite 90 by buying the Elite USA Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
The PowerBlock Elite 90 set goes from 5-90 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs, 42.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs, 62.5 lbs, 72.5 lbs and 82.5 lbs.
Unlike the Elite Series, which have one group of dumbbells (Elite 50/70/90), the Sport Series has 3 separate dumbbell models. This includes the Sport EXP, which is the expandable model, as well as the Sport 24 and Sport 50, which are the non-expandable models.
Overall, all Sports Series models have a more contoured and modern look compared to the more blocky Elite Series. They have no support bars at the top of the handle like on the Elite dumbbells. They’re also imported.
The PowerBlock Sport EXP adjustable dumbbells are an expandable dumbbell model, with Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 sets. The Sport EXP Stage 1 set has a max weight of 50 lbs per dumbbell, which can be upgraded to 70 lbs with the Stage 2 kit and 90 lbs with the Stage 3 kit. In this way, the Sport EXP is comparable to the Elite 50/70/90.
The Sport EXP’s empty handle weighs 5 lbs and each nested weight block weighs 10 lbs. It comes with two 2.5 lb adder weights per dumbbell for small increments.
Sport EXP Stage 1
The Sport EXP Stage 1 set goes from 5-50 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs and 42.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Sport EXP Stage 1 set to the Sport EXP Stage 2 set by buying the Sport EXP Stage 2 Kit (50-70). After that, you can upgrade to the Sport EXP Stage 3 set by buying the Sport EXP Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
Sport EXP Stage 2
The PowerBlock Sport EXP Stage 2 set goes from 5-70 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs, 42.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs and 62.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Sport EXP Stage 2 set to the Sport EXP Stage 3 set by buying the Sport EXP Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
Sport EXP Stage 3
The PowerBlock Sport EXP Stage 3 set goes from 5-90 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments when using the adder weights. The only weights that aren’t available are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs, 42.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs, 62.5 lbs, 72.5 lbs and 82.5 lbs.
The Sport 50’s empty handles weigh 10 lbs and each nested block also weighs 5 lbs. There are no adder weights, so you get 10-50 lbs in 5 lb increments with this model. Sometimes it would be nice to have smaller increments, but you also never have to mess around with adder weights on this model.
The Sport 50 is a non-expandable model, meaning it maxes out at 50 lbs per dumbbell and cannot be upgraded beyond that.
The Sport 50 is only the right choice for people who have no plans of needing to lift heavier than 50 lbs per hand on dumbbell exercises.
The Sport 24 is the smallest of all PowerBlock models in terms of both physical size and max weight. The empty handle weighs just 3 lbs and each block weighs 3 lbs. It has no adder weights, as the increments are small enough by just selecting the blocks.
It can go from 3-24 lbs per dumbbell in increments of 3 lbs. Like the Sport 50, the Sport 24 is a non-expandable model, so it can’t be increased beyond 24 lbs with any expansion kits.
The Sport 24 is the only other model besides the Elite 50/70/90 to retain the classic full-length colored indicator bands that was an iconic feature of all PowerBlock models years ago.
This is only a good purchase for people who want light weights and have no plans to lift anything heavier in the future.
Below, I’ll discuss the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport dumbbells in terms of their key design features. I’ll tell you which features they share in common and which features differ.
I’ve already mentioned which Elite Series and Sport Series models are expandable or non-expandable in the previous sections. I’ll use this section to summarize everything.
These are the expandable models:
- Elite Series
- Sport EXP
With an expandable set, you can buy the 5-50 lb version or the 5-70 lb version. You may want to go this route if you don’t have the budget for the full 5-90 lb set or aren’t sure you need that much weight yet. Later on, you can decide if you want to upgrade the weight by buying the 50-70 lb and/or the 70-90 lb expansion kits.
Or you can just buy the fully expanded set from the get-go so you have access to 5-90 lbs out of the box.
These are the non-expandable models:
- Sport 50
- Sport 24
These non-expandable can never be upgraded to achieve heavier weights. As such, they make sense if you never see yourself needing more than the max weight. It’s also worth noting that non-expandable models do not have adder weights. This makes the adjusting process faster and easier because you only have to deal with moving the selector pin.
