Bowflex vs Powerblock

Powerblock Or SelectTech?

Dumbbells are one of the more useful pieces of exercise equipment you can own. However, making a space for enough different weights or plates to switch out can be inconvenient. There is a solution to a rack of dumbbells or stand full of weights.

Adjustable dumbbells allow you to own multiple dumbbell weights in one simple piece of equipment. Powerblock and Bowflex offer two of the better adjustable dumbbell options. Here we'll compare the Powerblock Elite and the Bowflex SelectTech 552.

We'll cover a series of important qualities of both. Our review will touch on things like weight variety, durability, usability and size. We'll finish up with a few pros and cons for each adjustable dumbbell and then let you know which one we feel might be the best choice for you to consider.

​Comparison Chart

​SelectTech 552

​Powerblock Elite

Bowflex SelectTech 552 - Two Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock USA Elite 5-90lbs Dumbbell Set




Weight Capacity

​5 - 52.5 lbs

​50 lbs

Upgradeable Weight Capacity


Yes - ​ 50-70 lbs to 70-90 lbs


​Overview: Bowflex SelectTech 552

Bowflex SelectTech 552 - Two Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex SelectTech 552 - Two Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells are designed to replace multiple dumbbells, plus bulky home gym equipment. The Bowflex SelectTech 552s do just that. You will have at your disposal 15 different sets of dumbbells in one adjustable block.

One nice feature of the Bowflex SelectTech 552s is the simplicity of use. All you need to do is change an easily adjusted dial to change the weight you're using. This is an outstanding feature for anyone who enjoys the rigorous cardio benefits of circuit dumbbell training.

Bowflex also designed their dumbbells and cradle to resemble a traditional dumbbell. They look exactly like one large dumbbell, but have a cradle basket where the weight you don't need sits while you perform the exercise.

You can set the ​SelectTech 552s back in their cradle, add or subtract weight, and jump right back to another exercise. Another neat feature to consider about all adjustable dumbbells is the ability to set each individual dumbbell to a different weight.

This is excellent for rehabbing and training an otherwise weaker side of your body. There is also an add-on support for the cradle on the Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s that set them about 10-inches higher off the floor. This is a nice feature for usability and storage appearance.

​Overview: ​Powerblock Elite Dumbbell

Like all adjustable dumbbells, the Powerblock Elites replace multiple pieces of exercise equipment. They put 16 different dumbbell weights in your exercise room without the need for extra racks or plates.

Unlike a number of models, the Powerblock Elite adjustable dumbbells can offer two upgrade packages. You can purchase one package that raises the total weight per dumbbell to 70 pounds, then a second that will max out your Elites at an impressive 90 pounds for each dumbbell.

Powerblock was one of the first companies to offer this innovative concept in exercise equipment. They first put the idea of adjustable dumbbells on the market in 1991. This means you gain over a quarter-century of innovative expertise when you choose this product.

One feature of the Powerblock Elites that might go unnoticed is the sturdiness of these dumbbells. They are made using a welded steel construction and then powder coated. They appear to be hard plastic, but they are actually extremely sturdy.

As blocks for additional floor exercises, the Elite selector is a magnetic pin rated to hold a 400 pound max load. Two other add-on features of the Powerblock Elite are a kettlebell handle and a straight bar. Most adjustable dumbbells do not offer this ability, and it is not possible to add this type of exercise diversity to your training using traditional dumbbells.

PowerBlock USA Elite 5-90lbs Dumbbell Set
PowerBlock USA Elite 5-90lbs Dumbbell Set

​Adjustment and Weight Variety

The weight on each of these adjustable dumbbells sets in a cradle. As you shift the dial, the dumbbell will only attach the amount of weight you select. The remaining weight stays in the cradle. Both the Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s and the Powerblock Elites score well in the adjustment category.

The Bowflex model has a maximum weight of 52.5 pounds per dumbbell. The Powerblock Elites are 2.5 pounds less total, but offer two adjustment upgrades to max out at 90 pounds. Each of these dumbbells adjusts in 2.5 pound increments. They rank equally in weight variety, each standard dumbbell replacing 16 traditional dumbbells.

