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Powerline Smith Machine review: Learn why record numbers of British lifters are kitting out their home gyms with the affordable PSM144X

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 1st October 2020

Welcome to my Powerline Smith Machine review. The Body Solid Powerline Smith Machine has been on the market for 15 years now, and in this revealing article, you'll learn how it's enabling thousands of Brits each month to make gains at home—without breaking the bank.

And of course, without the need for a gym membership or lengthy commute.

I'll also show you how to create your very own Powerline Smith Gym in case you're seeking an all-in-one solution.

So let's get into the details and see if it's the best Smith machine for your home workouts.

strength training machine with a barbell
Pros
  • Super-glide bushings create a smooth lifting motion
  • Steel-reinforced safety catches let you train confidently without a spotter
  • 181kg weight capacity lets advanced lifters test their strength safely
  • 14 crossmember lockout points for easy barbell re-racking
  • Simple assembly instructions enable you to complete the setup in 1-2 hours
  • 10-year frame warranty
Cons
  • Need to buy weights separately
  • Doesn't come with a bench unless you buy a package deal

Powerline PSM144X Smith Machine facts and figures

I've read countless Powerline Smith Machine reviews from customers in Britain (and from our opinionated neighbours across the pond). I'd say that about 90% of the time the buyers are either home workout enthusiasts like me or people with their own personal training studio. The other 10% of reviews are from commercial gym owners and people buying for their facility, such as their school or university.

So what makes Body Solid Smith Machine PSM144X so popular?

Well, let's start with the elephant in the room—the price.

man doing a lat pulldown

I get it. You're an athlete who's 100% dedicated to training. Or maybe you're a train-eat-sleep-repeat bodybuilder looking to supercharge your gains. Or perhaps you're none of those things. Either way, one thing's for sure. If your British, you undoubtedly love to grab a bargain.

That's right, us Brits love saving money—it's in our DNA. And when our penny-pinching also makes us look better, it's a win-win scenario. In other words, it's extremely rare to find a quality Smith machine like the PSM144X without taking out a second mortgage just to pay for it (hence why it's not always in stock).

The PSM144X has a 181kg capacity, a starting weight of just 13.5kg and patented super-glide bearings. Add in the 14 crossmember lockout points, the damage-resistant 12 gauge steel frame and the heavy-duty safety catches, and you can see why this is Smith machine is flying off the shelves.

  • Dimensions: 114cm L x 193cm W x 203cm H
  • Dimensions (inches): 45" L x 76" W x 80" H
  • Unit weight: 71.6kg/158lbs
  • Weight capacity: 181kg/400lbs
  • Type of bearings: nylon bushings
  • Warranty: 10 years on frame, 1 year on parts
  • Estimated assembly time: 2 hours
  • Price: Click for Lowest Price

Powerline Smith Machine design

Frame

I've reviewed and critiqued more than 45 Smith machines at this point. Most of them weren't worth the money, nearly all of them looked flimsy and some were even dangerous.

weight training machine with weights on either side

But that's a story for another time.

The first thing that struck me when I laid eyes on the PSM144X was just how compact it is compared to the competition.

I don't often give credit to American brands since this is a British site. However, I'll make an exception here. Body Solid has cracked the code to creating a space-saving Smith machine that's also perfectly engineered for building muscle—and with the right attachments, dare I say as good as any home gym on the market.

man loading weight discs onto a barbell

The frame itself is constructed from heavy-duty 12 gauge steel, which is much thicker (and hence, more durable) than the 14 gauge industry average that some companies seem to worship as the best thing since sliced bread (it's not).

With a frame this sturdy, the machine won't wobble around as you lift and cause you to wish that you hadn't packed in your gym membership. As a result, you're more likely to make significant muscle gains because you can push yourself with the peace of mind that the Powerline Smith machine can stand up your increasing strength.

Bearings

Body Solid has equipped the Powerline Smith machine with a pair of their patented super-glide nylon bushings to remove friction from the lifting motion. What this means to us is that we can achieve a stronger mind-muscle connection (and thus more growth) because we're not distracted by any annoying mid-set sticking points.

metal safety hooks

Naturally, this design also increases our strength and makes the movement feel more like free weights because we don't have to fight our way through friction during each rep. We just press, squat or row the barbell and earn those PRs.

