It can be tough to choose between the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite. I’ve put together this in-depth comparison and review to help make the decision easier.
This guide will help you pick the best PowerBlock dumbbell set for your needs, wants and budget. You’ll learn every single difference between the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite, and why those differences matter (or don’t).
Before we begin, I want to make a few notes:
- I’ll only discuss the home-use Pro Series models (i.e. Pro EXP, Pro 50, Pro 24). I won’t discuss the Commercial Pro Series dumbbells, which cost A LOT more and are typically used in athletic training facilities.
- For the Elite Series, my focus will be on the Elite USA rather than the Elite EXP. Be sure to read my Elite USA vs Elite EXP article to learn the key differences between these two models.
- My focus in this PowerBlock Pro vs Elite Series comparison will be on the Pro EXP and Elite USA sets. They’re best for most lifters because they’re expandable so you can upgrade and go heavier if needed. That said, I’ll still cover the lighter, non-expandable models (i.e. Pro 50, Pro 32).
PowerBlock Pro vs Elite Comparison
Check out the table below to easily compare the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite models across all key specification categories:
|Features||Pro EXP||Pro 50||Pro 32||Elite USA|
|Max Weight:||90 lbs||50||32||90|
|Increments:||2.5 lbs||2.5 lbs||4 lbs||2.5 lbs|
|Locking Mechanism:||Auto-Lock||Auto-Lock||None||Manual Lock|
|Handle Design:||Open Handle + Wedge Shape||Open Handle + Wedge Shape||Open Handle + Wedge Shape||Closed Handle|
|Handle Grip Shape & Diameter:||1.5″ (38mm) diameter;|
|1.5″ (38mm) diameter;|
|1.25″ (38mm) diameter;|
|1.265″ (33mm) diameter;|
|Weight Blocks:||10 lbs each;|
Urethane molded over steel
|5 lbs each;|
Urethane molded over steel
|4 lbs each;|
Urethane molded over steel
|10 lbs each;|
Powder coated steel
|Color & Weight Indicator Bands:||Black handle;|
|Dimensions (LxWxH):||Stage 1: 12.5”x7”x7.25”|
Stage 2: 14.75”x7”x7.25”
Stage 3: 17”x7”x7.25”
|13”x7”x7.25”||12”x5.75”x5.5”||Stage 1: 12”x6”x6”|
Stage 2: 14”x6”x6”
Stage 3: 16”x6”x6”
|Compatibility:||No compatibility with other models||No compatibility with other models||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:||Stage 1: $509|
Stage 2: $708
Stage 3: $907
|$499||$339||Elite 50: $419|
Elite 70: $608
Elite 90: $797
PowerBlock Pro vs Elite: Overview of Models
The table above should’ve given you a basic understanding of how the PowerBlock Pro and Elite models compare to each other on all the major specs.
In the sections below, I’ll drill down to give you some deeper insights on each model individually.
There are 3 models within the Pro Series. This includes an expandable model and two non-expandable models:
The Pro Series models are more durable than the Elite Series. This is a result of the urethane molded plates as well as the non-welded “flex” design of the blocks, which protects against drops.
Another advantage of the Pro Series dumbbells over the Elite Series is that they’re quieter to use. The urethane plates eliminate metal-on-metal contact between the blocks.
The Pro Series dumbbells all have an “open handle” design. This gives you plenty of room to move your hands and wrists around inside the blocks compared to the “closed handle” on the Elite dumbbells.
In addition to their open handle design, they also have a “wedge” design that provides greater range of motion to the front and back, making them the roomiest of ALL PowerBlock dumbbell models.
The Pro Series models (excluding the Pro 32) feature an “auto-lock” adjustment mechanism for adding/removing adder weights. Whereas the Elite dumbbells have a manual locking lever.
Overall, the Pro Series models have a sleeker and more modern design than the Elite Series. They have contoured/arched plate shapes and a nearly all-black design, with small multi-colored weight indicator rings. Contrast this to the boxier Elite dumbbells with large and bright multi-colored indicator bands.
