PowerBlock vs Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells

powerblock vs bowflexMany different Beachbody programs, like P90X, ChaLEAN Extreme, Insanity: the Asylum, Body Beast, etc. use resistance training in their workouts.  And if you enjoy doing your workouts from your living room like I do you might be considering purchasing some adjustable dumbbells.  If you have a membership and like working out at the gym or if you already have a full rack of individual dumbbells then you’re not worried about this, but if you are like me and have limited space and don’t already have other equipment then adjustable dumbbells are a great option.  While there are many options out there, it seems that there are two leading brands that most people use so I wanted to compare PowerBlock vs Bowflex.

*And just a note, I have no financial interest in either company, so I just wanted to give an unbiased opinion here.  I’ve actually owned both brands at one time so I have experience with both.

PowerBlock vs Bowflex – Bowflex Pro’s and Con’s

My first pair of adjustable dumbbells were the Bowflex Selecttech 552’s.  I owned them for about a year and they more than did the job.  They were a very good pair of dumbbells, but I did recently sell them and no longer own them.  That being said, in my mind, the pro’s of the Bowflex Selecttech dumbbells are:

-Very easy to adjust
-Good range of weights, from 5 lbs.-52.5lbs.
-2.5 lb increments up to 25 lbs then 5 lb increments
-Have their own small platforms
-Great for P90X and ChaLEAN Extreme

The cons of the Bowflex Selecttech dumbbells in my opinion are:

-A little bulky
-Retail price at $400
-Only go to 52.5 lbs.
-My hands would slip on the grips when very sweaty
-Not confident when holding them while in a plank position, potential to break parts

The last con was really the sticking point for me.  Some of the workouts in Asylum and P90X2 have you in a plank position while holding the dumbbells, so a good amount of your weight would be on the dumbbells themselves.  I always modified these moves because I had heard  from other people who had broken the weight changing mechanism while doing these moves.  From their experience it sounded like the added pressure could possible break that part which I believe is made of plastic.  I really loved how quick the weights were to change and how easy to use they were, but I really didn’t want to break them at some point and be out of luck since they are not cheap.  As far as my other con’s, some of them can be addressed too.  Bowflex sells Selecttech 1090’s that go up to 90 lbs. so if 50 isn’t enough they do have an option for you.  And they also run discounts pretty frequently, so you can usually get a better deal than $400 for the pair.  Overall, Bowflex makes a very high quality product and they work great, so don’t worry if you already have them!

PowerBlock vs Bowflex – PowerBlock pro’s and con’s

Now on to PowerBlock’s in the PowerBlock vs Bowflex battle.  I currently own a pair of PowerBlock Classic 50’s and they are the pair I use every day.  In my opinion, the pro’s of Powerblock are:

-Extremely sturdy
-Comfortable and non-slip grip
-Easy to use
-Can buy add-on kits to increase weight
-Very compact

And the con’s in my opinion are:

-Changing mechanism takes a little while to get used to
-Only go up in 5 lb increments
– Not very stylish
-No built-in platform

Overall, I love my PowerBlock dumbbells.  The main reason I went with them is that they are more sturdy.  There really isn’t anything to break on the dumbbells because the only part that moves is the piece you slide in to lock the weights.  It uses magnets and I have never had a problem with changing weights or weights slipping off.  I can confidently be in a plank while holding them which is great.  My pair currently only goes to 50 lbs but there are add-on kits you can buy instead of having to get a whole new pair.  My set also just goes up in 5 lb increments, but most of them actually have 2.5 lb increments as well.  I gave up a little flexibility in the weight range for the sturdiness of the design.

PowerBlock vs Bowflex – My Thoughts

In my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with either brand.  Both PowerBlock and Bowflex make very high quality products that should more than meet your needs.  But if I have to choose between PowerBlock vs Bowflex  I would go with PowerBlock.  For me, it really came down to the more sturdy design.  I knew I was giving up a little flexibility with the weight ranges and some of the ease of switching weights, but I was willing to live with that.  Plus, I found a very good deal on my PowerBlock set which made it easier to make that choice too.  Again, you can’t really go wrong with either, but if I had to choose between the two I would go with PowerBlock.

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  1. […] do resistance training.  Most people think of dumbbells first, which is a great option.  I have adjustable dumbbells which I really enjoy and save a ton of space and money.  You can also use resistance bands […]

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