The Best Adjustable Weights Systems – Powerblock vs Bowflex

Updated on
Written by Penny Cooper

The Powerblock vs Bowflex battle is one that has been raging for ages, but today we’ll settle this debate once and for all. Together we’ll investigate the features of both dumbbells, compare them, and examine the pros and cons.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we’ve discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

The two best adjustable dumbbells are thoroughly investigated in this post. They are:

Both of these superb dumbbell sets feature in our best dumbbells sets for home reviews as well as our guide to how adjustable dumbbells work.

Here is a quick run down of the Powerblock and Bowflex dumbbell systems.

The Powerblock Dumbbell

At first glance, anyone new to using weights may not even realize that the Powerblock is an adjustable dumbbell; I know I didn’t when I first saw them. Founder Carl Towley conceptualized its square shape and unique design in 1993.

To adjust the Powerblock dumbbells, you simply have to stick its magnetic pin into the particular weight that you desire for your workout. Then, lift it up and get to work.

There are three Powertech models: The Pro, Sport and Elite Series—all with varying weights and prices. And if you ever outgrow those weight ranges, then you can buy an expansion pack and keep those muscle gains coming.

41USyVKvFpL. SL500

ir?t=midlifehacks0e 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07YL1XKHKPros:

  • Square-shaped weights won’t roll away when you place them on a surface.
  • Compact design.
  • Ten-year warranty on some models, five-year warranty on most.
  • More even weight distribution.


  • No options for staggered resistance.
  • Protruding pin.
  • Adjusting the 2.5 pound weight increments takes longer.

The Bowflex

Bowflex prides itself on being the creator of the very first selectorized adjustable dumbbell system in the world. It was the brainchild of Ethiopian engineering student Tessema Dosho Shifferaw, who started promoting Bowflex directly to customers in the early 1980s.

The Bowflex has more of a traditional design with rounded weights at each of its ends. All you have to do is adjust the dial to your heaviness of choice, and you’ll be ready. See vid below.

31n7vF7CGXL. SL500

There are three models of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells: The 552, 560, and 1090 dumbbells. These versions all have their own unique weight ranges and prices, detailed 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B001ARYU58


  • Two-year warranty.
  • User-friendly design.
  • Staggered resistance available.
  • Some models are BlueTooth enabled, and all models have an accompanying app.


  • Large amounts of plastic are used in the design, which lessens its durability.
  • There are no options for increasing the maximum weight of the dumbbell.
  • The length of the handle can be an inconvenience in some exercises.

Powerblock vs Bowflex Face to Face

To really get to the nitty-gritty of the Bowflex vs Powerblock battle, we have to zoom in on some important features that are common to adjustable dumbbells.

The end result of these two popular adjustable dumbbell systems is the same, to be quickly able to change the weight resistance of a dumbbell.

But the means to that end is different.

Ease of Adjustment

The Bowflex dumbbells boast an adjustment system that’s quick and extremely easy to use. It reduced my adjustment time between sets to just five seconds.

You simply have to turn a dial to the exact weight you want to lift, and you’ll be ready to go. Its select tech dials are located on each end of the dumbbell with fifteen weight adjustments for you to choose from.

Interestingly, the adjustment system of the Bowflex dumbbells lets you take advantage of staggered resistance. “What is staggered resistance?” you ask. Well, staggered resistance allows you to put a heavier weight on one side of the dumbbell than the other.

This arrangement is not one that is widely used but it may prove to be very useful for certain exercises, such as overhead tricep extensions. If you are new to strength training using weights then this is probably an unnecessary feature.

The Powerblock dumbbell has an adjustment system that is more simple than the Bowflex dumbbells. This is because you have to simply insert a magnetic selector pin into the colored rails at its sides. This corresponds to the colored weight charts on top of it. It’s still pretty quick and easy to change the weight plates though.

Once the pin has been completely inserted into the desired slot, then you’ll be good to go. The magnetic pin helps you change your resistance by five-pound weight increments. This video demonstrates.