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Does anyone really want to buy a bunch of dumbbells? They take up lots of space and often cost too much money. That’s why adjustable dumbbells were invented. They’re convenient, affordable when you consider how much you’re getting, and are easy to store. Today we’re comparing Bowflex adjustable dumbbells vs Powerblock. These two titans are considered the best of the best, but which is right for you?
In our Powerblock vs Bowflex adjustable dumbbells review we are going to look into overall weight, increments, weight adjustment, grip comfort, storage, and any other differences.
By the end of this you’ll know if Bowflex or Powerblock is right for you.
Weight and Increments
Everyone loves adjustable dumbbells because they give you access to a wide weight range, but require very little storage space. However, you have to consider how much weight you’re actually getting. You also need to think about the increments.
For example, do you want dumbbells that have large increments, like 10lbs for each adjustment? Probably not because it’d be too hard for your muscles to adjust to the progressive load.
The best dumbbells have a good weight range so that you can use them at any fitness level, and the increments should be small and consistent.
Let’s start by looking at the overall weight:
- Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells: 5-52.5lbs
- Powerblock Elite Dumbbells: 5-50lbs
In this regard they are almost equal. They both have the same starting weight. Bowflex has a slightly higher maximum weight, but only by 2.5lbs. We’d say they’re fairly equal here.
What about the adjustment increments?
The increments are:
- Bowflex: 2.5lb increments up to 25lbs, 5lb increments from 25lbs to 52.5lbs
- Powerblock: 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 (ranges between 2.5lb and 5lb adjustments)
It’s hard to choose a winner here because they are both consistent, but in different ways. Bowflex offers 2.5lb adjustments to a certain point and then jumps to 5lb adjustment. Powerblock is mostly 5lb adjustments, but every few steps has a 2.5lb adjustment (such as with 7.5lbs, 27.5lbs, and 37.5lbs).
It’s hard to choose a winner here. We like Powerblock a bit more because the increments seem a little more consistent and easier to work with (especially at the heavier weights), but both are great.
You might be wondering how to adjust weights with an adjustable dumbbell. Every model is a little different and that’s actually what we’re covering in this section. Cheap dumbbells might easily catch or be difficult to properly adjust. While these are both premium dumbbells meant for serious athletes or anyone looking to lose weight, you might be wondering which is best.
Is Bowflex 552 vs Powerblock better? They offer significantly different adjustment methods, so let’s examine them and see which is right for you.
Starting with SelectTech by Bowflex, the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell set has a simple dial on both ends of the hand weight. The numbers on the dial signify the amount of weight you want to use. Simply select the right weight and pull up. It couldn’t be easier.
It’s very rare for the Bowflex dumbbell to get stuck. This might happen if the dial is in a half-position, but simply jiggle the dial and try again.
What about the Powerblock adjustment dumbbell? They are just as easy to adjust, but it’s a completely different method. Powerblock weights have a secure magnetic polypropylene pin on the side. Simply slide out the pin and place it in the right position.
The positions are color-coded based on weight. The weight increments are posted on the top of the weights. For example, if you want between 45-50 pounds, then slide the pin into the green section. It’s that simple.
While both are easy, we have to give the win to Bowflex SelectTech weights. First of all, we think the clearly labeled numbers are a little easier to use. You don’t have to consult a guide and then pick the right position. Just dial the right number and pull up.
Also, while color coding makes it easier to know which position is right, this might be hard for those who are colorblind.
Both are easy to use and most people have no problems adjusting the weight with either, but we think that Bowflex is just a little easier than Powerblock. Again, this is a very close call and both should be ideal for your weight training needs.
Powerblock vs Bowflex: Grip Comfort
Never overlook grip comfort when checking out dumbbells, barbells, or any other kind of weight. You don’t want something that will slip out of your hand, especially if you’re lifting near your max and already have a hard time controlling your arms and hands.
