Are PowerBlock Pro Adjustable Dumbbells Worth It?

There’s no shortage of dumbbells on the market, but of all the different brands, there’s one that stands above the crowd: PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells. A rectangular profile makes them quite distinguishable, to say the least, but their shape isn’t the only reason why this brand has received a ton of attention: they’re exceptionally durable, are incredibly easy to use, their weight ratings are very accurate, and they offer an array of options; plus, as far as dumbbells go, they’re pretty affordable

In this review, our editorial team decided to focus on some of the most popular PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells: EXP, Pro 90, and Pro 50. We tested out each option, and we compiled our findings below. 

home dumbbells for bicep workout

An Overview of PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells 

To reiterate, PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells are easily the easiest to use adjustable dumbbells presently on the market. You can quickly change the weights, and the mechanisms for changing the weights is so simple, you might actually feel a bit perplexed by the ease of use – especially if you’ve used other dumbbell brands before. In our honest opinion, we believe that the value that PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells offer is quite fantastic. 

However, despite the above-mentioned benefits, like everything else in life, PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells are not perfect. Firstly, because of their rectangular shape, they don’t feel like traditional dumbbells. Also, some weightlifters might find that they’re a bit uncomfortable to use, especially when they are just starting out but after that initial learning curve their utility as compact home gym dumbbell sets really starts to shine.

PowerBlock Dumbbells Compared

Skinny Yoked PowerBlock Shopping Advice

After trying out the PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells, the following are some of our expert recommendations, based on our findings: 

  • We know we’ve pointed this out a few times already, but we feel that it’s so important to reiterate that PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells definitely don’t feel like your standard fixed dumbbells. This is largely due to the fact that they feature a boxy shape and the handles are caged. 
  • If you’re planning on lifting heavier weights and you want to add a little more weight, investing in the extender options is definitely worth your while. If you don’t intend on lifting a lot of weight, the non-expendable options will do you just fine and are a great value. 
  • If you’re looking to lift super heavy weights, we recommend that you purchase the Commercial Pro PowerBlock rather than the regular Pro, as well as the expansion kits, as they’ll give you up to 175 pounds in each hand. 

PowerBlock Pro Dumbbells Pros and Cons

Here’s a look at the list of pros and cons that we compiled after testing out the PowerBlock Pro Dumbbells. 

5 Reasons Why PowerBlock’s PRO Series Rocks

  1. Fast adjustment. If rapid weight adjustment is important to you, then you’re definitely going to love PowerBlock Pro Adjustable dumbbells. We found that it took, on average, about 2 to 5 seconds to change out the weights of the dumbbells. Of all of the brands we’ve used before, no other option was that quick to adjust. If you’re planning on including lots of supersetting or other kinds of cross training in your workout (or if you’re just impatient, which is totally understandable, as we can be, too), then rapid weight adjustment is definitely key. According to our editorial team, this is by far the greatest advantage of these dumbbells. 
  2. Self-contained storage. Another really cool thing about PowerBlock Pro is that the use a self-contained storage mechanism. With this mechanism, the weights and handles of the dumbbells “nest” within one another, making them quite compact for easy storage, which is definitely a big plus. If you’re short on storage space, or you just want to keep things neat and tidy and don’t want to dedicate a lot of space to storing your weights, then you’ll love this advantage, as you won’t need additional space to accommodate each individual weight plate. With that said, however, it’s still a wise idea to have a dumbbell stand for safe and efficient racking between sets and when you’re done using them. 
  3. Compact size. Of all the different dumbbells on the market, PowerBlock Adjustable are, by far, the most compact; well, at least in terms of length. The compact size is definitely beneficial, particularly for using the ideal path of movement for bicep curls (like not maneuvering the dumbbells around your hips). Plus, generally speaking, the smaller size makes the weights a lot easier to remain in control of when you’re doing heavy workouts. 
  4. Durability. Dumbbells are an investment, and the last thing you want to find is that the dumbbells you spent your hard-earned money on are rusting out or are otherwise damaged. That definitely won’t be the case with PowerBlock Pro! These things are so incredibly durable that they will last you for years without rusting out, breaking, or requiring any repairs. Now, with that said, they aren’t immune from superficial dings, scratches, and bumps. Also, you totally aren’t going to want to drop them, which goes without saying, but we think it’s important to point out. 
  5. Warranties. Another totally awesome benefit of PowerBlock Pro dumbbells is that they are backed by a 5 year limited warranty, and that warrant extends to all of the manufacturer’s equipment. It used to be that type and length of the warranty varied from model to model; however, a few years ago, the company released their Pro Series, and with it, a 5 year warranty, which they applied to all other series. 