Adder weights are chrome-coated solid steel cylinders that are included with most, but not all of the PowerBlock models. Each adder weight is 2.5 lbs. There are 2 adder weights per dumbbell handle.
These are designed to be inserted into, or removed from, the hollow steel tubes at the bottom of the handle. You can have both adder weights in the handle, just one, or none at all. The idea is to get smaller increments to progress more efficiently between the heavier weight block settings.
Both the Elite 50/70/90 and Sport EXP have adder weights. However, the Sport 24 and Sport 50 do not have adder weights.
When using the adder weights, it’s important to lock them inside the tubes. This prevents the adder weights from rattling around during the exercise and keeps them from flying out when you remove the handle.
There are 2 types of locking mechanisms, depending on the model: Auto-lock and manual lock.
The Sport EXP has the auto-lock feature. This is a cool feature that makes using the adder weights more convenient. It involves a special lever located on the side of the handle. When the lever is flipped down, the opening to the hollow tubes opens. When the lever is flipped up, the opening closes.
The automatic part of the auto-lock lever feature comes into play when you place the PowerBlock handle inside the nested weights. The lever automatically flips up and closes the tube opening because you’re pushing it against the weight block rail.
The benefit is that you never have to remember to manually lock the lever to close the tubes.
The Elite Series dumbbells have a manual lock feature. You have to remember to manually move the lever to “Closed” before using the dumbbells any time you put the adder weights inside. The lever for this manual mechanism is located on the top of the handle.
The Sport 50 and Sport 24 do not have any locking mechanism because they don’t have adder weights.
There are 2 types of handle designs, depending on the model: closed handle or open handle.
The Elite Series has a closed handle design. This means there is less room at the top of the handle because of the padded wrist support bars; one on each side of your wrist. These padded wrist supports let you lean the dumbbell against your lower forearm to support your wrist and maintain a neutral position with minimal effort.
Some lifters find the padded wrist supports to be very helpful on exercises like curls and lateral raises, because it lets them focus more on the target muscles, and less on the forearms/grip. If you have weaker wrists, you’ll probably love this feature. Though, even lifters with stronger wrists may find the leverage it provides to be useful.
However, there’s a downside. It reduces the amount of space for your wrist/forearm to move freely. Some people find that this gets in the way. If you have very large hands and wrists, or if you simply prefer having more side to side motion inside the dumbbell, you may want to avoid the Elite Series.
All Sport Series models have an open handle design. This means there are no support bars at the top of the handle, which gives you plenty of room for your wrists and forearms. This is great especially if you have larger hands, wrists and forearms.
The open handle also gives you enough room to use lifting hooks on the dumbbells. You can also use lifting straps, but it can take a little while to get it wrapped around, which is why I prefer hooks. This can be a big help for assisting your grip on long sets where you’re holding heavy weight (e.g. shrugs, dumbbell lunges).
In addition to having an open handle design, the Sport 24 has a “wedge” which gives your forearm more range of motion toward the front and rear of the dumbbell handle. This can come in handy on exercises like one arm dumbbell rows. It’s the same type of wedge design as seen on the PowerBlock Pro EXP dumbbells. The Sport EXP and Sport 50 do not have this feature.
Handle Grip Shape & Diameter
The Sport Series dumbbells all have a contoured handle grip shape. All other home-use PowerBlock models have this same grip shape.
However, the Elite Series has a straight handle grip shape. Only some of the commercial-use PowerBlock models (i.e. the Commercial Pro 50/90) also have the straight handle. Although it’s a small factor, if I can choose, I personally prefer a straight handle shape on any dumbbells I use.
The handle grip diameters vary depending on the model:
- Elite Series: 1.265″ (33mm) grip diameter
- Sport EXP: 1.5″ (38mm) grip diameter
- Sport 50: 1.5″ (38mm) grip diameter
- Sport 24: 1.25″ (30mm) grip diameter
The default grips on all Elite Series and Sport Series models is TPR, or Thermoplastic Rubber, which is a composite material with properties of both plastic and rubber. It’s strong and solid but not brittle. While not as grippy as knurled steel, it does have a tacky feel for good grip without any abrasiveness.
