Comparing the two titans of the adjustable dumbbell world- PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex 552- can leave you even more perplexed than before you even started! I purchased both to find out which one really is better.
The PowerBlock Elite is generally better than the Bowflex 552. It has a superior range of weight settings, a better handle, greater comfort during exercise, longer-lasting durability, and a lengthier warranty policy. However, they are both very good adjustable dumbbells.
I’ve tested both dumbbells for 2 years now to find out what they have to offer.
I’ve also dug into Reddit to find out what other people think.
Keep reading to find out why I think the PowerBlocks are generally better!
- Summary: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
- Pros And Cons: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
- Which Has The Better Weight Settings?
- Which Has The Better Adjustment Mechanism?
- Which Has The Better Handle?
- Which Performs Better On Dumbbell Exercises?
- Which Has The Better Materials And Durability?
- Which Has The Better Space Savings?
- Which Has The Better Warranty?
- Shipping Comparison
- Reddit’s Opinion On PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
- Conclusion: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552: Which Is Better?
Summary: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
Here’s a summary table comparing the PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex 552 and which dumbbell is better:
|Metric||PowerBlock Elite||Bowflex 552||Which Is Better?|
|Weight Settings||Replaces up to 28 weights with 2.5-5lb increments||Replaces 15 weights with 2.5-5lb increments||Powerblock|
|Adjustment Mechanism||Pin-selector with chrome adder weight inserts||Dial-selector||Bowflex|
|Handle||Contoured thermoplastic rubber full handle with 7″ length and 4.7″ diameter||Contoured textured neoprene half-sleeve with 7″ length and 4.7″ diameter||PowerBlock|
|Exercise Performance||Compact block-shape||Bulky dumbbell-shape||PowerBlock|
|Materials & Durability||Powder-coated steel weight plates||Heavy-duty plastic weight plates||PowerBlock|
|Space Savings||11.75”x6”x6” dimensions (LxWxH)||17″x7.5″x9″ |
|Warranty||5 years limited||2 years limited||PowerBlock|
|Shipping||2 weeks on Amazon||2 weeks on Amazon||Tie|
Comparing the PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex SelectTech 552 side-by-side, the PowerBlock wins in most metrics.
It has a superior weight selection, handle, shape, durability, dimensions, and warranty cover.
The Bowflex adjustment mechanism is the only metric where the 552 performs better than the Powerblock Elite (in my opinion).
Pros And Cons: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
Here’s a summary table for what’s good and bad about the PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells:
|Small 2.5-5lb increments are perfect for smooth strength progression.||2.5lb adder weight adjustment can be slow and cumbersome.||Small 2.5-5lb increments are perfect for smooth strength progression.||Cannot be expanded o 90lbs per dumbbell like the PowerBlock.|
|Pin-selector is fast to adjust in 10lb increments.||Color-coded weight chart takes time to get used to.||Dial adjustment is quick and intuitive to use in all increments.||Plastic internal locking plates can jam or break if not looked after.|
|Comfortable handle with plenty of grip.||Closed-handle design can be restrictive for fists with a >5.5″ diameter.||Comfortable open handle suitable for all hand sizes.||Textured neoprene grip only covers a portion of the handle.|
|Compact block-shape makes it perform well on most exercises.||Can be awkward to grip on certain exercises like the leg raise and pull-over.||Conventional dumbbell-shape is preferred by most people.||Dumbbell length remains the same regardless of chosen weight (feels very bulky).|
|Steel rail design is extremely sturdy.||Steel plates can scratch and damage flooring if dropped.||Heavy-duty plastic weight plates are non-abrasive and won’t damage flooring.||Shape and design are not as sturdy as Powerblock Elite.|
|Extremely compact and easy to store.||Steel plates can be abrasive on hardwood and tiled floors.||Cradle and plastic weight plates are gentle on hard floors.||Extremely bulky compared to the compact PowerBlock Elite.|
|Industry-leading 5 year warranty that permits damage from falls of <12″.||Warranty does not cover misuse, abuse, and general wear and tear.||2-year warranty is just above average for adjustable dumbbells.||Warranty does not cover drops, misuse, abuse, and general wear and tear.|
|Fast and relatively cheap to deliver from Amazon.||Ships in 2 parcels which increases the likelihood of handling issues.||Fast and relatively cheap to deliver from Amazon.||Ships in 2 parcels which increases the likelihood of handling issues.|
Next, I’ll dive deeper into the details to give you a better idea of why each dumbbell is good and bad, and why the Powerblock is generally better.
