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Jones Machine review: Which BodyCraft 3D Smith machine is right for you?

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020
Most Variety
front view of a big resistance training device with a barbell
BodyCraft Jones Platinum
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Best For Home Use
strength training device with a barbell
BodyCraft Jones LC
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Best For Health Clubs
front view of a large resistance training machine
BodyCraft Jones Club
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Welcome to my updated BodyCraft Jones Smith Machine review. Since you're here, you're probably curious if the Jones Machine is really the best Smith machine like BodyCraft claims, and if it's actually worth the money.

If you don't know already know, the Jones Machine is essentially a 3D Smith machine on steroids. Unlike a regular 3D Smith machine, where you can only re-rack the bar at either the front or back of the unit, the Jones Machine enables you to re-rack the bar at any point during a rep because the bar hooks and safety catches move with you.

It's basically like having your own personal gym spotter. But without the mistakes and half-hearted encouragement.

Since 65% of all weightlifting injuries are caused by dropping the weight, the Jones Smith machine has the potential to revolutionise resistance training with its easy to use, safety-first design. The question is, is it actually worth your money?

Let's get into the Jones Smith machine review to find out.

1. BodyCraft Jones Platinum (most training variety)

Design

front view of a big resistance training device with a barbell

The BodyCraft Jones Platinum Smith Machine comes with a unique 25kg (55lb) barbell called the Active Balance Bar. It's a patented weightlifting bar that increases your muscle activation (and thereby muscle growth) by making your body apply more effort to stabilise the weight.

Like a free weight barbell, the Active Balance Bar offers lateral, side-to-side movement in addition to the usual horizontal and vertical lifting motions. Naturally, this enhanced freedom of movement promotes muscle symmetry, which in turn results in a more aesthetic, pleasing physique.

active balance bar

However, unlike a traditional barbell, the Active Balance Bar can't tip all the way to one side. BodyCraft has restricted the bar's lateral movement so that you can remain safe while still enjoying the best effects of the Jones 3D Smith machine.

One glance upwards, and you'll notice that the BodyCraft Platinum Jones Machine also comes with a built-in pull-up station. But this isn't your ordinary pull up bar (which often leave you wondering if the bar's actually for pull-ups or if it's just part of the frame). Instead, this pull up station enables you to achieve complete back development because it provides virtually every possible grip option: super-wide, regular-wide, medium, neutral, close and underhand.

side view of a big strength training machine

Pull up handles are great, and you can even use them to sculpt a more defined core by performing hanging leg raises. However, I've saved arguably the best workout station until last in my BodyCraft Jones Platinum review.

The Full Body Trainer (FBT) attachment consists of two adjustable cable columns (each of which functions independently), offers 32 height adjustments and provides 73kg (160lbs) of resistance (90kg/200lbs with the optional upgrade). With help from 5 attachments, the FBT's constant tension training makes your workouts more effective by promoting faster lean muscle growth, while at the same time adding much-needed variety to your exercise routine.

Build quality

close up of the frame and moving parts

The BodyCraft Smith Jones Machine is surprisingly compact. It measures just 188cm L x 214cm W x 212cm H while tipping the scales at a hefty 429kg. Being fairly compact but yet so heavy is solid evidence (literally) of this BodyCraft smith machine's durability.

In particular, It's constructed from heavy gauge steel and comes with industrial grade LM25 linear bearings for more precise bar tracking. Just like using the proper forms helps you to better engage your muscles, these linear bearings help you to develop a stronger mind-muscle connection because they eliminate friction from the lifting motion.

close up of the guide rods

But don't be fooled by the silky-smooth bar bath. The BodyCraft Jones 3D Smith Machine is a tank. It supports a whopping 453kg (1,000lbs) of resistance, and unsurprisingly, comes with a lifetime in-home warranty.

Naturally, the Body Craft Smith Machine is a top choice for those who want to test their strength without the risks associated with lifting free weights (more on this just a sec).

Safety features

safety hooks latching onto the lockout points

The built-in safety mechanism is, by far, the Jones Machine's biggest benefit.

Regular 3D Smith machines (such as the Halo Smith Machine) increase muscle activation because they allow for significant horizontal movement. However, they also make re-racking the bar time-consuming. And, when you reach muscular failure, virtually impossible. You have to walk the barbell to either the front or back of the machine in order to re-rack it.

Not exactly convenient.

close up of a steel barbell with a spring collar on the end

With the Jones Machine, on the other hand, the bar hooks and safety spotters move with you all the time. So regardless of whether you're struggling to get out of the squat hole, or whether you can't quite lock out that final bench press rep, you can still re-rack the barbell without any hassle.

