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PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbells

Introducing the Powerblock Elite USA and Elite EXP

A pioneer brand, PowerBlock, offers two standout models of adjustable dumbbells: the Elite USA and the Elite EXP. These are meant to suit different fitness levels, catering to every fitness enthusiastᅳfrom beginners to seasoned athletes.  In this article, you're going to find detailed comparisons of the PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP adjustable dumbbells, which will help you make an informed choice between the two models.

But first, let’s talk about why you might consider getting adjustable dumbbells. 

Overview of Adjustable Dumbbells

Do you need to upgrade your home gym with multi-functional, space-saving exercises? Or, are you looking for cost-effective equipment that you can adjust as you progress in your strength training? If you're a regular weightlifter who wants to get the most out of your strength training, or a beginner who wishes to start training at home, adjustable dumbbells could be the perfect solution for you.

Modern home gyms have adjustable dumbbells as a staple equipment because they're user-friendly, effective, and very convenient to use. Instead of having to purchase several sets of dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells allow you to use several weights in one piece of equipment. They're more cost-effective than fixed-weight dumbbells, which makes them a smarter investment for any commercial or home gym [1]. 

Adjustable dumbbells can also be used in several exercises that aim at various muscle groups such as deadlifts and squats, thus giving you more training variety. The weights are also easy to change; this is suitable for circuit training and constant variation of the workout intensity. In addition, they give you the option to incrementally increase weight, which is essential for muscle growth and continuous strength development. Dumbbells are also used in resistance training, which helps enhance stability, balance, cardiovascular health, and overall quality of life [2]. 

Key Similarities Between Elite USA vs Elite EXP

PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP Stage 1

Initial Weight Range and Configuration

Both the PowerBlock Elite USA and Powerblock Elite EXP start with Stage 1 sets that have a weight range of 2.5 to 50 lbs. Each set comprises of two 2.5 lb adder weights per handle, a 5 lb, and the blocks are 10 lbs. Each block increment follows a consistent pattern so that the weight increases are gradual; this is recommended in strength training to help enhance progressive overload.

Weight Configuration


2.5 lbs

1 adder weight

5 lbs

Empty handle

7.5 lbs

Handle + 1 adder weight

10 lbs

Handle + 2 adder weights

15 lbs

Block 1 + empty handle

This configuration is crucial for those who intend to progressively gain strength without buying different sets of dumbbells.

PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP: Stages 1, 2, and 3 Side by Side

Expansion Capabilities

The PowerBlock Elite EXP has expansion kits for Stage 2 and Stage 3, just like the Elite USA does. These allow the maximum weight to be increased to 70 lbs and 90 lbs, respectively. ⁤⁤Please note: these expansion packs are not cross-compatible between the Elite USA and Elite EXP as they vary in sizes and designs. ⁤

Physical Dimensions

The dimensions of both models are almost the same at all stages and are thus suitable for those with limited space.


Elite USA Dimensions (L x W x H)

Elite EXP Dimensions (L x W x H)


12″ x 6″ x 6″

12″ x 6″ x 6.25″


14″ x 6″ x 6″

14″ x 6″ x 6.25″


16″ x 6″ x 6″

16″ x 6″ x 6.25″

⁤⁤They have slight variations in height, but this does not significantly impact their usability. ⁤⁤However, it's something you may want to consider when choosing storage options.

PowerBlock Elite EXP Color-Coded Weight Indicators

Color-Coded Weight Indicators

⁤⁤Each of the models has a colored scheme that helps distinguish different weights. This is for the user to be able to choose their desired weight quickly. ⁤

Efficient Weight Adjustments

Also, the magnetic selector pin used in both models is designed for easy and quick weight changes. This feature is particularly useful for maintaining the flow of your workout. ⁤

PowerBlock Elite USA vs Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbells: Storage Options

Storage Options

The following are PowerBlock stands compatible with both models:

These stands help keep the dumbbells organized and easily accessible, which is helpful for maintaining an efficient workout space.

Powerblock Elite EXP Accessories: Curl Bar and Straight Bar

Compatible Accessories for the Powerblock Elite USA vs Elite EXP

⁤The Elite USA and Elite EXP can be used with the PowerBlock Elite Straight Bar and Powerblock Elite Curl Bar accessories, though both have model-specific options for each of these accessories. ⁤⁤Additionally, neither model offers support for a compatible kettlebell handle which may be a consideration if you're looking for a piece of equipment that can also be used for kettlebells. 

Powerblock Elite USA and Elite EXP: Warranty Terms

Both models come with a 5-year limited warranty for residential use, which only covers manufacturing process defects but not abuse and drops from more than 12 inches. ⁤⁤This warranty assures that your investment will be safe in case of manufacturing issues. ⁤

Distinctive Features of Elite USA vs Elite EXP

PowerBlock Elite USA Locking Mechanism 3 Settings

Locking Mechanism

⁤A major distinction between these models is their locking mechanism. ⁤⁤The Elite EXP comes with an Auto Lock mechanism which is very reliable and makes it low maintenance. ⁤⁤However, the Elite USA comes with a Manual Lock system which from time to time becomes a bit loose and requires adjustment. ⁤⁤If you prioritize ease of use and convenience, you might want to try the Elite EXP models over the Elite USA ones. ⁤

PowerBlock Elite USA Handle Design Close Up

Handle Design and Material

The two models have different handle designs: ⁤

  • Elite USA: Straight handle with a rubber grip. Knurled grips are available from PowerBlock.
  • Elite EXP: Contoured handle with a rubber grip. Third-party sellers also offer knurled handles for this model.