Which Has The Better Weight Settings?
- Both dumbbells feature 2.5-5lb increments. Small increments are ideal for smooth strength progression, especially in small movements like the bicep curl. It’s easier to add 2.5lbs to a curl than it is to add 10lbs right?
- Both dumbbells have a 50lb max capacity. This is generally enough for most beginners and intermediates to build muscle and lose fat at home.
- PowerBlock Elite can be expanded to 90lbs. Many PowerBlock models can be expanded with more weight settings and a heavier max weight if and when you outgrow the base model. This offers tremendous flexibility and versatility for progression. The Bowflex 552 can’t do this.
Which Has The Better Adjustment Mechanism?
- Both mechanisms are relatively well-designed. The Bowflex 552 and PowerBlock Elite both take under 4 seconds to select your desired weight.
- Bowflex dial mechanism is quicker and more intuitive. Simply rotate the dial to the desired weight. This is one of the biggest reasons why the Bowflex dumbbells are worth it for so many people. In comparison, the PowerBlock weight color-coded weight adjustment takes a few weeks to get used to.
- PowerBlock 2.5lb adder weight feature is slow. Whilst this is a neat feature that allows you to micro load in 2.5lbs at all weight ranges (Bowflex only adjusts in 2.5lbs up to 25lbs), it’s also slow to adjust. You need to remove the handle from the main weight nest to access the cavity which the adder weights insert into.
You can find the cheapest BowFlex price here.
Which Has The Better Handle?
- Both dumbbell handles have good dimensions. They’re not too thick or too thin. Perfect for small and large hands alike.
- Bowflex 552 neoprene sleeve only covers half the handle. This is such a big design flaw in my opinion. The sleeve itself is actually quite good and grippy. But it only covers a portion of the handle. The uncovered regions offer no grip whatsoever.
- PowerBlock Elite handle provides a good grip along the entire length. The contoured TPR (thermoplastic rubber) is tacky and provides a good grip along with the whole handle. Just be aware the closed-handle design (wrist guards on either side) make this dumbbell unstable for people with a fist diameter >5.5″.
Which Performs Better On Dumbbell Exercises?
- Most if not all exercises can be performed on both dumbbells. This includes compound movements as well as isolation-type lifts. All of the popular lifts like the bench press, squat, row, deadlift, curl, and flyes can be performed with the PowerBlock Elite and Bowflex 552.
- Bowflex 552 has a bulky shape. It’s bulky enough as it is. But what’s worse is that the length remains the same regardless of which weight you choose. This makes small exercises like the bicep curl awkward to perform as the dumbbells can bash into each other and restrict your range of motion.
- PowerBlock Elite has a compact shape. It may look awkward, but it feels very natural in your hands. The compact design means you can lift the dumbbell freely without them striking each other. The dumbbell pull-over and leg raise are the only two exercises the Elite doesn’t work so well on. It’s hard to grip the dumbbell in these movements.
Which Has The Better Materials And Durability?
- Both are relatively durable for adjustable dumbbells. They’ll last you for years if looked after properly and not abused.
