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If furnishing your home gym, there's a good chance that you'll need to be a little selective about what equipment you choose since most people have a compact space. After getting a bench, the next logical step is to get some weights to use. A curl bar is not the most versatile choice, and an entire set of dumbbells is just downright expensive. So what's the solution? Two words: adjustable dumbbells.
The PowerBlock dumbbells and the Ironmaster dumbbells are easily adjusted, compact, and have a wide load range. But in a PowerBlock vs. Ironmaster adjustable dumbbells face-off, which pair wins? The ACTIVE Reviews Team will give you the ins and outs of each in this PowerBlock vs. Ironmaster dumbbells comparison.
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PowerBlock Elite USA Dumbbells
- Price: From $419.00
- Weight: 5-50 lbs. per dumbbell
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 12”L x 6”W x 6”H
- Materials: Powder-coated welded steel
- Weight increments: 2.5-5 lbs.
PowerBlock dumbbells have a unique, square design made of durable welded steel stacks. The steel is powder coated, which helps protect it from corrosion. The handles are coated as well, but if you prefer knurling, knurled handles are available at an additional cost if you want to swap them. When you grab the handles, your wrists are surrounded by the other parts of the dumbbell, but there is still plenty of space for dynamic movement.
Adjusting the weight is as simple as using the color-coded guide on the dumbbells and sliding the magnetic selector into the appropriate spot. Changing the weight quickly and easily allows you to keep your heart rate up during a superset or drop set.
The Stage 1 set starts at 5 pounds and builds up to 50 pounds, and the weight increases in 2.5-pound or 5-pound increments. The PowerBlocks can also be used in tandem with other branded accessories that can be purchased separately—such as a barbell and kettlebell—making them pretty versatile.
What We Like
- You can upgrade the weight as you get stronger
- Changing weights quickly using the fast-release magnetic selector allows you to keep your heart rate up
- Design helps keep your wrist in a neutral position
- Welded steel construction and powder-coating make them durable
- Compact design
What We Don't Like
- Square design feels different from traditional dumbbells
- Knurled handles are an additional cost
- Wrist space may feel claustrophobic
BUY: Powerblock Elite USA Dumbbells
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System
- Price: $698.00
- Weight: 5-75 lbs. per dumbbell
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty
- Dimensions: 6.7″ square x 14.5″ long
- Materials: Chrome-plated steel with knurled handles
- Weight increments: 2.5-5 lbs.
The Ironmaster dumbbells are made with chrome-plated steel that is so durable Ironmaster actually encourages you to drop them—which sounds kind of dangerous, but you do you. They're designed to feel like traditional dumbbells, and they really do look like them. The handles have a knurled grip, and you'll find weight plates on each end. There are two handles with four locking screws, and each handle weighs 5 pounds. You can load any or all of the included 28-weight plates to lift up to 75 pounds.
The weight plates are metal, and it's worth noting that they do not rattle around as you use them, so long as you make sure the tight-locking screw is secure, although you may need to readjust it after a number of sets or drops.
With no plastic in the build, Ironmaster offers a lifetime warranty in confidence, which ensures that your product will be free from manufacturing defects. Plus, if you live in the lower 48, you'll get free shipping on your order.
What We Like
- Looks and feels like a traditional dumbbell
- All metal construction is durable and versatile
- Screw lock system keeps the metal plates from rattling
- Chrome-plated knurling reduces the risk of corrosion
- Lifetime warranty
- Optional add-on kit increases weight up to 165 lbs.
What We Don't Like
- Handles are slightly longer which may be problematic if you have smaller hands
- Stand is no longer included
- Adjusting the weight takes more time
PowerBlock vs. Ironmaster Dumbbells: Similarities and Differences
Design and Durability
The design of the PowerBlock dumbbells is square with an enclosed handle, leaving just enough space to grip it comfortably. Aside from the handle, the rest of the construction consists of welded steel with powdered coating, and the magnetic selector is plastic.
The Ironmaster dumbbells are made from metal, including the plates. The handle is open and has the look and feel of a traditional dumbbell. The handle is chrome plated, which prevents corrosion, and has a medium knurling for a solid grip.
The PowerBlock dumbbells have a magnetic selector designed like a pin system so you can slide it in and out effortlessly. You can also choose your weight easily using the color-coded guide.