Smooth handles with no grip are the worst. You can counter this by using weight lifting gloves if you have them (or you can always buy a pair, they’re pretty affordable). Even still, you want a good grip that is reliable and won’t let the weight easily slip out of your hands.
So, which has the better grip, Powerblock or Bowflex? Let’s find out.
Bowflex 552 SelectTech handles are made from a firm material and have the Bowflex logo imprinted on them. These stylized B logos dig into your hands, which gives you a good grip whether you’re doing bicep curls, squats, lateral raises, or bench presses. However, the Bowflex logo will likely be imprinted on your hand for a few seconds when you’re done.
That sounds like a small price to pay for good grip. If it bothers you, then consider using lifting gloves to protect your hands.
The Powerblock adjustable Elite dumbbell handles are smooth, unlike the Bowflex ones, but they are slightly padded. It’s just a tiny bit, but this adds some comfort while also allowing you to squeeze them enough for a good grip.
This is another close call with Powerblock vs Bowflex 552, but we like Powerblock’s grip just a little bit more. It’s a little more comfortable, but we would say both are safe and give you good grip.
But, if you prefer a more solid grip, then Bowflex’s handle is firmer.
Bowflex vs Powerblock: Storage Tray
How are the dumbbells stored? Some sets come with trays while others are expected to lay on the ground. We think Bowflex is the better of the two here, but like every other category, it’s very close.
Bowflex actually comes with a storage tray. It’s a tough plastic that lays anywhere. You can put it on the ground, a table, or any other secure area. It has two wide feet and it won’t wobble on flat surfaces. Plus, the tray looks good. It adds to the overall aesthetic of the dumbbells and holds all your weights while you’re working out.
On the other hand, Powerblock doesn’t come with a storage tray. This might be a problem with round weights like Bowflex, but Powerblock is square-shaped and flat. You won’t have to worry about the weights moving around or anyone tripping over them (as long as the dumbbells are put in a good place, of course).
There is a Powerblock tray, but it’s a separate purchase. Or, you can just put in on a flat surface and call it a day, whatever is best for you.
Bowflex is just a tiny bit better, but honestly, they are pretty much the same. Both will be safe and secure.
However, one thing we will say in Powerblock’s favor is that it works better if you lose the tray. Bowflex has several round weights. You pick up some when you dial a weight, but the other plates stay on the tray. This can be problematic without the tray.
Powerblock doesn’t have this problem. The extra weights stay on the ground or wherever you place them, whether you get the optional tray or not.
Difference Between Bowflex and Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells
It’s funny because despite looking so different, there are many similarities between these weights. They have similar weight ranges, are easy to switch between weights, save space, make any exercises easy, and lay flat with ease.
So, what are there differences between Powerblock and Bowflex?
There are a few things we found.
While both have expansion systems for more weight, Powerblock’s are easier to implement. Just fit the default set inside the expansion set and you’re good to go. It only takes a few seconds to double your weight.
Bowflex’s expansion system is a little harder to add to the base unit. It’s not hard, but it takes more effort than with Powerblock.
Both are simple to change, but Bowflex is much faster and easier to change weights on the fly. If your workout consists of supersets and little rest, then Bowflex will work much better for you. Powerblock is fast, but you’ll have to change the inner core weight, move the pin, make sure it’s in the right position by reading the guide on top, and so on.
Lastly, Powerblock’s shape does more than give it improved stability. Want to do pushups with the dumbbells (either to add extra weight or stability)? Powerblock is ideal for this. The square shape will keep it flat and secure as you exercise. We can’t say the same about Bowflex.
So, who wins the Bowflex SelectTech 552 vs Powerblock debate? It’s a tough call because both are premium products that are ideal for building muscle with weight training. We like Bowflex’s simple dial system, attractive storage tray, and the handle gives you good grip. But, Powerblock has a great shape that allows for pushups, it’s easier to expand, and the grip is more comfortable.
You won’t lose with either Powerblock or Bowflex. Consider the key advantages of each and you should figure out fairly easily which one is right for you.