- Bowflex 552 cannot take bodyweight. I like the fact that the plastic weight plates are non-abrasive on your flooring. But the Bowflex 552 is structurally nowhere near as sturdy as the PowerBlock Elite. It can’t be dropped (as directly advised by Bowflex) and it can’t safely take your bodyweight in exercises like the dumbbell push-up. The plates also wobble in the handle (as shown in pic).
- PowerBlock Elite is extremely sturdy. I don’t like the fact that the bare metal plates can scratch a tiled/hard floor if dragged along it or dropped. But you can’t deny the PowerBlock Elite is sturdy AF! They can be dropped from heights <12″ and will comfortably take your bodyweight in movements like the dumbbell push-up.
Note: there are over 10 different PowerBlock models. Whilst they may all look the same, there are certain differences between each PowerBlock model you should be aware of if you’re looking to buy a pair!
Which Has The Better Space Savings?
- Both are adjustable dumbbells. These are designed to save space at the end of the day and they both do that perfectly well.
- The Bowflex 552 is much bulkier. The 552 saves you a lot of space compared to owning a hex dumbbell set. But it’s also much bulkier than the PowerBlock Elite. In other words, whilst both dumbbells save you space, the PowerBlock saves you the MOST space.
- The Powerblock Elite is small and compact. It occupies around 25% less cubic inch volume compared to the Bowflex 552. The PowerBlock Elites can also be stacked on top of each other. With that said, I don’t like how the PowerBlocks metal plates sit directly on your floor during storage, compared to the Bowflex 552s which sit in a cradle.
Which Has The Better Warranty?
- Both dumbbells have a limited warranty. The warranty period only lasts x-number of years (not a lifetime) and covers you for manufacturing faults in the weight plate, adjustment mechanism, and moving parts. It doesn’t cover wear and tear, damage through misuse and abuse, and dumbbells that have been modified.
- Bowflex 552 warranty only lasts 2 years. This is just above average in the industry but nowhere near as long as PowerBlocks 5 year warranty. Additionally, Bowflex doesn’t cover you for damage as a result of dropping the dumbbell and also charges to ship replacement parts.
- PowerBlock Elite warranty lasts 5 years. Not only is this longer than the Bowflex 552, but PowerBlock also covers falls within 12″ and also ships parts to you free of charge! This industry-leading warranty policy alone is why many people think PowerBlocks are worth it.
- Both have similar manufacturing lines. Both the Bowflex and the PowerBlock are Made in China but designed in the USA.
- They both take around 1-2 weeks to ship. I live in Hong Kong and both dumbbells took just under 2 weeks to deliver to my door. I’m guessing Europe, Canada, Asia, and Australia require a similar amount of time. US shipping will likely not take as long.
- Bowflex 552 is shipped in one box and PowerBlock Elite in 2 boxes. This isn’t an issue for the PowerBlocks since both dumbbells arrived at a similar time anyway.
Reddit’s Opinion On PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552
To obtain a balanced perspective on the battle between PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552, I decided to take to Reddit to see what others thought.
I tracked down the following two Reddit threads:
Then I compiled the results:
In support of the opinions expressed in this post, 75% of Redditors agreed that PowerBlocks are better than the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells!
If you’re interested, you can find the cheapest PowerBlock price here!
Conclusion: PowerBlock Elite Vs Bowflex 552: Which Is Better?
I’ve compared the PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex SelectTech 552 in this post.
Based on personal testing using both dumbbells, as well as public opinion from Reddit, I can only conclude that the PowerBlock Elites are better.
In my opinion, the Elites are superior to the 552s in most aspects including:
- Weight settings.
- Performance in exercises.
- Warranty period.
The only area in that I feel the Bowflex outperforms the PowerBlock is in the adjustment mechanism.
Bowflex’s dial system is generally more intuitive to use compared to PowerBlocks pin-selector.
With all this said, they are both very good dumbbells.
It’s just that the PowerBlock Elite is that much better!
Which do you think is better between the PowerBlock Elite vs Bowflex SelectTech 552?
Let me know in the comments!
You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)