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Body Solid Pro ClubLine Lat & Mid Row Tower Review (SLM300G/3)

Body Solid SLM300G Lat and Mid Row Machine Review

This is a comprehensive review of the Body Solid Pro Clubline Lat & Mid Row Machine; an aggressively-priced, commercially-rated cable machine that allows one to perform both lat pulldowns and cable rows from the very same, surprisingly compact piece of equipment.

The SLM300G is exactly like the machines you used back in your global gym days.  This is not a compromise machine with limitations or special needs; you can perform genuine, max effort, heavy lat pulldowns and rows, and all for a price the average garage gym owner can actually afford. At well under $2000 delivered this is by far the most accessible, commercial, dual-station lat tower on the market.


Body Solid SLM300G Review – Introduction

So you may be wondering why, on a site dedicated to garage gym equipment, would I take the time and spend the money to review an $1800 commercial lat machine. I’m supposed to be reviewing bars, power racks, and benches, right?

The answer is simple, because lat pulldowns and cable rows (and their variations) make up a small collection of back exercises that a large percentage of garage gym owners actually miss from their global gym days. People love these two movements, and they want access to them.

Case and point; most of us have tried the economical alternatives to a lat tower in an effort to get access to these movements (while avoiding the expense of owning a true tower.) I’m sure most folks who have had a garage gym for any length of time have tried the Spud Inc. Econo Pulley, or a DIY version of this system. You may have also tried getting creative with resistance bands, or maybe even purchased something like the Slinger for your power rack. Some of us have even owned plate-loaded rack attachments, or leverage machines like the Body Solid Leverage System or Powertec Workbench.  These alternatives work; to varying degrees; but they always leave much to be desired.

 

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Well this is why I finally decided to give in and get a real, selectorized lat tower. I’ve tried all of the above ‘affordable alternatives’ before getting to this point. I’ve dealt with the swinging loading pins, working my way behind a plate-loaded unit to load and unload Olympic plates between sets, and I’ve spent my fair share of time fiddling with resistance bands. Man. do I have a lot of resistance bands now too.

So if my old problem sounds like your current problem and you have a little extra bit of floor space for a cable machine, keep on reading. If you’re content with your system or you don’t even care about lat pulls and rows anyway, please go read another one of my reviews, or at least go look at what t-shirts I’m selling in an effort to pay for all this equipment I review!


Body Solid SLM300G Review – Table of Contents


Body Solid SLM300G Lat & Mid Row Machine Specs

Below you will find the specifications and dimensions of the Body Solid Pro ClubLine Lat & Mid-Row Machine (SLM300G/3). Most of this data can be found on the product description page, but I’ve also expanded on it somewhat.

Body Solid SLM300G – Dimensions

  • overall dimensions: 62” L x 24” W x 85” H
    • floor space requirement of 10.3 ft² (L x W ÷ 144)
  • weight: 450-550 pounds depending on weight stack
  • frame details:
    • high tensile strength, 11-gauge, 2″ x 4″ steel
    • massive, heavy-gauge backing plates at connection points
    • combination of welded and bolted components
    • bolt heads are all capped for safety and aesthetics
    • frame is double powder-coated; prevents scratching, chipping and peeling
  • cable & pulley system details:
    • unit requires no cable changing to switch between high and mid pulls
    • cables are nylon-coated, self-lubricating, aircraft-quality steel (3/16″)
    • pulleys are large-diameter, reinforced fiberglass; very smooth with zero drag (4½”)
    • guide rods are highly-polished, chrome-plated (solid) steel; again, very smooth
  • weight plate details:
    • the SLM300G is available with a 210-lb or 310-lb weight stack
    • machine operates at a 1:1 weight ratio
    • weight plates are 15-lbs each; minimum effective weight is a single 15-lb plate
    • plates are machine drilled and employ oversize nylon bushings
  • other features:
    • the pads are tear-resistant, double-stitched DuraFirm with high-density foam
    • knee pads are fully adjustable for different heights; (7 settings set 1″ apart)
    • knee pads are generously sized; a full 6″ in diameter
    • backside of unit has a protective shroud that conceals the weight plates
    • unit ships with two attachments; a lat bar and row handle, both chrome-finished
    • lifetime warranty applies to the entire machine (frame, cable, pulleys, pads, etc)
  • pricing:
    • with default 210-lb weight stack (SLM300G/2) – $1716
    • with upgraded 310-lb weight stack (SLM300G/3) – $1831

Body Solid SLM300G – Assembly

The Body Solid SLM300G obviously requires some assembly, but it’s not especially time consuming or complicated. I was able to assemble the entire machine in just a few hours with zero help. With help, this process would be even quicker.