Ironmaster uses a screw lock to keep the plates in place and from rattling together during use. When you want to adjust the weight on these dumbbells, you'll need to screw and unscrew the lock. You may also need to tighten them between sets or if you drop them.
The weights of the PowerBlock dumbbell are attached on both sides. For example, if you want to add five pounds, you don't have to worry about adding weight to each side since they are one solid unit. You simply attach it to the dumbbell using the pin system. The Stage 1 set goes up to 50 pounds, and for an additional cost, you can upgrade up to 70 and 90 pounds.
Ironmaster has individual plates for each side of the dumbbell, so you'll need to load them separately, much as you would with a barbell. Then the screw lock acts as a collar for the weights securing them in place. These dumbbells come with up to 75 pounds, and you can upgrade them up to 120 and 165 pounds for an additional cost.
What We Like About PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells
The PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are durable and can be used for movements such as rows, bench presses, and curls. The magnetic selector allows you to change the weight quickly, which is beneficial for those who like to superset or speed up time between movements that require different weights. They can replace up to 16 pairs of dumbbells and even more if you purchase the other kits.
When you want to adjust your weight, the color-coded guide makes doing so easy. Plus, you never have to worry about whether or not you added weight to both sides of the dumbbell since they are attached.
What We Don't Like About PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells
Even though we love how quickly you can adjust the weight, the design doesn't feel like a traditional dumbbell. The handle is partially enclosed, which may begin to feel uncomfortable, especially for people with larger hands. The handle itself isn't as grippy as we'd like, although you can always upgrade to a knurled handle and install it yourself.
The construction also has different components that may be weak points, such as plastic. For the most part, if you're using them as intended, this won't be an issue, but if you happen to drop them, it could do some damage. Since there's only a five-year limited warranty, we recommend using them as directed.
Who Should Buy Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells?
These dumbbells are great for people who:
- Have a smaller space
- Need to accommodate a limited budget
- Want to change weights quickly for supersets or drop sets
- Don't need dumbbells over 90 lbs.
What We Like About Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells
Made from iron and steel, these dumbbells are durable enough to be repeatedly dropped. They're also a nice transition piece for someone who is used to using dumbbells in a gym because they are designed to feel like traditional dumbbells. Plus, the knurled grip feels similar to a barbell, and won't get slippery as you sweat.
If you really want to move some weight, you can purchase plates up to 165 pounds, which is more than PowerBlocks. The baseline set comes with up to 75 pounds, which replaces 15 dumbbells. The plates are labeled in pounds and kilograms and stay securely in place after you tighten the screw lock.
Lastly, we like that the Ironmaster dumbbells are backed by a lifetime warranty.
What We Don't Like Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells
The biggest downfall of the Ironmaster dumbbell is the time it takes to change the weight, which defeats the purpose of a superset. Adjusting the lock screw takes several more seconds, and each plate loads on individually, so you have to use your brain a little bit to do quick math and make sure you added the same amount to both sides.
Then there is the handle. The knurling is great, but it's about an inch and a half longer than traditional dumbbells, which may take some getting used to, especially if you have smaller hands. Another bummer is that the stand is no longer included, which means you'll either have to shell out even more cash for the stand or deal with putting away the little weight plates every time you train.
Who Should Buy Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells?
These dumbbells are great for people who:
- Don't mind taking an extra few seconds to load and unload plates
- Prefer the feel of a traditional dumbbell
- Have a higher budget
- Want a product that's built to last
FAQs About PowerBlock vs. Ironmaster Dumbbells
Are PowerBlock dumbbells worth it?
They are easily and quickly adjusted, are of good quality, and considering they can replace a minimum of 16 pairs of dumbbells, are a great value.
Are Ironmaster dumbbells worth it?
These are constructed with steel that's covered by a lifetime warranty, feel more like a traditional dumbbell, and can be purchased in up to 165 pounds. If these fit your budget and goals they are most certainly worth it.
How long do dumbbells last?
Our educated guess is that they should last between seven to twelve years. However, this will depend on how often you use them, where they are stored, and if they are properly maintained.
What type of dumbbell is best?
If you're a beginner, we recommend the PowerBlock dumbbells since they are easy to use and only go up to 50 pounds. The Ironmaster dumbbells are great for those who want a real dumbbell feel, or those who want to lift heavier since you can upgrade them up to 165 pounds.
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