Only the Pro EXP and Pro 50 are compatible with PowerBlock accessories like the EZ Curl Bar, Straight Bar and Kettlebell Handle. The Elite Series won’t work with any accessories.
The PowerBlock Pro EXP is an expandable model, consisting of a Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 set. The Pro EXP Stage 1 set maxes out at 50 lbs. You can expand it to a 70 lb max with the Stage 2 kit, and then to a 90 lb max with the Stage 3 kit. This is the same expandability structure as on the Elite Series.
The Pro EXP’s empty handle weighs 5 lbs. The nested weight blocks weigh 10 lbs each. Each dumbbell comes with two 2.5 lb adder weights for obtaining small adjustment increments.
Pro EXP Stage 1
You can adjust the PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 1 set from 5-50 lbs per dumbbell in as little 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs and 42.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Pro EXP Stage 1 set to the Pro EXP Stage 2 set with the Pro EXP Stage 2 Kit (50-70). Then you can upgrade to the Pro EXP Stage 3 set with the Pro EXP Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
Pro EXP Stage 2
You can adjust the PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 2 set from 5-70 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs, 42.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs and 62.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Pro EXP Stage 2 set to the Pro EXP Stage 3 set with the Pro EXP Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
Pro EXP Stage 3
You can adjust the PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 set from 5-90 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings 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 Pro 50 is non-expandable, meaning there are no expansion kits to upgrade it beyond its maximum weight of 50 lbs per dumbbell.
The Pro 50’s empty handle weighs 5 lbs. The nested weight blocks weigh 5 lbs each. Each dumbbell comes with two 2.5 lb adder weights for obtaining small adjustment increments. So you get 5-50 lbs in as small as 2.5 lb increments, with no unavailable weight increments within this range.
The Pro 50 only makes sense for people who don’t plan on needing more than 50 lbs per hand, either now or in the future.
Like the Pro 50, the Pro 32 is non-expandable. There is no expansion kit available for increasing its max weight past 32 lbs per dumbbell.
The Pro 32’s empty handle weighs 4 lbs. The nested weight blocks weigh 4 lbs each. With no adder weights on this model, you have access to a weight range of 4-32 lbs in 4 lb increments.
This is the second lightest of all PowerBlock dumbbell models, with only the Sport 24 coming in lighter with a max weight of 24 lbs.
The Pro 32 only makes sense as a purchase if you know you won’t need to do dumbbell exercises with more than 32 lbs per hand. Oftentimes people buy this model because they value extreme portability over heavier weights.
The Elite Series, which until a couple of years ago was known as the Classic Series, is PowerBlock’s legacy line of adjustable dumbbells. They retain the old-school look that most people have come to associate PowerBlocks with over the years.
The Elite Series consists of just one expandable model: The Elite USA, which is sometimes called the USA Elite or the Elite 50/70/90. Technically, you could say the Elite USA includes 3 separate sets — the Elite 50, Elite 70 and Elite 90 — but these are just 3 different stages of the same model.
(Note: There is also the Elite EXP, sold by third parties, but that is beyond the purview of this article.)
Unlike the Pro Series, the Elite Series doesn’t have any non-expandable models.
The Elite Series retains the classic look that most PowerBlock dumbbell models had years ago. That is, they’re characterized by a boxy design and large, bright multi-colored weight indicator bands. Whereas, the Pro Series models have a more modern, curved design and are mostly black.
The Elites also have 2 padded wrist bars at the top handle. This gives these dumbbells a “closed handle” design instead of the “open handle” design on the Pros and all other models. This can limit your wrist/forearm range of motion inside the dumbbells and may cause lifters with very large hands to feel cramped. On the flip side, some people love these supports because you can prop the dumbbell against your wrist. This lets you keep your wrists neutral with ease and have better control of the dumbbells on certain movements.