Pros
  • Active Balance Bar increases your muscle activation by mimicking free weights
  • Includes 13 lockout points for easy barbell re-racking
  • Safety catches and bar hooks move with you
  • Comes with multi-grip chin-up handles to promote complete back development
  • Full Body Trainer attachment provides cable exercises and functional training
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Extremely heavy machine
  • No pulldown bar

2. BodyCraft Jones Club (best for health clubs)

Design

The Jones Club is essentially an upgraded version of the old BodyCraft Jones Freedom Machine. Besides being considerably sturdier than the previous iteration, the Club comes with the same Active Balance Bar (ABB) that I mentioned in my earlier Jones Machine review.

front view of a large resistance training machine

As with a traditional Smith machine, the ABB provides vertical movement. And, like a 3D Smith station, it allows horizontal movement, too. However, unlike anything else on the market, the ABB offers a precise side-to-side motion that recruits extra muscle fibres by making your body work harder the stabilise the weight.

What this means for you is that you'll achieve faster gains in size and strength because your muscles are more active with each rep. But best of all, the ABB can't tip all the way to one side like a free weight barbell can. In other words, you stay safe while still enjoying the enhanced freedom of movement and its accompanying muscle growth.

In terms of other workout stations, BodyCraft gives us a heavy-duty pull-up bar for back exercises and abdominal training. But unlike with their platinum model, there's no option to add the Full Body Trainer attachment. While the lack of cables might seem like a deal-breaker, it's actually a very good thing for us.

diagram showing the lateral movement of the active balance bar

Let me explain why. The Smith machine portion of the Platinum and the Club are virtually identical. However, the Platinum is more than double the price of the Club, meaning that you're paying a premium for what is, at best, a standard cable system.

You'd be much better off investing in the cheaper—and no less sturdy—BodyCraft Jones Club and then buying a functional trainer separately. Ok, now onto the build quality section of my BodyCraft Jones Machine review.

Build quality

guide rods gliding on metal pole

The BodyCraft Club retains the same damage-resistant construction of the so-called platinum model. Yet it's far more compact, measuring just 112cm L x 213cm W x 211cm H. And despite weighing roughly half of what the Platinum does (234kg), the Club still benefits from a robust 453kg capacity, which no other commercial machine offers.

BodyCraft the Jones Club also comes with heavy-duty dampening springs on the bar hooks and safety catches to reduce the impact as you lower (or drop, in the event of muscular failure) the barbell.

Safety features

As a lifelong Smith machine enthusiast (hence the website!), discussing the safety features is the most exciting part of the BodyCraft Jones review for me.

Like the ever-present safety spotters on a power rack, the steel bar hooks and the reinforced safety catches on the Jones Club machine always move with you. Naturally, this safety-focused design enables you to re-rack the barbell at any point during a rep with a simple forward wrist turn.

metal safety hooks for weight training

Yet it also allows for a natural-lift off position, which is remarkably helpful when you're attempting to set a new max. Unlike with a regular 3D Smith machine (such as the Star Trac Max Rack), you don't have to awkwardly reach behind you—and compromise your shoulders in the process—to unrack the barbell for bench press (or any other exercise for that matter).

Instead, the bar is already in optimal lift-off position. This design allows you to conserve your energy and therefore lift heavier weights and perform more reps.

Pros
  • Includes an Active Balance Bar that increases your muscle activation by mimicking free weights
  • Comes with a heavy-duty frame that supports up to 453kg without wobbling
  • Bar hooks and safety catches move wherever you go
  • Can lock 3D function and use as a traditional Smith machine
  • Easy two-hour assembly
  • Lifetime residential warranty
Cons
  • No cable attachment
  • 25kg (55lb) starting weight might be too heavy for beginners

3. BodyCraft Jones Light Commercial (best for home/light commercial use)

Design

strength training device with a barbell

The BodyCraft Jones Light Commercial Smith Machine is a bit different from the two products mentioned in my previous Jones Machine reviews.

For starters, it comes with BodyCraft's so-called "Econmay Bar" rather than their Active Balance Bar (ABB), which may or may not be a downside depending on your liking for lateral stability. Unlike the ABB, the Economy Bar, which weighs 16kg (35lbs), doesn't move from side to side (though it still moves both vertically and horizontally).

In theory, this lack of lateral movement results in slightly less muscle activation. However, the trade-off of not having to balance the bar is that you can focus more intensely on the working muscles since your brain isn't preoccupied with stabilising the weight.

big weight training machine with cable attachment

Naturally, you can lift heavier weights using the Economy Bar than you can with the ABB, not least because it weighs 9kg less (16kg vs 25kg). Still, the fact that you don't have to stabilise the barbell gives you extra strength and a more potent pump. And as any bodybuilder will tell you, a stronger muscle is almost always a bigger muscle.

So if maximising muscle growth is your priority, then the BodyCraft Jones Light Commercial may very well be the best Jones Machine for you. You can also check out Indigo Fitness if you're based in Britain and are buying for a facility.

side view of a man doing lunges

But what makes the Light Commercial model stand out the most is the lat attachment. Now that said, it's not strictly a pulldown attachment because it also includes a low pulley station, enabling you to build more upper body muscle by doing curls, lateral raises, upright rows and other such exercises.

But unlike other cable systems, this BodyCraft lat attachment has a 90kg (200lb) weight stack with a 1:1 resistance ratio. This ratio means that you can be sure that you're getting the full weight of the stack—and not a temporary ego boost from lifting big numbers (as is the case with cable systems that have a 2:1 resistance ratio).