While not as heavy as the previous cable machine I reviewed; the Rep Fitness FT-5000; I still recommend you choose your final location for the SLM300G before you start adding in the weight plates. This machine is not easy to move around alone when fully assembled.


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row Review – Build Quality

The SLM300G is part of Body Solid’s Pro ClubLine. That is to say, it’s from their commercial line of products and is not one of their economical, light-duty, home products.

The Body Solid SLM300G has a 2" x 4", 11-gauge steel frame with limited hardware, but strong connection points where hardware is used

The 2″ x 4″, high-strength steel used for the frame of the SLM300G is impressive. You will not find stout steel like this on an economical, light-duty unit. Hell even some other commercial units use lesser steel.

So what does that mean? It means that this is a real, solid piece of gym equipment that can handle the kind of weight and withstand the type of abuse necessary to be in a commercial gym. It’s made with heavy-duty, high-tensile strength 2″ x 4″ steel tubing; it has professional welds and large hardware, and all of the components are high-quality components, such as self-lubricating, nylon-coated cables, fiberglass reinforced pulleys, and super resilient pads. What this means is that it’s more than adequate to outlive you and your garage gym.

I know that sounds a bit like a sales pitch, but it’s really just my way of trying to say that this is a rock-solid machine.  It does not shake, wobble, tilt, or any other word you can come up with to describe unnecessary movement in the frame.  All that moves is the attachment and that weight stack; and very smoothly I might add.

The Body Solid SLM300G uses heavy-duty steel for the frame, and massive steel plates for connection points

The steel used for the frame of the Body Solid SLM300G is super strong, but the backing plates are just insane. These two things combined with quality hardware and welds make this thing absolutely rock-solid.

Many of you know that Body Solid manufacturers products for every imaginable budget out there, including lower-end equipment; the type of stuff you’d find in a box-store. Again, their Pro Clubline products are their commercial products, and should not be confused with their home-gym line of products. 


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row – Cable & Pulleys

I want to talk about the cable, pulleys, and guide rods for a minute. These three things are important because they determine not only how well the system will function (how smooth), but also how it will age.

the fiberglass-reinforced, nylon composite pulleys of the Body Solid SLM300G

The cable is fairly standard for gym equipment. It’s a self-lubricating steel cable with a nylon coating. What does it mean to be self-lubricated when talking about a steel cable? It merely means that the cable was lubricated with a low viscosity lubricant during stranding as a way to extend the life of the cable by reducing friction between individual strands. The coating is there to prevent wear to those individual strands, and to lock that lubricant in.

The pulleys of the SLM300G are large-diameter (4½”), grooved-channel pulleys made of a fiberglass-reinforced, nylon composite. They’re basically just strong, lightweight pulleys that can handle the inertial forces of a high-tension system well. Light and strong is fantastic but what’s really important is that these aren’t small, 3″-diameter pulleys. Cable machines such as the Body Solid here do better with larger pulleys. They are smoother and more fluid, and damage to the cables can be delayed significantly when the cable isn’t being pulled through super tight (and constant) changes in direction.

The large-diameter pulleys and lubricated steel cables of the Body Solid SLM300G

Finally, the guide rods. These are solid steel, chrome finished, and highly polished. They’re completely parallel with no deviation, and even without grease the bushing-lined plates are able to glide smoothly up and down the rods. Yes, you can add grease to your guide rods if you’d like, though I haven’t felt any need to do so yet.

So what’s the take-away? Body Solid did exactly what they needed to do in terms of all the individual components of a cable machine that has 300-lbs attached to it. They didn’t try to use small diameter pulleys to save a few bucks, they didn’t grab at the cheapest cable that they could have, and they didn’t use some flimsy, hollow tubes as guide rods. This machine is smooth and fluid without having to lubricate it, adjust it, or tune it, and there is no reason that it shouldn’t continue to work forever.