⁤The shape and material of the handle may also influence the comfort and grip of the equipment during workouts and exercises, thus it may affect users' preferences. ⁤For instance, the contoured handle grip of the Elite EXP models is designed to be ergonomic, which can be more comfortable for extended use. 

Expansion Pack Compatibility

The expansion kits for the Elite USA and Elite EXP models are not compatible. However, Elite USA Stage 1 can be combined with Elite EXP Stages 2 and 3 but the plates are not leveled because they stick up higher on the ends. On the other hand, the Elite EXP Stage 1 cannot work with any of the Elite USA stages. 

This non-interchangeability can be a disadvantage, especially if you intend to gradually increase the number of dumbbells you own in the future.

PowerBlock Elite USA Country of Manufacture Stamp

 PowerBlock Elite USA Country of Manufacture Stamp

Country of Manufacture

  • Elite USA: Made in the United States, with the country of manufacture stamped on the handle and each weight plate.
  • Elite EXP: Made in China.

For some users, the origin of the product may influence their purchasing decision, especially as some may prefer supporting domestic manufacturing.

Availability and Retail Options

The Powerblock Elite EXP model is available through retailers like Strength Warehouse USA, while the Elite USA can only be purchased directly from PowerBlock. 

Personal Perspective on the Powerblock Elite USA vs Elite EXP 

I originally bought the PowerBlock Elite USAs in early 2021. I love the 90 lb capacity with the added stages and the Made in the USA aspect of the product. Overall, they are great dumbbells and I have used them frequently for over 3 years now. 

One feature that I had a consistent issue with was the locking mechanism. For some reason, my handle grips would come slightly loose over time, which allowed the lock mechanism to have some play in it.

The Elite USA model doesn't "auto-lock" when you put the dumbbell handle into the weight carriage so you have to manually move the lever left or right to lock it. I'm not sure anything would happen if you didn't lock the handle, but it was just an extra step to complete and something that I think contributed to the handles loosening up every few weeks. Where's my allen key when I need it, right?

When I bought a pair of Elite EXP dumbbells to compare the two models, I was way more impressed with the "auto-lock" feature on the handle. It was effortless compared to the Elite USAs because as soon as you put the handle back into the weight carriage, the lever locks itself. You can't forget to do it. I've also had no problems with my handles coming loose on the Elite EXPs.

Overall - I think they are both great options and you really can't go wrong with either model. However that slight nuance and extremely minor annoyance has me favoring the Elite EXP dumbbells.

Powerblock Elite USA vs Elite EXP: Conclusion

There’s no denying that adjustable dumbbells are great investments if you want versatile and convenient workouts. Compared to fixed-weight dumbbells, they’re a good investment especially if you’re going to adjust your weights as you progress in your training. They’re also amazing for muscle growth and continuous strength development. And if used in resistance training, these can help enhance stability, balance, cardiovascular health, and overall quality of life

Both the PowerBlock Elite USA and Elite EXP adjustable dumbbells offer excellent features. Your choice between the two will depend on your specific needs and preferences. As you may have read from my experience, the issues I’ve experienced with the Elite USA’s lock mechanism really brought me to the Elite EXP’s side.

Here’s a quick summary of their features that might help you decide: 

  • Elite USA: Ideal for those who value domestic production and are comfortable with a manual lock system.
  • Elite EXP: Best for users who prefer the convenience of an Auto Lock mechanism and a ergonomic/contoured handle.

Getting adjustable dumbbells is one of the best decisions you can make if you want to level up your workouts. These tools are not only compact and cost-effective, but also allow for resistance changes that are recommended for progressive training. For beginners and professional athletes, the PowerBlock Elite USA and Powerblock Elite EXP adjustable dumbbells are ideal.

Upgrade your home gym or your commercial fitness center with these versatile, efficient pieces of equipment, and witness your workout routine transform into a well-rounded, convenient experience!

1. Hedrick, A. (2019). Dumbbell training. Human Kinetics.
2. Hongu, N., Wells, M. J., Gallaway, P. J., & Bilgic, P. (2015). Resistance training: health benefits and recommendations. Univ Arizona Coop Ext, 21(2), 718-728.
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About the Author: Joe Serrao, Owner of Strength Warehouse

Joe leverages over 20 years of intense workout experience and six years in the fitness industry. As a former collegiate football player, Joe knows what it takes to stay in peak physical condition. He's dedicated to providing straightforward, expert advice on setting up home gyms, personal training spaces, and commercial facilities. Balancing his passion for fitness with being a devoted family man, Joe’s rigorous full-body and metcon workouts exemplify his commitment to staying strong and being a role model for his kids and customers alike.

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