4 Reasons Why PowerBlock Dumbbells Might Not Be For You

Nothing in life is perfect and there are always some downsides to everything, and PowerBlock Pro dumbbells are no exception. So, here’s a look at some of the cons that our editorial team discovered: 

  1. They’re kind of pricy. They aren’t cheap. It will cost you a few to several hundred dollars to purchase PowerBlock Pro Dumbbells. However, good quality dumbbells aren’t going to be cheap. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you find a set of dumbbells that are really affordably priced, you should be suspicious. In terms of pricing, the amount you’ll spend depends on which set you’re purchasing and any additional accessories you might want. That said, on average, you can expect to spend about $900, give or take, plus shipping and handling, on a high-end set, and about $770, give or take, plus shipping and handling, on a lower-end set. Shipping rates vary and depend on the destination. 
  2. Compatibility issues. Another downside of PowerBlock Pro dumbbells is that there are some compatibility issues. They make several different product series and models, which is nice, as you have a lot of variety, in terms of options, to choose from; however, the components of the different dumbbell sets generally aren’t compatible with one another. Being aware of this is definitely recommended so that you can make sure you are okay with the capabilities and the limitations of the model you’re interested in before you decide to purchase it, as you won’t be able to modify the weight increments or increase the max weight with extension kits or with other components from other models. 
  3. Dumbbell stand is extra. A lot of dumbbells come with their own stand; however, that isn’t the case with PowerBlock Pro, which is unfortunate. While this brings down the initial price of the dumbbell sets, if you want one, you’ll have to spend extra in order to purchase one, so in the end, you’re paying the same. We should point out that it isn’t necessary to have a stand with PowerBlock Pro dumbbells, but it’s still a good idea, as it keeps things neat, tidy, organized, and easy to access. 
  4. They have a different look and feel. As pointed out above, PowerBlock Pro dumbbells have a unique look and feel. They feature pillars in at least two of the corners, and those surround the handle, creating a rectangular shape. They also feature weight brackets rather than standard plates. In regard to the feeling, some users have reported that they feel a bit unnatural, and some of the testers on our editorial team agreed. Part of the reason for that unnatural feeling is due to the fact that the dumbbells aren’t perfectly balanced, which is expected from an adjustable dumbbell system. Additionally, there’s a slight shift when you rotate the dumbbells while you’re moving them (like when you’re doing bicep curls, for example), and while the movement is very slight, you might notice it, and it does take some getting used to. 

PowerBlock Pro EXP Review: For Seasoned Lifters Only

There are three different stages of PowerBlock Pro EXP sets: 1, 2, and 3. You can purchase any of these stages as sets – the handles and all of the weight blocks in one. For instance, if you’d like the heaviest dumbbell, you can purchase the Stage 3 set.

You can also purchase a lighter stage set and then upgrade to a heavier stage later on, if you’d like. For example, if you were to purchase a Stage 1 set now, you could upgrade it later on by purchasing the Stage 2 Expansion Kit, and later on, you could then purchase the Stage 3 Expansion Kit; both of which are sold separately. 

Here’s our review of the three EXP sets. 

PowerBlock EXP Adjustable Dumbbells, Sold in Pairs, Stage 1, 5-50 Lb. Dumbbells, Durable Steel Build, Innovative Workout Equipment, All-in-One Dumbbells, Expandable with Expansion Kits
  • ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS SET: Elevate your fitness and performance with strength-training equipment that adjusts with you. These PowerBlock dumbbells have a range of 5-50 pounds per hand, an open design handle, and easy weight identification.