Just as a kind of Public Service Announcement, let me remind you that cables are indeed a wearable component. On any piece of equipment with cables it is your responsibility to take time to inspect your cables regularly and replace as needed. You are not going to die if your cable snaps on a lat tower, but I’ll bet you’ll be going to the chiropractor. 


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row – Weight Stack

There’s not too much to say about the weight stack. I purchased the SLM300G/3; the model with a 300-lb weight stack (with the alternative being a 210-lb stack.)

210-lbs is a lot of weight; probably enough for most; but for just $100 you can eliminate any chance that it won’t be enough weight down the road. I see no reason not to go with the the upgrade at the time of purchase. If you decide to do it later you’ll be paying to ship 90-lbs of new plates (and you aren’t paying shipping when you initially buy the machine.)

The 300-pound weight stack of the Body Solid SLM300G/3 Lat Machine

Each plate is 15-lbs. They’re cast iron, painted black, and machine drilled for accuracy. The holes have a set of nylon bushings that help contribute to the smoothness of the system.

The plates are not pre-numbered for us. Once you have installed the plates, you go and put the provided stickers on yourself. The stickers seem to stick well – I’ve not had any problem with them coming off or anything like that.  That said, I would’ve preferred if the stickers had a weight total rather than just being numbered 1-20, but what can you do; I can do a little bit of math.


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row – Seat & Pads

Seat Pad

The seat is great. It’s thick, dense, supportive, and comfortable. The overall size of the seat is adequate for both lat pulls and mid rows, and the vinyl cover is double-stitched and looks professional. Nothing about the seat feels cheap to me and I have no reason to suspect it’s going to fall apart. I’ve got nothing negative to say about the seat.

The Body Solid SLM300G has a high-quality seat pad - ample size, dense, and comfortable

Knee Pads

I absolutely love how big the knee pads on the SLM300G are. At 6″ in diameter they are as comfortable as they could possibly be. Nearly every machine or bench attachment I’ve ever had that had roller pads like these have been uncomfortable, small-diameter rollers. Seeing the large, dense, vinyl rollers on this machine for the first time was a thrill of sorts.

The large, 6" diameter, vinyl knee pad rollers of the Body Solid SLM300G Lat and Mid Row Tower

TIP: Because of my height and depending on the attachment being used for rows, there are times I just remove the knee pad assembly and set it aside. This really only happens when I use a bulky attachment though so I don’t have to worry about bumping it into the pads.


 

Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row – Attachments

My SLM300G Lat Tower came with two attachments; a wide lat pulldown bar and a rowing handle. They’re pretty standard, exactly like what you’d find at your local Gold’s or Lifetime Fitness – steel, knurled, and 100% usable.

The Body Solid SLM300G comes with two attachments - a lat bar and row handle

I didn’t even consider whether the Body Solid would come with attachments when I ordered it. I’ve already got plenty of cable attachments, and I’m so used to ordering them separately anyway that it just never even occurred to me. When I found the two included attachments I was not only surprised that they were even there, I was surprised that they were both pretty decent! They’re definitely solid steel, not hollow; they are of a good diameter and feel super in the hands, and the knurling is significant without being too much. The wide lat bar is even knurled for chins too.

Attachment knurling - Body Solid SLM300G Lat / Row Tower

I own nicer attachments than what came with this machine, but they weren’t cheap. It’s nice to know that one can buy the SLM300G without having to run right out and buy attachments or replace the included attachments because they leave something to be desired.

I’ll be honest with you though. Even if this lat tower came with no attachments at all (or with cheap attachments), it wouldn’t change my overall opinion of the machine itself. Acquiring a decent attachment collection is easy compared to finding a reasonably-priced lat/row tower for the garage gym.


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row Review – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Just an extremely competitive piece of equipment overall. The lat machine is oftentimes very missed when one transitions from a global gym to a garage gym. The SLM300G is a very reasonably-priced option with a lot of available weight and a small footprint.
  • The steel used for the frame and the backing plates, as well as the assembly hardware used for the SLM300G is all commercial-grade.  No part of this machine’s frame is ever going to bend, warp or otherwise fail. I even looked for a bolt anywhere on the machine that I could over-tighten and warp the frame, but the backing plates are just too thick.