Related products

Build quality

Unlike the other two Jones Machines, this BodyCraft Smith Machine isn't warranted for full commercial use because its barbell "only" has a 226kg (500lb) weight capacity. Bad news if you're getting ready for the Mr Olympia contest—no problem if you just want want to add some muscle in the right places.

guiderods moving along the frame

Nonetheless, this Jones Machine still carries an in-home lifetime warranty and a decent light commercial guarantee: ten years on the frame, two years on the parts—definitely an upgrade from their BodyCraft F410 model, which isn't even a Jones Machine.

It's also made from the same heavy-duty steel of the more expensive Platinum and Club models, making it a wise choice if you're on a budget but still want to pick up a quality Jones Machine.

Safety features

barbell safety hooks connecting to the lockout points

The Jones Light Commercial retains all the safety features of the more expensive models, and as such, it's an excellent investment if you usually train alone like I do.

Since the bar hooks and safety catches move wherever you go, you can re-rack the barbell at any point during a set with a simple turn of the wrist. And even if you can't muster up the effort to do that, the heavy-duty safety catches still have your back. [1]

Pros
  • Regular barbell enables you to focus purely on stressing your muscles
  • Comes with 200lb lat attachment and low pulley station
  • Safety stops and lockouts always move with you
  • Bar supports up to 226kg (500lbs)
  • Straightforward assembly
  • Lifetime residential warranty
Cons
  • No Active Balance Bar

FAQ

How Smooth is the resistance? What are the key Jones Machine vs Smith machine differences? I'll answer those questions, and more, in this in-depth FAQ.

What is a Jones Machine?

If you've ever wondered what a Jones Machine is, then here's the answer:

A Jones Machine is a type of 3D Smith machine made by the American fitness company, BodyCraft. It enables you to lift weights without a spotter because you can instantly re-rack the barbell with a small wrist turn [2].

What's the difference between a Jones Machine and a Smith machine?

The difference between a Smith machine vs Jones Machine is that a Smith machine moves only vertically, whereas a Jones Machine moves vertically, but also laterally and horizontally [3].

How much do the Jones Machine bars weigh?

The Jones Smith Machine bar weight differs depending on which barbell you get:

Active Balance Bar: 25kg/55lbs
Power Bar: 22.7kg/50lbs
Economy Bar: 16kg/35lbs

How well do the Smith bars glide while lifting?

Since these barbells can handle between 260kg and 450kg, they glide smoothly along the uprights even when you're lifting heavy or attempting a new max weight.

Can you easily re-rack the weight if you get stuck on a rep?

Yes, the safety catches and bar hooks move with you. So you can easily re-rack the bar regardless of what position you're in.

Should I get the Active Balance Bar?

If you want to challenge yourself by having to balance the bar laterally, then I recommend investing in the BodyCraft Jones Club, which includes the Active Balance Bar as standard.

However, if you just want to focus on the working muscle (but still want the enhanced safety offered by a Jones Machine) then I recommend picking up the BodyCraft Jones Club instead.

I see this is a British website. Can I get a Jones Machine in the USA?

Yes, absolutely. The Jones Machine is actually more popular in your neck of the woods than in the UK.

You can check the current price and availability here.

Which Jones Machine is right for you?

Admittedly, I used to think 3D Smith machines were a gimmick. To me, they looked more like an expensive adult toy than a workout station. That was until I came across the Jones Machine.

The BodyCraft Jones Machine takes the best features of a power rack—freedom of movement, high weight capacity, full-length safety stoppers—and combines them with an easy to use Smith machine. If you usually train alone like I do, then a Jones Machine is a sound investment because you get the benefits of free weight training without any of the safety risks.

But what's the best Jones Machine?

If I just glanced at their three machines, I'd have said the Platinum because it looks the best, the most flashy, etc. But on closer inspection, I think that the Platinum is actually the worst option because it's more than double the price of the Club while offering only a standard cable system.

I recommend investing in the BodyCraft Jones Club if you want the muscle activation benefits of the Active Balance Bar, but don't want to pay the Platinum's ridiculous price tag (note, prices do change).

However, if you just want the safety of a Jones Machine without having to stabilise the bar laterally, then the BodyCraft Jones Light Commercial is the best (and most affordable) option. It comes with a 90kg (200lb) pulley system and effectively turns your Jones Machine into a home gym.

I hope that you found my BodyCraft Jones Smith Machine review helpful. I wanted to like the Platinum, but I think that the Club and Light Commercial models are much better value for money. Thanks for reading!

Editor's Choice
BodyCraft Jones Light Commercial
strength training device with a barbell
  • Massive 226kg weight capacity
  • Offers unparalleled safety because the bar hooks always move with you
  • Easy to use yet tough enough for bodybuilders
  • Straightforward assembly
  • Lifetime warranty

 

James Jackson
I'm a former academy rugby union player who specialises in strength and conditioning for competitive athletes. I split my time between coaching the next generation of British talent and creating hands-on gym equipment case studies at Smith Machine UK.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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