The Elite dumbbells have a more basic construction, featuring powder coated steel plates with a welded construction. While sturdy, this is less durable compared to the urethane plates and non-welded “flex” design on the Pro Series.
Notably, the Elite Series dumbbells are made in the USA (again, this applies to the Elite USA model; not the Elite EXP). The Pro Series, as well as all other PowerBlock dumbbell models, are manufactured in China.
The Elite dumbbells use a manual locking mechanism for securing the adder weights inside the handles. The Pro Series dumbbells, as well as all other PowerBlock dumbbell Series, use a slightly more convenient “auto-lock” mechanism.
Despite having fewer premium features than the Pro Series, the Elite Series dumbbells are by far the best-selling PowerBlock dumbbell model in production. Part of this is because the Elites are less expensive, but also because they’re a tried and true adjustable dumbbell set that’s built a reputation for itself over the many years it’s been around.
You can adjust the PowerBlock Elite 50 set from 5-50 lbs per dumbbell in as little 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings are 12.5 lbs, 22.5 lbs, 32.5 lbs and 42.5 lbs. You can upgrade the Elite 50 to the Elite 70 set with the Elite USA Stage 2 Kit (50-70). Then you can upgrade to the Elite 90 set with the Elite USA Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
You can adjust the PowerBlock Elite 70 set from 5-70 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings 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 set to the Elite 90 set with the Elite USA Stage 3 Kit (70-90).
You can adjust the PowerBlock Elite 90 set from 5-90 lbs per dumbbell in as little as 2.5 lb increments using the adder weights. The only unavailable weight settings 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.
In the following sections, I’ll compare the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite based on each design feature.
I’ve already mentioned which Pro Series and Elite Series dumbbell models are expandable or non-expandable in different parts of this guide.
I’ll recap those facts here for convenience. The expandable models include:
Expandable models are those which have a base set (i.e. Stage 1 set) that can be upgraded to a heavier set with expansion kits.
The Stage 1 sets for all PowerBlock models currently in production adjust from 5-50 lbs. They all have 3 stages. Each expansion kit, which allows you to get to the next stage, weighs 20 lbs.
Here’s a practical example of this: In some cases, it makes sense to start by buying just the Stage 1 set (5-50 lbs) or Stage 2 set (5-70 lbs) instead of getting the Stage 3 set from the get-go. Reasons for doing this could be because:
- You have a limited budget
- Or you’re just not sure you’ll ever need a higher amount of weight
In these scenarios, you always have the option to buy the 50-70 lb and/or 70-90 lb expansion kits if and when you decide to.
Alternatively, you can go the route I went when I purchased my Pro EXP set. I bought the 5-90 lb Stage 3 set outright. I knew I’d need the max of 90 lbs per hand for some exercises, and I had the budget to afford it.
The non-expandable models include:
There are NO non-expandable Elite Series sets.
Non-expandable models don’t have any expansion kits, so you’ll never be able to increase their max weight. The heaviest non-expandable models that PowerBlock currently makes have a max weight of 50 lbs. This is why I only recommend non-expandable models to people who know they’ll never want to use heavier weights — even if the max weight is enough for them currently. You don’t want to outgrow them and then have to buy an expandable set.
Usually, non-expandable dumbbell models do not have adder weights. The downside of this is that you don’t get as small of increments. The upside is that you save time by not having to worry about adding/removing the adder weights when switching weight settings.
However, the Pro 50 is different from most non-expandable models. It does have adder weights, so you can adjust it as little as 2.5 lb increments.
Adder weights are solid steel chrome-finished cylinders included in some PowerBlock dumbbell models.
For the models that do have them, each handle comes with two 2.5 lb adder weights. You add or remove one or both adder weights from the adder weight ports inside each handle, as needed.
The idea is that they give you access to smaller weight increments in between the heavier increments achieved by selecting the weight blocks with the selector pin.