That said, it’s nothing compared to the new knurled grips offered by PowerBlock for the Elite USA model. They’re made from electroless nickel-plated steel with a 32mm diameter and an aggressive volcano-style knurl pattern that’s a little sharp but not overwhelming.
I have the same ones but for my Pro EXP set and they provide excellent grip quality. If you upgrade to these, you’ll ensure the dumbbells stay in your hands even when maxing out the dumbbell weight.
Unfortunately, PowerBlock does not make grips that are compatible with the Sport EXP. If you want those, you can buy some from a third-party company — I recommend going to Bare Steel Equipment. They’re notably more expensive than PowerBlock’s Elite grips, but worth it if you have the Sport dumbbells and you really want knurled handles.
For the Elite USA grips from PowerBlock, you can choose one of two ways to get them:
- You can buy just the grips and install them in your existing handle.
- You can buy a full handle assembly with the grips pre-installed. It costs just a little bit more than the grips-only option. This will give you two pairs of handle blocks: one pair with knurled grips and your original pair with rubberized grips.
Check out my PowerBlock knurled grips review to learn more and see if upgrading your handles is the right choice.
I’ve already mentioned the weights of the nested weight blocks for the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport models in my overview section. However, I’ll quickly list out the amount of weight per weight block below, so it’s all in one place:
- Elite Series: 10 lbs per weight block
- Sport EXP Stage 1/2/3: 10 lbs per weight block
- Sport 50: 5 lbs per weight block
- Sport 24: 3 lbs per weight block
The shape of the weight blocks differs between the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport adjustable dumbbell models.
The Elite Series blocks are square with straight lines on all sides. Whereas, the Sport Series blocks have subtle arches on the top and bottom for a softer, sleeker look. The weight block shape has no bearing on functionality; its just aesthetics.
The blocks are solid steel with a powder coated finish for both the Elite Series and Sports Series. The color of the powder coating varies by model; see the next section for more on that.
Color & Weight Indicator Bands
The Elite Series dumbbells have a classic look similar to many of the old PowerBlock models from years past. It has a grey handle (with black support bars and adder weight tubes) and black nested weight blocks.
The side rails on the Elite Series weight blocks have long, bright multi-colored bands. Each color corresponds to a different weight on the weight guide sticker, which makes it easier to select the right amount of weight quickly.
Most other models either have just a small ring of color for the weight indicators (e.g. Pro EXP), or the indicators are not color-coded at all (e.g. Sport EXP). As such, the Elite has a bright and unique look.
The Sport EXP has a more neutral and darker look than the Elite Series dumbbells. The handle is all black and the weight blocks are metallic grey. The weight indicator bands are black; not color-coded like on the Elite Series. However, they have the corresponding amount of weight printed on each band to make changing the weight straightforward.
The Sport 50 has the same colors as the Sport EXP.
The Sport 24 features a black handle with grey weight blocks (non-metallic grey to be specific). It has full-length color-coded weight indicator bands like the Elite Series dumbbells.
Below, I’ll list the dimensions of the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport. Note that each set of dimensions given is for a single dumbbell.
Elite Series dimensions:
- Elite 50: 12″L x 6″W x 6″H
- Elite 70: 14″L x 6″W x 6″H
- Elite 90: 16″L x 6″W x 6″H
Sport Series dimensions:
- Sport EXP Stage 1: 12″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H
- Sport EXP Stage 2: 14″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H
- Sport EXP Stage 3: 16″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H
- Sport 50: 12.5″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H
- Sport 24: 10.5″L x 5.25″W x 5″H
When considering the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport adjustable dumbbells, many people wonder if the plates of these different models are compatible with each other.
Unfortunately, there is no compatibility between the PowerBlock Elite and Sport models. That is, the Elite expansion kits won’t fit on the Sport EXP set, and vice versa.
You can not add Sport EXP expansion kits to the Sport 50 to make it go beyond 50 lbs per hand. Similarly, you cannot add any type of expansion kit to the Sport 24 to make it go beyond 24 lbs per hand.