High-grade, high-tensile strength steel frame along with massive backing plates makes for a frame that will never fail

  • The SLM300G has large, 4½” diameter pulleys rather than the cheap, small pulleys you commonly find on economy machines. Small-diameter pulleys don’t feel as smooth and they more quickly damage the cables because of the tight angles they move the cables through. For those of you who have shredded cables on the Spud Inc Pulley before, it’s because of the small-diameter of their included pulley. Small-diameter pulleys are bad.
  • Fit and finish is professional. All of the hardware is covered with caps so you don’t have to look at or rub up against large nuts and bolts, the paint is clean and consistent with a protective clear coat, and as I’ll mention below, the pads are extremely well done.
  • The seat is very well done. It’s of a good length, the DuraFirm pad is dense while being comfortable and the stitching is professional and seemingly durable. I foresee no issues with the vinyl seat of this machine.

Double-stitched, Durafirm Vinyl seat of the Body Solid Lat & Mid Row Tower - Very nicely done

  • Like the seat, the knee rollers are also excellent. They are dense, vinyl-covered, and of a generous diameter (they aren’t slip-on vinyl covers either.) After dealing with the small diameter, hard rollers of my old Powertec equipment, I’m extremely happy with these.

The rotating knee pads of the SLM300G are massive at 6" in diameter. They are dense yet comfortable and just really nicely done.

  • No cable changing is required to switch between lat pulldowns and rows. Many of these dual-pulley machines require you to detach a section of cable from the upper pulley and move it to the lower pulley when you want to change exercises. That’s not the case with this machine.
  • The position of the overhead pulley is perfect. It’s directly overhead rather than being in front of you like it tends to be with over-the-rack pulley systems and leverage machines.
  • This machine ships with two completely usable cable attachments – a wide lat pulldown bar and a narrow, parallel-grip row handle. These handles are not the fanciest things in the world, but they are high-quality, nicely-knurled, and fully functional. They would not need to be replaced or upgraded.
  • I don’t know if Body Solid does this for non-commercial equipment, but the two piece of commercial equipment that I own have both included a couple jars of touch-up paint. It’s a nice touch – being able to clean up any potential (and inevitable) dings and scratches.

Cons

The SLM300G functions beautifully. These cons are just simple little things that I personally think could make the machine a little better. I have no major design, performance, or quality complaints.

  • I’d love to have the total weight of the stack at each pin position labeled rather than just having the plates numbered,  but not only does this gripe have zero impact on machine function, it is also something I could technically fix myself if I cared enough.
  • It wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world to have 10-lb plates rather than 15-lb plates, but this too is not that big of a deal since it’s a back machine.
  • There is a post below the lower cable that I assume is for placing your row handle when not being used. You can indeed balance a triangle row handle on this post, but it’s quite useless for other attachments.  It would be nice if this post had been better thought out, and could support larger attachments.

Attachment handle holder for the SLM300G's mid row


Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row Review Summary

There were three major things I needed from this machine in order to be completely happy with it. For starters I needed it to have a heavy enough weight stack that not having access to enough weight would never, ever be an issue.

Second, I needed the machine to actually work well. I did not want to deal with a cable that felt like it was dragging or weights that felt as though they were catching or rubbing against the steel rods. In other words, I didn’t want any weird resistance to come from friction within the system.

Finally, I really needed a small footprint. I’m in a garage gym after all, and I already have a full-size functional trainer alongside a Monster Half Rack. Space is extremely limited.

A Monster Collegiate Half Rack, the SLM300G, and a Rep Fitness Functional Trainer side-by-side

Well I got all three of these things so I guess it’s safe to say that I’m a happy camper. I have 300-lbs on the stack, the cables move through the pulleys smoothly and there is no drag on the weight stack, and in terms of square footage the Body Solid has the smallest footprint of any dual-station lat/row machine by far (by half in many cases.)