So let’s say you have either an Elite 50/70/90 set or a Pro EXP set and you’re doing biceps curls. If 40 lbs is too light and 50 lbs is too heavy, then you can remove both adder weights from the handle to get 45 lbs. Or you can take just one out to get 47.5 lbs. This makes it so much more efficient to make progressive strength gains.
The Elite USA, Pro EXP and Pro 50 all have adder weights. As mentioned in the previous section, the inclusion of adder weights in the Pro 50 separates it from all other non-expandable PowerBlock models, which don’t have them.
The Pro 32 does NOT have adder weights.
Depending on the model, there are different locking mechanisms used to secure the adder weights inside the handle’adder weight ports.
The main reason for securing the adder weights is to keep them from falling out when you remove the handle from the weight stack. You don’t want 2.5 lbs of steel falling on your big toe, do you?
The second reason is to prevent the weights from clanging around inside the handle during exercise.
There are 2 types of locking mechanisms: Auto-Lock or Manual Lock.
Of course, there’s NO locking mechanism on models without adder weights like the Pro 32 since there’s nothing to lock in place.
The Pro EXP and Pro 50 use the Auto-Lock mechanism. This feature makes the process of using adder weights more convenient.
Here’s how it works:
- There’s a small lever on the side of the handle, just overhanging the weight stack.
- You flip this lever down manually to open up the adder weight ports so you can add or remove the weights as needed.
- The lever is positioned such that it automatically flips up and locks the adder weight ports when you put the handle back into the weight stack.
This feature makes it impossible to forget to close the adder weight ports.
The Elite USA uses the more rudimentary manual lock mechanism. It is the only model that still uses this method (even the Elite EXP uses Auto-Lock).
Here’s how it works:
- It involves a lever located on top of the handle, rather than on the side.
- You have to manually slide it to the “Open” position whenever you want to open the adder weight ports.
- You have to manually slide the lever to either of the two “Closed” positions to lock any adder weights in place.
This isn’t a difficult process, of course. It’s just a matter of remembering to move the lever to “closed” when you need it locked. So while it’s less convenient, you’ll be fine once you make it a habit.
PowerBlock dumbbells have either a “closed handle” design or an “open handle” design depending on the model.
The closed handle design was the norm back in the day with many of the early PowerBlock models. However, these days you only see the closed handle design on the Elite Series.
The closed handle design is defined by the 2 padded wrist support bars at the top of the handle. The bars create a smaller or more “closed” handle opening. This cuts down on the range of motion for your forearm and wrist. If you’ve got extra large hands, you may feel restricted inside the handle.
However, there are positives to this design as well. In fact, some people prefer it. You can prop the support bars against your forearm and passively maintain a neutral wrist position. Propping the dumbbell on your wrist like this can give you better leverage on exercises like curls and lateral raises. Plus, it allows you to focus more on the target muscle and less on wrist stabilization.
The Pro Series has an open handle design, as do all other current PowerBlock models besides the Elites.
An open handle is a handle without any wrist support bars. The handle opening is completely unimpeded, so even the largest hands can fit inside without feeling cramped. And once you’re inside the handle, your wrist/forearm has more range of motion between the sides of the dumbbell.
On top of having this open handle design, the Pro Series also have a “wedge” handle shape. This refers to the edges of the handles being angled downward (instead of straight), such that it looks like a wedge shape could fit in the handle when viewed from the side.
The angle of the wedge gives you even more range of motion; toward the front and the rear of the dumbbell handle, rather than the sides. When you bring the handle edge into contact with your wrist/forearm, it lays flat against the ergonomically-angled surface. When you do this with non-wedge models, it’s a bit uncomfortable since that involves pushing your forearm against a corner.
This isn’t a huge feature, but it’s a great little detail. I like to let the angled surface of the handle rest against my lower forearm for stability when kicking the dumbbells up on seated shoulder press, or while performing rear delt swings, one arm rows, bent over lateral raises and overhead triceps extensions.