You can, however, fit the expansion kits for “PowerBlock EXP” sets on the Sports EXP, and vice versa.
There are no PowerBlock accessories that are compatible with the PowerBlock Elite or Sport Series dumbbells.
The only PowerBlock dumbbells currently in production that are compatible with other PowerBlock accessories are the Pro Series models (including the Pro EXP, Pro 50 and Commercial Pro 50/90) as well as the now-discontinued Urethane Series U50/U70/U90. They are compatible with the:
- EZ Curl Bar Attachment
- Straight Bar Attachment
- KettleBlock Handle Attachment
The Elite Series is made in the USA. To be clear, this is for the Elite USA only (not the Elite EXP model that’s sold from 3rd party retailers).
The Sport Series is made in China.
Both the Elite Series and Sport Series have a 5 year limited warranty for home use. It covers manufacturer defects, damage from normal use and drops from as high as 12 inches. It does not cover damage from abuse or accidental drops from higher than 12 inches.
At the time of writing this, the prices of the Elite Series and Sport Series prices are as shown below. Note that these prices don’t include shipping and handling, which varies depending on the shipping destination:
Elite Series prices:
Sport Series prices:
- Sport EXP Stage 1: $409
- Sport EXP Stage 2: $588
- Sport EXP Stage 3: $767
- Sport 50: $399
- Sport 24: $199
PowerBlock Elite vs Sport: Which Should You Buy?
Now that I’ve compared the PowerBlock Elite vs Sport adjustable dumbbells, you should have a much better idea of which model is better suited to your needs.
However, if you’re still having trouble deciding which is the best adjustable dumbbell for you, I’ll give you a few scenarios where I think certain models are better than others.
Here’s when to buy the Elite 50/70/90:
- If you have weaker wrists, or if you just want to be able to support the handle on your forearm for better leverage on curls and other movements. You’ll find that the padded wrist support bars at the top of the handle are very useful for this.
- If you have smaller hands. You’ll find the Elite’s thinner 1.265″ (33mm) grip diameter is easier to hold onto than the thicker 1.5″ (38mm) grip diameter on the Sport EXP and Sport 50.
- If you want a made in the USA adjustable dumbbell set. (Remember, this applies only to the Elite USA models sold exclusively on PowerBlock.com.)
- If you want the most popular model. The Elite 50/70/90 is the best seller among all PowerBlock models.
- If you prefer the classic PowerBlock look. The multi-color indicator bands and the blockier shape give you the old-school iconic PowerBlock look.
Here’s when to buy the Sport EXP:
- If you want the fastest and most convenient weight adjustment process. The auto-lock feature saves a couple seconds each time you insert or remove the adder weights. Moreover, you never have to remember to manually lock it.
- If you have larger hands and wrists, or if you just want more room to move around inside the handle. The open handle design gives your hands and wrists/forearms more room.
- If you want to use lifting hooks or lifting straps to aid your grip on heavy, grip-intensive sets. The open handle design allows for enough space to fit your hand inside and get the hook around the handle grip.
- If you’re on a tighter budget. The Sport EXP is $10-30 less than the Elite 50/70/90 (depending on which stage you’re comparing).
- If you prefer a sleeker and more modern look. The black and grey colors combined with the curvier blocks give it a less blocky shape and more neutral look.
Here’s when to buy the Sport 50:
- If you’ll never need more than 50 lbs per hand and don’t want to mess around with adder weights.
Here’s when to buy the Sport 24:
- If you want something super compact and portable and don’t need more than 24 lbs.
Are you considering any of the other PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells beside the Elite and Sport? If so, check out:
- My PowerBlock dumbbells review for pros and cons of all PowerBlock models.
- My detailed PowerBlock dumbbells comparison guide to compare features and specs on all models.
- My PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP comparison and review.
- My PowerBlock Pro vs Elite comparison and review.
- My PowerBlock Pro vs Sport comparison and review.
- My in-depth PowerBlock Pro EXP review for a detailed look at the most premium home-use model.