Not only are my three primary requirements met, but the fit and finish of the machine makes me happy too.  The clear-coated paint is thick, resilient, and attractive; the pads  and rollers look very professional and are also quite comfortable, and I do not have any issues with my height like I did on my previous lat machine (you may be surprised how often being 6’4″ has been an issue with gym equipment.)

Close up of the quality paint job on the SLM300G Lat Pull / Mid Row Machine

There’s not whole a lot that I’d change about the SLM300G. I might make the seat a little bit longer, but I only say that because I’m so tall; I’d probably put the total weight on the weight plates rather than just numbering the plates 1-20; and perhaps I’d include a removable half-weight plate since this machine jumps up in 15-lb increments rather than 10-lbs. These are all minor grievances that honestly, I feel kind of bad even complaining about considering the super low price of this machine compared to other commercial dual-pulley lat machines. So yeah, overall I’m incredibly happy with how much machine this is for what it costs.


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Body Solid Pro Lat & Mid Row – Pricing & Comparisons

So how does the Body Solid SLM300G stack up against the competition for real? Well let’s take a look.

Elite FTS Lat Tower w/ Low Row

Price-wise, the Elite FTS is the most comparable to the Body Solid SLM300G. When found on sale, this unit can be had for about $1800 before shipping. Of course, it could be that the price isn’t that comparable at all depending on the quote you get for shipment, but on paper the prices are similar (remember that the Body Solid does ship for free.)

Elite FTS Selectorized Lat Pulldown Machine w/ Low Row

The prices being comparable probably won’t matter in the end, as the Elite FTS Tower isn’t nearly as nice as the Body Solid. It utilizes smaller 2″ x 2″ steel for the frame (rather than 2″ x 4″), it has a lighter weight stack (250-lbs vs 300-lbs), it takes up 30% more square footage (13 ft² vs 10 ft²) while also requiring even more free space in front of the unit for rows (rows are performed on the floor), and switching between stations requires a cable change. If that wasn’t enough of a difference, the rollers look pretty meh on the Elite FTS as well.

Now in defense of the Elite, you do get to choose your frame colors, which I suppose is fine if you care about such things to the extent you’d be willing to pay more and wait longer for it (lead time is 4-6 weeks on Elite products.)

For $2199 before shipping, you can upgrade this to the ‘professional’ version which does up the steel to 2.5″ x 2.5″ steel tubing, and the weight stack to 300-lbs. You’ll still have the add-ed expense of shipping and the heavy lead time, but the unit itself is nicer than the standard model.


Legend Fitness #971 Lat Tower w/ Low Row

At just over $2800 before shipping, the Legend #971 is not quite as friendly to the wallet as the Body Solid, but it is still a very nice machine.  It too has a 300-lb weight stack with a 1:1 ratio, large upholstered rollers, and no need for cable changes when switching between lat pulldowns and rows. It even has the advantage of 10-lb weight increments rather than 15-lb increments. So far so good!

Legend Fitness #971 Lat / Row Tower

Unfortunately for us garage gym owners, the #971 is absolutely massive. It’s nearly 850-lbs and over 93″ long; requiring a total of 31 square feet of floor space!  That’s 3 times as much floor space as the Body Solid.

Why is the Legend so big? Mostly because the seat is so long – easily as long as the seats you’d find on a standalone mid row cable machine in a commercial gym (as in not a combo machine.) This combined with a removable foot plate is indeed a nice touch (you swap the knee pads for the foot plate), but it does make for a massive piece of equipment.

I’m not going to tell you this isn’t a great lat machine, but it’s not functionally any better than the Body Solid, and it’ll cost you well over $3000 shipped, take up 3 times more floor space, and require a couple months of lead time. Like Elite FTS though, you do get to pick frame & upholstery colors. It’s nice, just big and expensive.


True Fitness Force Commercial Lat Pull / Mid Row

I don’t personally know anything about this particular company, but I wanted to include this machine because it illustrates what you’d pay for the Body Solid if Body Solid was trying to market the SLM300G to global gyms and fitness clubs.

The True Fitness Force Machine is functionally identical to the Body Solid, but you can see that it has a more commercial look in that it’s more curvy and contemporary, it has far more shrouding than all of these other machines, and it just looks more refined.  For as fancy and beautiful as it is though, it still has less weight (250-lbs) than the Body Solid, it’s significantly larger (taking up far more space), and it costs over $3000.