Other than the Pro Series models, the Sport 24 is the only other PowerBlock model with a wedge-shaped handle.
Handle Grip Shape & Diameter
All Pro Series dumbbells have a contoured handle grip. It’s thickest in the center and tapers toward each end.
The Elite USA has a straight handle grip shape. The diameter is uniform throughout the length of the grip. It is the only home-use PowerBlock dumbbell model with this type of grip shape. Only the Commercial Pro 90 and 50 also have straight grips.
While it’s not a major factor, I prefer a straight handle grip if I have the choice. The uniform diameter feels more natural to me. However, others find that a contoured grip forms better to their hand and gives a more ergonomic feel. It comes down to personal preference.
The diameters of the Pro Series and Elite Series dumbbells vary based on the model:
- Pro EXP: 1.5″ (38mm) grip diameter
- Pro 50: 1.5″ (38mm) grip diameter
- Pro 32: 1.25″ (30mm) grip diameter
- Elite USA: 1.265″ (33mm) grip diameter
The grips are made from Thermoplastic Rubber, or TRP, on all of the Elite and Pro dumbbells. In fact, this material is used on ALL PowerBlock models, except for the Commercial Pro 90 and 50, which use knurled stainless steel.
TRP is a composite material with properties of both plastic and rubber. It is strong and dense without being brittle. It is molded with a textured surface to provide a tacky feel to reduce slipping.
Ideally, I’d prefer a knurled steel handle, but the TRP gets the job done.
These are the weights of the nested weight blocks for each model:
- Pro EXP: 10 lbs per weight block
- Pro 50: 5 lbs per weight block
- Pro 32: 4 lbs per weight block
- Elite USA: 10 lbs per weight block
The weight block shapes are different between the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite dumbbells.
The Elite dumbbells have a boxy, square shape, which gives it the classic PowerBlock look that many now-discontinued models had in the past.
Whereas, the Pro Series dumbbells have an arched shape on the top, almost shaped like a loaf of bread. This is in line with the more modern PowerBlock dumbbell iterations.
The different block shapes don’t affect performance. It just gives the dumbbells a different look.
The PowerBlock Pro vs Elite weight blocks differ most when it comes to plate material:
- The Pro Series dumbbells stand out compared to the Elite Series (and all other models for that matter) with their urethane molded plates. The urethane provides a protective layer over the underlying steel, which safeguards it from dings, scratches and oxidation. It also makes the dumbbells quieter to use by eliminating metal-on-metal contact between blocks. Plus, it helps absorb impact if you accidentally drop the dumbbells or smash them together. Finally, the urethane allows for the non-welded “flex” design, which I’ll talk about shortly.
- The Elite Series dumbbells feature powder coated steel plates. The powder coating finish gives you decent protection against dings and scratches; though if any abrasions do occur, then oxidation is possible. Since they lack a urethane molding, the Elites are not as quiet and don’t absorb impacts as well.
There’s one more major weight block design difference between the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite:
- The Pro Series blocks have a non-welded “flex” design. That is, the side rails that connect to the end plates go through the urethane and not the actual steel portion of the plate. This urethane joint created between the side rail and the plate is flexible, which gives the blocks some degree of flex or rotation. This makes the Pro Series more durable than welded blocks because they can better absorb impacts from accidental drops.
- The Elite Series blocks have a welded design, as do all other non-Pro PowerBlock dumbbell models. That is, the end plates are welded to the side rails. While this is a sturdy design choice, the main weakness is that the blocks are more likely to warp when dropped since there’s no flexibility between the rails and plates.
Color & Weight Indicator Bands
In my opinion, the Pro Series dumbbells have a nicer color aesthetic than the Elites. They feature a (mostly) blacked-out stealth look. The color scheme consists of a black handle with black weight blocks, including black side rails and black urethane over the plates.
The only bits of color are the small multi-colored weight indicator bands on the side rails. This is a subtle way to add the functionality of the weight indicators without distracting from the overall stealth aesthetic.