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 1 Set

This is the base EXP set, and it comes with a pair of handles, as well as the weight blocks that you use to make dumbbells that range in weight from 5 to 50 pounds per dumbbell, in 2.5 pound increments. If you were to buy the Stage 1 Set, you could upgrade to the 70 pound Stage 2 by buying the Pro EXP Stage 2 Expansion Kit, which ranges from 50 to 70 pounds. Even further down the road, you could upgrade again by purchasing the full 90 pound Stage 3 Set with the Pro EXP Stage 3 Expansion Kit, which weighs from 70 to 90 pounds. 

PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells, Sold in Pairs, 5-50 lb. Dumbbells, Durable Steel Build, Innovative Workout Equipment, All-in-One Dumbbells
  • ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS SET: Elevate your fitness and performance with strength-training equipment that adjusts with you. These PowerBlock dumbbells have a range of 5-50 pounds per hand, a rubber grip handle, and easy weight identification.

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 2 Set

The PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 2 Set comes with a pair of handles, as well as the weight blocks to make dumbbells that vary in weight from 5 to 79 pounds per dumbbell, and like the Stage 1 Set, the increments go up in 2.5 pounds. If you were to purchase the Stage 2 Set now and you want more weight down the road, you could purchase the Stage 3 Expansion 90 Kit. 

PowerBlock USA Elite 5-50lbs Dumbbell Set
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 Set

Last but certainly not least is the Pro EXP Stage 3 Set. Like the previous two sets, this one comes with a pair of handles, as well as the weight blocks to be used to make each of your dumbbells. The weights range from 5 to 90 pounds per dumbbell, and they increase in 2.5 pound increments. 

PowerBlock EXP 70-90lb. Dumbbell Kit, Stage 3 Expansion Kit, Only Compatible After Stage 1 & Stage 2 EXP Adjustable Dumbbells Purchase, Durable Steel, Innovative Workout Equipment
  • ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS SET: Elevate your fitness and performance with strength-training equipment that adjusts with you. This PowerBlock Expansion Kit provides the option to take your PowerBlock EXP Adjustable Dumbbell set up to 90 pounds.

PowerBlock Pro Expansion Kits

The following is an overview of the PowerBlock Pro Expansion Kits. 

  • Stage 2. The Stage 2 Expansion Kit comes with a pair of yellow and blue weight blocks, and allow you to make dumbbells that we between 50 and 70 pounds each. 
  • Stage 3. The Stage 3 Expansion Kit comes with a set of yellow and blue weight blocks, which lets you make dumbbells that weigh between 70 and 90 pounds each. 

PowerBlock Pro Adjustment Mechanism and Process

It’s important to point out the process involved with adjusting the weights, which, as pointed out, is an incredibly quick and super easy process – and is one of the primary advantages of the PowerBlock Pro adjustable dumbbells. 

There are two kinds of weight adjustments that can be made: 

  • Macro-adjustments. Adjustments that are made in multiples of 10 are macro-adjustments, and involve adding on or removing one or more of the primary weight plates (or blocks would be the better description) to the dumbbells. 
  • Micro-adjustments. Adjustments that are made between 2.5 pounds and 5 pounds, are known as micro-adjustments. In order to make these adjustments, you’ll need to add or remove either one or both of the add-on weights from the handles of the dumbbells. 

Final Thoughts On PowerBlock’s Adjustable Dumbbells

Overall, our editorial team was very impressed by the PowerBlock Pro Adjustable dumbbells. They found that they were super easy to use, that they were very durable, and that they offered a variety of options, making them a stand-out choice. 

At the end of the day if you want to grow bigger arms you need to work them out frequently. This is because the muscle bodies themselves are not very large so you cannot just brute overload them like you may do with your quads or lats for example.

Finding equipment that has a wide variety and range while also taking up a very small footprint is an enormous challenge for home gym designers or backyard shed gym builders. Adjustable selectable dumbbells like the PowerBlocks or even the Bowflex SelectTech are great solutions for large varieties in dumbbell weights without requiring a full-sized gym style rack.

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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