It’s also interesting to point out that the warranty for this $3000+ machine is garbage when compared to the SLM300G; with some components being only 6 months! I personally think you’d have to be crazy to go with a mainstream commercial machine for the home / garage when you’ve got options like the SLM300G and the Rogue Monster (below.)


Rogue Monster Stand Alone Lat Pull / Low Row

The Monster Lat Pull / Low Row Machine is definitely solid competition for the Body Solid. It has a compact design like the SLM300G, a 300-lb stack with smaller weight increments (10 lb versus 15-lbs), and large-diameter knee rollers.  It even has a handful of features that the Body Solid does not have, like pegs for resistance bands and giant 6″ aluminum pulleys. To say that this is a nice piece of equipment is an understatement for sure.

Rogue Monster Stand Alone Lat Pulldown / Mid Row Machine

Why not go with the Rogue over the Body Solid then? Pretty much just because of price. At $2950 plus over $400 in freight and taxes, the Rogue is expensive. Yes it’s about as nice as a lat machine can be; sporting Rogue’s beautiful black and red color scheme while being as strong and functional as any other commercial unit; it’s just hard to ignore how expensive it is. This is no small investment.

But hey, if you can afford to drop nearly twice as much money on your lat tower, then go for it. I’d personally not buy the Legend or the Elite FTS machines, and obviously I chose to go with the Body Solid at $1800 over the $3400 Rogue… but if I were to go with anything other than the Body Solid, it most definitely would have been the Rogue; no doubt about it.


Rogue CT-1 Cable Tower

Rogue’s new CT-1 Cable Tower is a really nice piece of equipment, but it’s not a lat tower. It is really more like half of a functional trainer in that it has an adjustable pulley column. It can be adjusted high for pulldowns and then set low for rows (it even has a foot plate) but it has no knee pads of any kind, and the 250-lb weight stack actually operates at a 2:1 ratio rather than the 1:1 you’d want from a lat machine. 125-lbs of effective weight is just not very much at all when it comes to pulls.

The CT-1 has its uses, especially when purchased in pairs, but it’s not a lat machine. Don’t buy this thinking it’s a suitable alternative to the other machines discussed in this review.


 

Stack  Ratio Plates Ft² Price
 Body Solid SLM300G/2 210-lbs 1:1 15-lbs 10.3 $1716
 Body Solid SLM300G/3 300-lbs 1:1 15-lbs 10.3 $1831
 EliteFTS Pull/Row 250-lbs 1:1 10-lbs 13 $1899
 EliteFTS Pull/Row Pro 300-lbs 1:1 10-lbs 13 $2199
 Legend Fitness #971 300-lbs 1:1 10-lbs 31 $2839
 Rogue Monster Tower 300-lbs 1:1 10-lbs 16.6 $2950
 True Fitness Force 255-lbs 1:1 15-lbs 26 $3025

 


What Other Machines?

Honestly, if you know of a selectorized lat machine that would make for a reasonable alter-native to the Body Solid for not a lot of money (or the Rogue for a lot of money),  mention it in the comments. When looking at all these lat/row machines I only ever found lower prices on machines that required loading your own Olympic plates, and if there is something that I overlooked I’d love to know about it.


Body Solid SLM300G Lat & Mid Row Tower

4.9

Build Quality

4.8/5

Cable & Pulley System

4.8/5

Pad Comfort / Quality

5.0/5

Overall Performance

4.9/5

Value

5.0/5
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Eric October 8, 2019, 1:31 pm

    Did you consider the Titan Lat Tower or Powertec Lat Tower when you made this purchase? I own the Titan Lat Tower and it’s design is comparable to the Rogue lat tower, but clearly inferior. My biggest complaint is that the weight stack wobbles and the center rod that goes through the center of the stack wobbles a lot and sometimes hits the other weight stacks on descent. Have you had any issues like this with the Body Solid? I’m ready to sell my Titan Lat Tower and upgrading to something else.

    • jburgeson October 9, 2019, 12:50 am

      So if I’m being completely honest, Titan is never considered here. I think it’s a junk store, and other than complaints I only ever hear “well it’s fine for the money” or something to that effect.