The indicator bands are very short compared to the long bands that encase the side rails on the Elite and other non-Pro models, which is why I like to think of them more as indicator “rings.” They’re also more durable since they’re depressed within grooves in the rails. This shields them from wear and tear and prevents them from sliding around.
One other thing that makes the Pro’s better than the Elites is that there are indicators on both sides of the blocks, rather than just one side. This means you can use the blocks in either direction.
In terms of other minor accent colors on the Pro Series dumbbells, there is red and white text on the top of the handle for the weight indicator guide and the PowerBlock branding. There is also a high quality decal with a black background and white text reading “PowerBlock” that’s embedded on both sides of every plate.
The PowerBlock Elite dumbbells have a lot more going on color-wise. The Elites are characterized by a grey handle, black weight blocks and multi-colored weight indicator bands on the side rails.
The weight indicators are the classic long, bright bands that everyone associates with the PowerBlock brand. They are a sheath over the side rails. Unlike the Pros, these indicators are only on one side of the blocks.
The indicator bands correspond to the multi-colored weight indicator chart sticker on top of the handle. There’s also a red and white sticker on the other side of the handle with the open/closed zones marked for the manual lock lever.
While most models used to have these long bright multi-colored bands in the past, the Elite Series dumbbells (and the Sport 24) are the only ones that retain this iconic PowerBlock design element.
See below for the dimensions of the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite. Each dimension listed is for a single dumbbell, not the pair:
Pro Series dimensions:
- Pro EXP Stage 1: 12.5”L x 7”W x 7.25”H
- Pro EXP Stage 2: 14.75”L x 7”W x 7.25”H
- Pro EXP Stage 3: 17”L x 7”W x 7.25”H
- Pro 50: 13”L x 7”W x 7.25”H
- Pro 32: 12”L x 5.75”W x 5.5”H
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
Some people deciding between the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite dumbbells will inquire whether these two models are compatible.
To be clear, the Pro Series and Elite Series are NOT compatible. That is, the Elite Series expansion kits won’t fit on the Pro Series dumbbell sets and vice versa.
There is also no compatibility within the Pro Series line of dumbbells. That is, the Pro EXP expansion kits don’t fit on the Pro 50. And you can’t make the Pro 50 weight blocks fit on the Pro 32 to make it heavier.
I’ve had multiple readers inform me that the Pro EXP expansion kits work with the now-discontinued PowerBlock U90 set. Of course, the Pro EXP expansion kits would only get a U90 dumbbell set up to the third stage (90 lbs). The U90 had a Stage 4 kit that would expand it to 125 lbs. So if you have a U90 set that you want to get up to 125 lbs, you’ll need to find an actual U90 Stage 4 expansion kit.
While I believe the opposite would be true — that U90 expansion kits work on the Pro EXP — I haven’t had any readers confirm this yet. Assuming it is true, you could get the Pro EXP up to 90 lbs with the U90 Stage 2 and 3 kits. However, you wouldn’t be able to use the U90 Stage 4 kit (90-125 lbs) because the Pro EXP handle doesn’t have any additional slots to secure the kit with the selector pin.
As I’ve already mentioned, when discussing the Elite Series in this article, my focus is on the Elite USA rather than its Elite EXP counterpart. However, I’ll make an exception for this part of the article to discuss compatibility within the Elite Series line. Officially, the Elite EXP and Elite USA aren’t compatible. However, there’s a caveat to this:
- The Elite EXP expansion kits technically WILL fit onto an Elite USA set, BUT they’ll be a quarter-inch taller than the other blocks.
- The Elite USA expansion kits WON’T fit onto an Elite EXP set.
Both the Pro EXP and Pro 50 are compatible with all 3 PowerBlock dumbbell attachments:
The Elite Series dumbbells are not compatible with any accessories. The only models besides the Pro EXP and Pro 50 that are compatible with any of these accessories are the Commercial Pro 90 and 50, as well as the discontinued U50/U70/U90 sets.