​Quality, Design and Durability

When we addressed the quality and durability of each of these popular adjustable dumbbells, we found both to be excellent. Each one offers a solid warranty indicative of the manufacturer's commitment to quality. Powerblock insists that the Elite adjustable dumbbells will stand the test of time by offering an impressive 10-year warranty.

However, the design of the Powerblock Elite and Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s is vastly different. The ​SelectTech 552s look much like a traditional dumbbell, round with a center grip. The Powerblock Elites are block shaped. Both rate equally for quality and durability, but the Powerblock shape is very different.

​Comfort, Safety and Usability

Both of these adjustable dumbbells focus on allowing users to get a secure grip. The center grip on both dumbbells is the same diameter as a standard dumbbell or straight bar. You'll be able to get that perfect feel and safe grip for any exercise.

The square shape of the Powerblock Elite detracts ever so slightly from its usability. It is a little more difficult to set flat on the floor for bench exercises. This compares to the more rounded shape of the Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s. Both dumbbells can be used safely for an array of exercises, and each one accomplishes everything a rack of dumbbells will accomplish.

​Size and Shape

The size of the Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s and Powerblock Elite adjustable dumbbells is very similar. Where they differ the most, is the shape. The Powerblock Elite block shape takes a little time to get accustomed to using. Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s match the shape of a traditional dumbbell.

They also taper down at each end as you shift towards the lower-end weight. The Bowflex ​SelectTech 552s are 2-inches longer than the Powerblock Elite, and slightly higher off the floor. This is because the Powerblock Elite cradle is one unit with the dumbbell. The ​SelectTech 552s rest in a separate cradle.

​Bowflex SelectTech 552


  • Affordable – The Bowflex SelectTech 552s are one of the most affordable sets of adjustable dumbbells available.
  • Money-Back Guarantee – While the SelectTech 552s include a respectable 2-year warranty, they also offer you a 60-day, no-hassle money back offer if you are not satisfied.
  • Sturdy and Secure Grip – The SelectTech 552s feel secure in your hand. The weight adjustment system locks tight, and they have a secure rubber grip.


  • Durability – The SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells are made using a hard plastic. This material won't last as long as metal and also seems less durable than other types of synthetic materials used for adjustable dumbbells.
  • Dials Malfunction – There is some indication that the adjustment dials begin to malfunction after a year or two of use.

​Powerblock Elite


  • Upgrades – This is probably the biggest advantage of the Powerblock Elites over the Bowflex S​electTech 552s. The Elite has two upgrade packages that bring the total weight for each dumbbell to 90 pounds.
  • Strong Warranty – While the SelectTech 552s offer a reasonable warranty, the 10-year quality assurance offered by Powerblock is one of the longest available for this type of fitness product.
  • Stability – As much as the appearance is drastically different from traditional dumbbells, the Powerblock Elites provide an extra degree of stability. They are stable and sturdy enough to use as props for a variety of floor exercises, such as raised pushups.


  • Block Shape – The square shape of the Powerblock Elite is more than just a visual difference. This shape can take some personal adjustment for certain exercises. As an example, getting the Elites back flat on the floor when doing chest flies on a bench will feel different from what you are accustomed to with a traditional dumbbell.
  • Visually Different – Beyond using the block shape, the Powerblock Elites are frequently viewed as ugly. They aren't what most people envision when thinking about a dumbbell, round with smooth lines.

Bottom Line

This gives you an idea about the important features of both choices. In relation to all adjustable dumbbells available, the Bowflex SelectTech 552S and Powerblock Elite rate highly. The adjustment dial on the Bowflex is easier to change than the pin on the Elite.

Each dumbbell offers a secure grip and sufficient weight to perform a variety of dumbbell exercises. The Bowflex model adjusts easier, and the appearance is more like a conventional dumbbell. The Powerblock Elite dumbbells offer better upgrade packages and are rated more durable.

Based on how similar they are across these defining features, the overall appearance and appealing price of the Bowflex SelectTech 552S give it a slight advantage over the Powerblock Elite adjustable dumbbells.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 - Two Adjustable Dumbbells

​SelectTech 552

PowerBlock USA Elite 5-90lbs Dumbbell Set

​Powerblock Elite

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