      As far as Powertec goes, I didn’t consider their unit mostly because it’s still plate loaded. I know it has an optional sub-200 pound stack, but it’s still plate loaded and it’s not commercial. The Body Solid, Legend, EliteFTS and Rogue are all commercial units, and the other major commercial players like Life Fitness, Cybex, etc don’t do much in the dual-station cable machine arena. Not that it would matter; their prices far exceed those of the brands listed here even for single station lat towers and cable row machines.

      Truth be told, I think going from Titan to a Powertec is a marginal upgrade at best. I wouldn’t ditch your machine unless you’re willing to buy the Body Solid or a Rogue at the very least. If you’re not bothered by plate loading, you can get a plate loaded, commercial-build machine from Legend or EliteFTS, but I mean you’re still so close in price to a real machine with a weight stack that it hardly seems worth it (especially in garages… these machines are almost always backed up against a wall because of limited space, and you have to creep back there to load/unload plates. I was so happy to get rid of my Workbench for pulldowns and rows.)

  • Mike October 9, 2019, 10:20 am

    Great in depth review. While I realize most “garage gyms” do not utilize many machines, I will be. I’m in my 70’s and machines will be my main stay. This type of review helps when the equipment can not be demoed. Can this pull down be utilized for triceps and biceps exercises? Again a great review.

    Thanks.

    Mike

    • jburgeson October 9, 2019, 10:36 am

      Thank you! And yes, it can be, to a certain extent. The roller pad is completely removable which will give you more working space for tricep pressdowns and curls. Two things though.. First, curls would be better if the cable was a low row (on the floor) rather than a mid row, and second, this machine jumps up in 15-lb increments which is kind of a lot for arm work. However, you can buy adapters or just get creative in order to make smaller jumps (https://www.fitnessfactory.com/item/5310/wsa7-5/weight_stack_adapter_plate_set_of_2/ for instance)

  • Mike October 9, 2019, 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the additional info. Very helpful.

    Mike

  • Coach Dee October 12, 2019, 1:25 am

    Awesome review!

    Thank you and the team for all the work you having been putting into garage gyms for everyone. I have been following for 2 yrs and just purchase my first house this week. Working as a personal trainer, I am looking into getting a plate loaded lat pulldown/row combo, as my garage gym will also be my place of business for my clients.

    What are you opinions on the plate load variation currently on the market? I like the Xmark Fitness Lat Pulldown/Low Row Cable Machine XM-7618 and Body-Solid Pro Lat Pulldown Low Row GLM83 ($550) from Strength Warehouse USA.

    Sorinex Apex Rack looked awesome, but the height was just too much for my garage build right now. I have looked at a few other companies that have rack and Lat pull combos, but feel the price is better, and time allocation (mainly if training two people one person can still squat while the other person is doing lat pull/rows), with all the equipment I need up front to do a plate loaded pulldown instead.

    Thank you for your insight. Spent the last 2 day reading many of your reviews, love the youtube stuff as well.

    • jburgeson October 12, 2019, 11:09 am

      Thanks Dee!

      To be honest I haven’t spent a lot of time on the plate-loaded options like I did with the selectorized stations. That said, of these two I’m a bigger fan of the Body Solid because it has a wider front stance with that floor plate, and a slightly larger footprint; both of which will add to stability. It’ll also just feel less cramped. I don’t know what it is but that XMark looks like one would be especially cramped doing pulldowns.

      The Apex is definitely nice, but one doesn’t have to spend that kind of money to get access to that kind of equipment. Even Rep is about to release a new PR-5000 rack with built in lat / row tower.

  • Jordan October 13, 2019, 12:26 am

    Not selectorized, but Ironmaster makes a nice plate loaded option. For about two years, I owned the Ironmaster Cable Tower V2. I had the seat option (~$100), as I didn’t own an IM bench. The low row footplate was great too. It’s something I sold to make some room, but I regret selling it. For a garage gym, it was near perfect.