The Pro Series dumbbells are made in China.
The Elite Series dumbbells, or more specifically the Elite USA model, are made in the USA. The Elite USA is the only PowerBlock dumbbell set made in America.
Both the Pro Series and Elite Series have a 5 year limited warranty, which is PowerBlock’s standard for their home-use line.
This 5 year home-use warranty covers manufacturer defects as well as damage from normal use, which includes drops from as high as 12 inches above the floor. It does NOT cover abuse, which includes but is not limited to drops higher than 12 inches.
When comparing the PowerBlock Pro vs Elite, there’s a significant price difference. This will play a big role in your decision if you’re on a tight budget.
I’ll outline the prices for each set below so you can easily compare costs. Just note that these figures do not include tax and shipping, which will vary based on your shipping destination:
Pro Series prices:
Elite Series prices:
PowerBlock Pro vs Elite: Which Should You Buy?
I hope my PowerBlock Pro vs Elite comparison guide has given you all of the details you needed to decide which PowerBlock dumbbell set is best for you.
However, if you’re still having trouble deciding, I’ll lay out when I think it makes sense to buy each model.
Here’s when I recommend buying the Pro EXP:
- If you want a dumbbell that can expand to a max weight of 90 lbs per hand.
- If you want the most protection from abrasions, and by extension, oxidation. The urethane molding over the plates outperforms the powder coating for this purpose.
- If you want the model that’s best able to withstand accidental drops. The non-welded “flex” design made possible by the urethane blocks makes the Pro EXPs the most impact-resistant expandable PowerBlock model.
- If you want the most comfortable-to-use expandable model. The urethane around the plates softens the edges of the blocks. This is apparent when you’re doing heavy shoulder press or bench press and have to kick the dumbbells up from your thighs.
- If you want to maximize the range of motion for your hand/wrist/forearm inside the dumbbell handle. The open handle design and wedge handle shape give the Pro EXP more usable space inside the handle than on any other home-use model.
- If you want to minimize noise during your workouts. PowerBlocks aren’t “loud” in general, but they do make some noise; particularly the non-urethane models since there is metal-on-metal contact between the plates. However, the urethane on the Pro EXP plates eliminates the metal-on-metal contact, making for a much quieter experience.
- If you want to use any of the PowerBlock accessories, such as the Straight Bar, EZ Curl and Kettlebell Handle. The Pro EXP is the only expandable PowerBlock model currently in production that works with all of these accessories.
Here’s when I recommend buying the Pro 50:
- If you won’t need more than 50 lbs per hand, either now or in the future.
- If you want the plethora of durability benefits (mentioned in the previous section) that result from the protective urethane molding over the plates and the non-welded “flex” design. This provides holistic protection against a range of things from scratches to rust to drops.
- If you want to minimize noise from the dumbbells. The urethane plates will give you a notably quieter experience compared to any other non-urethane PowerBlock model.
- If you want a non-expandable model with the greatest number of weight increments available. The Pro 50 has the most and smallest weight increments of any non-expandable model since it has small 5 lb weight blocks as well as two adder weights per handle, so you get access to ALL 2.5 lb increments from 5 to 50 lbs.
Here’s when I recommend buying the Pro 32:
- If you won’t need to go beyond 32 lbs per hand, either now or in the future.
- If you want a lightweight and super portable dumbbell set that you can easily bring to different locations (e.g. the park, personal training clients’ homes).
- If you want a more durable dumbbell. Just as with the other Pro Series models, the combination of the urethane coating and the non-welded “flex” design gives this set superior protection against scratches and oxidation as well as impacts, compared to the Elites and all other non-urethane PowerBlock models. Plus, they’re quieter during use.
Here’s when I recommend buying the Elite Series:
- If you want a dumbbell set that is expandable up to 90 lbs per hand.
