Universal Power-Pak Adjustable Dumbbells
Annie Oh rates this 3.5/5
Average User Rating
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Universal Power Pak Adjustable Dumbbells Review From: Universal by Nautilus

Pros
Contains multiple weight settings and is an economical buy.

Cons
It's flimsy and lacks good structural support.

Verdict
This is an excellent economical buy, though the quality isn't the best.

Does the Universal Power-Pak Adjustable Dumbbells Stack Up to the Competition?

A more economical buy than the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells, the Universal Power-Pak Adjustable Dumbbells ($249.99) offer virtually the same functions: Just one dumbbell contains pound ranges varying from 4 pounds to 45 pounds. But with a cheaper price comes varying quality problems, which make it a less than suitable buy for serious weightlifters. Here is my review.


Pros
  • Contains 9 weight settings
  • Easy to adjust dumbbell weights
  • Cheaper than most adjustable dumbbells

Cons
  • Flimsy; not stable
  • Weight range is more limited
  • Bigger than most standard dumbbells

Design

Designed to be a cheaper alternative to adjustable dumbbells, such as the Powerblock or Bowflex, the Universal Power-Pak Adjustable Dumbbells serve more when it comes to function than design; though simple to use, the dumbbells are bigger than most standard-sized dumbbells, and therefore are harder to work with. Comparatively, these dumbbells are also more flimsy, with weights moving and shifting around during heavy exercise. Because of this, these dumbbells tend to be more fragile, and need to be used more carefully--dropping or throwing them down isn't recommended.


Ergonomically-speaking, these dumbbells could be designed better. While the grip is passable--it shouldn't pinch or rub against the skin--it is harder to get a firm grip on these dumbbells, and therefore probably won't be a good choice for serious weightlifters. You may have to invest in weightlifting gloves to get a good, comfortable grip on these dumbbells; those with sweaty palms are especially encouraged to invest in glovewear for a more steady, firm grip.


Function

Where the Universal Power-Pak falters on design it flourishes in its functional aspects; it's both functional and easy to use, making it a top choice among exercise and weightlifting novices. For starters, you'll get a nice weight range with these dumbbells--with options to adjust it from 4 pounds to 45 pounds. Comparatively, the weight range isn't as big as the Bowflex, but the weight range should suit most people well. Weight settings aren't also as precise as the Bowflex--you can only adjust weights in 5 pound increments, whereas the Bowflex allowed for 2.5 pound increments--so this probably isn't the best set for those who want precise weight control. Otherwise, the weight range given by these dumbbells should be more than sufficient.


Usability

Unlike the other adjustable dumbbells, the Universal Power-Pak comes with another extra: Weight stands. Storing these dumbbells is pretty easy, despite its large size; it fits easily on the stands or can be stored under the bed for easy access. Its size also isn't a problem when doing common weightlifting exercises too--such as squats and bicep curls. In fact, its size is actually a plus during some exercises where a firm grip is needed, such as tricep extensions. The weights tend to shift around and feel unsteady during exercise, however, so if you plan to use these weights extensively, be careful--these weights cannot handle a lot of wear and tear.


To quickly change from weight to weight, the Universal Power-Pak contains an adjustable knob on the side of the dumbbells--a common feature in all adjustable dumbbell sets. During testing, customers reported that it was easy to switch from one setting to the next without any trouble; the knob didn't stick or become hard to turn, which, unfortunately, can be the case with other adjustable dumbbells. Overall, the Universal Power-Pak is a great, functional dumbbell set that may not as sturdy or extensive as other dumbbells, but delivers on the bare basics, making it a good economical buy.


What the Customers Say
"In summary, I do think the Power-Pak 445s are a five-star product and very well-made. I do not think they are superior to the Bowflex SelectTechs, but if you want a much cheaper alternative than the Bowflex and don't need the extra 7.5 pounds it offers, this is a great alternative." - Scott
"I have been using the dumbbells mostly for curling so the 45 lbs max. hasn't been a problem. The weights do move slightly when in use, but not enough to bother me." - Ahhnold
"I give this product 3 stars out of 5 because the weights are not tight enough, they make noise on workout. Still recommended :)" - Ahmad
Verdict

Economical in price, there are definitely some quality issues here--but if you can look past this, this is a good way to get quality adjustable dumbbells for cheap. I recommend this as a good way to start your personal home gym.
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2012, 6:49 pm
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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