    As someone with nearly all Rogue equipment, I am not interested in the Rogue offerings (Slinger, Monster Lat/Row machine, CT-1, or LP-2). It’s not even budget constraints…I just wouldn’t want something taking up much room in my garage. If they’d focus on a plate loaded Slinger and find a way to incorporate low rows, then I’d be interested. They just don’t seem interested in that market segment at the moment.

    • jburgeson October 13, 2019, 11:36 am

      The LP-2 and the CT-1 are both huge. I don’t see why Rogue likes these products to be so massive. On the other hand, the Monster Lat is actually not too big by comparison to other like machines, and I dig just about everything about it except the price.

      I gotta say, that Ironmaster tower has always looks super sketchy to me. You didn’t have any stability problems with that?

      • Jordan October 13, 2019, 11:24 pm

        Stability issues…
        No, but I would certainly agree that it would be a light to medium duty machine. Nothing about it feels commercial, and I wouldn’t compare it to anything in that category. For a garage gym with less than a few people using it I’d say it’s a good choice. Above all…I’m not that strong, so I wasn’t pulling crazy weight with it. The maximum loading capacity was around 250, but I never sniffed that much weight.

        • jburgeson October 14, 2019, 1:29 am

          I’ve thought about trying Iron Master again since they redesigned that bench. Maybe I’ll try that lat attachment out too, as I know most people aren’t going to drop $1800 on a lat tower no matter how good of a deal it is relative to the other selectorized options. If it’s not still too much money, it’s still a floor space investment.

  • Kenny October 13, 2019, 8:41 am

    I think another potential comparison model would be Legend’s SelectEdge Lat Pulldown / Low Row model. Unlike the Pro series, the seat can shift positions to keep the total footprint more manageable for home gym users. I don’t have a quote yet (waiting to hear back from Legend on Monday), but google search shows venders selling it in the 3-4K range. I was very serious about the Rogue model until I saw the Legend SelectEdge design, which appears fantastic to me. Thoughts?

    • jburgeson October 13, 2019, 11:52 am

      It’s a very nice machine; a health club machine for sure. I like it, and you’re right that it’s a better use of space than their #971, but that price though!

      In all fairness you may actually get a better quote direct from Legend than through a re-seller. It’s not uncommon. It’s still not a compact machine by any stretch, and it’ll never be considered an affordable machine, but if neither of those things bother you then yes, absolutely, go for it. It’s a nicer machine (obviously) than what I covered in the more moderate price range for sure here in this article (though in a way I don’t know, because the Rogue is definitely a bad ass product and it has band pegs and a smaller footprint and already has 300-lbs without even more expense…) /shrug

  • Coach Dee October 17, 2019, 11:41 pm

    Thanks man!

    Yes I Had the PR 5000 Rack on my list, but didnt like the attachment being on the backside of the rack. It looks like taller people (I’m 6ft 1) might have a issue with foot placement.

    Rep Fitness seems to putting out some quality stuff.

    Appreciate you input and time.

    thank you,

  • Mike Hawk November 13, 2019, 10:05 pm

    Minor quibble. The True Fitness SD-1002 you mentioned is only slightly larger than the SLM300G. It’s 16″ longer and only a few inches wider. The 48″W spec includes the lat bar. It’s also only 2″ taller.

    The warranty does suck though. But you also get better features like the angled seat, 6 leveling feet for better stability, dual bars to support the mid row attachments, and better fit and finish.

  • Adam December 4, 2019, 12:27 pm

    Great review, very helpful. Do you have any recommendations for dual tower/functional trainer options? At this stage I’m considering two Rogue CT-1 towers but I was wondering if there is a cheaper alternative and is still well made.

    • jburgeson December 4, 2019, 10:16 pm

      I’ve reviewed the Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer. Did a little comparison bit in that review as well. A pair of CT-1 towers is not at all an affordable option, but it’s probably a fun one. I like the Rep. It’s only about $2k delivered with heavy stacks. Could be taller, but I’m super tall so that may or may not apply to you. You can definitely spend more or less than two grand, but I think the FT-5000 is about as good as you can do for so little unless you find something used in good shape; maybe something commercial like Life Fitness or Cybex. But I do know that more cash does not necessarily mean better.

      https://www.garage-gyms.com/rep-fitness-victory-ft-5000-functional-trainer-review/

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