- If you prefer to have an adjustable dumbbell set that’s made in the USA. The Elite USA is the only PowerBlock dumbbell set made in America.
- If you want padded wrist supports in the handles to provide passive wrist stabilization.
- If you’re on a limited budget. The Elite USA will save you $90-110 compared to the Pro EXP, depending on which stage you’re comparing.
- If you prefer the classic, old-school PowerBlock look, the Elite USA is your go-to choice.
If you think the PowerBlock Pro EXP is the best PowerBlock dumbbell set for you, but you still need more information, you can read my detailed PowerBlock Pro EXP review.
If you’re considering other PowerBlock models beyond just the Pro Series and Elite Series, take a look at my other PowerBlock guides, including:
- My PowerBlock dumbbells review, which goes over how PowerBlocks work, their pros and cons, and an overview of key features.
- My PowerBlock dumbbells buyer’s guide, which contains a detailed comparison chart of all models (in-production and discontinued), analyses of the different Series, plus my top picks.
- My PowerBlock Pro vs Sport comparison and review.
- My PowerBlock Elite vs Sport comparison and review.
- My PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP comparison and review, which is a must-read if you’re leaning toward the Elite Series.
2 thoughts on “PowerBlock Pro vs Elite: Find Out Which One Is Best for You”
You’re wrong about urethane connection is more durable than the welded designs. The urethane connectors will breakdown over time – especially in a warmer temp. Anything rubber is not good for stressed areas. As a covering or protective skin fine but not when there’s impact or stretch imposed onto it.There’s already comments and feedback about this. Google the forums.
Thanks for the comment, BigLampar! I’m glad you brought it to the discussion as I’ve been emailed by other readers about it a couple times.
Of course, steel is more durable than steel in an absolute sense. However, my position is that the urethane makes the Pros more durable in a very practical sense. That is, throughout the entire time someone owns their PowerBlocks, they’re likely to have at least some minor drops of the dumbbells. If a steel set (e.g. the Elites) is dropped, the steel will obviously not break (it’s super durable in that way), but there’s a chance that the steel will deform on impact; thereby making the dumbbells unusable because the blocks don’t fit together.
Whereas, if the same drop happens to the Pros, the urethane joint lets the blocks rotate and absorb the impact, ensuring the blocks don’t warp and they’ll still fit together. In this (practical) way, they’re more durable.
Now if you drop them all the time, which you shouldn’t, then yeah you’ll wear down the urethane. That constitutes abuse rather than normal use. Similarly, if you drop them from a super high height, you could have acute damage to the urethane joint. But again, that’d constitute abuse rather than normal use. And you shouldn’t treat either of metal or urethane sets in this way — it voids the warranty.
Regarding the urethane durability issues from forums, I think a lot of that stems from a lawsuit filed against PowerBlock, which actually ended up being dismissed with prejudice in favor of PowerBlock. From what I understand, it turned out the person who sued was beating pretty hard on a pair of U125s for 7 years (i.e. beyond normal use).
Like you mention, there are other mentions of urethane issues online, and while I don’t know the specific circumstances of those cases, the ones I’ve seen are from the discontinued Urethane Series — which have since been replaced by the Pro Series.
I haven’t heard of any issues thus far with the Pro Series urethane. And I’ve had my own pair for years now with no issues to report. Of course, I’ll update if anything ever changes. Furthermore, I reached out to PowerBlock to ask about the urethane material specifically. They told me that in the transition from the Urethane Series to the Pro Series, that beyond the wholistic redesign (i.e. changes to the aesthetics, balance, tolerances), their subcomponent suppliers were upgraded, QA & QC were increased and the urethane material was lab tested to confirm the quality (it came back very good).
That all being said, if someone is still more comfortable going with the “absolute durability” of steel vs the “practical durability” of urethane, they should by all means do that. Just be extra careful not to drop them to avoid the possible warping of the metal blocks. All in all, both models are great dumbbells from a high-level — after all, they share the same basic design and function.