The bearings themselves are thoughtfully tucked away inside the extra-long twin carriages to protect them from impact and limit the general wear and tear of the small components. I was quite surprised to see Body-Solid do this since it's generally reserved for more expensive commercial machines that need to withstand regular usage.

This design is also the case with their Body Solid Pro Club Line Counterbalanced Smith Machine—and I for one hope that it becomes the industry standard.

Most companies, for some odd reason, seem to think that leaving their bearings exposed is some symbol of strength and defiance. And yes, while the shiny bearings might catch the eyes of some consumers, leaving them exposed does nothing for the Smith machine's durability.

Guide rods

Some users felt that Body Solid should have put more clearance between the bar hooks and the guide rods.

close up of guide rods on a weight machine

While I can see their point, any half-decent Smith machine needs to have the lockout points and guide rods nearby; otherwise, we wouldn't be able to re-rack the bar!

If anything, such a setup encourages us to use the proper form.

Think about it for a second. With the correct technique, the bar hooks can't get in the way because we're lifting straight up and down.

Again, this is if we do things right. If your form is a candidate for a gym fail compilation then yes, you might well bump into the bar hooks. But this is true for any Smith machine, not just the PSM144X.

I don't know if it's their entitlement of just plain old ignorance. But it's as if some people want others to learn the proper form for them!

Barbell

The Smith bar, which has a 1" diameter for easy gripping, has a starting resistance of just 13.5kg. Apart from taking the guesswork out of the mysterious barbell's mass, the manageable starting weight helps beginners to learn the correct form without risking injury by lifting heavy weights too quickly.

close up of a barbell

Yet with a 181kg capacity, it's equally useful for advanced lifters who want to test their strength and chase new personal records.

But with 14 crossmember lockout points, you don't have to choose between safety and a new PR. The steel bar hooks ascend up the frame in 4.5" increments to a final height of 70.5", making the Powerline Smith Machine an effective training tool whether you're tall, short or in between (like me).

Conveniently, the lockout points also enable you to re-rack the weight at any point during the rep with a small 15-degree wrist turn. It's like having an on-demand spotter—but without the clumsiness.

Storage

weight training system with weight plates on the storage pegs

Unlike other Smith machines, Body solid has equipped their PSM144X with two space-saving weight hooks on the front of the frame. What this means to us is that we can keep our workout areas tidy and free from trip hazards without needing to fork out for extra weight disc tress, which tend to demand a lot of space.

Moreover, since these weight plate holders are grounded, they have a much higher storage capacity than the standard storage pegs that are attached to the side of modern Smith machines. As a result, we can fit more plates on each leg, which enables Body Solid to keep the Powerline Smith machine nice and compact.

Powerline Smith Machine build quality

Whether you go for the regular PSM144X or invest in the Powerline PSM1442XS Smith Machine Package, you'll get the same sturdy steel construction.

While most other brands build their home use Smith stations with cheaper 14 gauge steel to cut costs, Body Solid opts for damage-resistant 12 gauge steel on each of the Powerline's 4 supportive pillars. As a result, the frame doesn't wobble around during exercise, enabling you to push for PRs without worrying about the machine tipping over.

man performing a pec deck exercise

As I mentioned earlier on in my review, the free weight-like resistance feels incredibly smooth for a Smith machine that's supposedly designed for home use. And since the lifting motion is so fluid, you can focus all of your attention on the working muscle.

Naturally, this creates a deeper muscular stretch, a more intense peak contraction and overall, provides a much better workout compared to the masses of friction-prone Smith machines that plague the market.

You can also check out my Body Solid 7 Series Smith Machine review if you're interested in investing in a full home gym.

Powerline Smith Machine safety features

A reliable pair of safety catches can often be the difference between setting a new personal record and getting trapped under a barbell—or worse, crushing your chest and causing yourself permanent and debilitating damage.

Thankfully, not all brands are so blasé as to use cheap plastic for their safety stoppers (see my IM2000 review for another sturdy option).

safety catches

Anyway. Body Solid has equipped the PSM144X with fully adjustable, steel-reinforced safety plates that span the width of the frame. How this benefits us is that—should we fail on a rep—the safety catches will take the load from our fatigued muscles, and immediately get us out of harm's way [1].

This built-in safety subconsciously enables us to push ourselves harder (and thus achieve results faster) because we know that the safety catches have always got our back if things go wrong.

The Dual Lock Catch System also keeps us safe during our workouts and is especially useful if you usually train alone like me. With a simple 15-degree wrist turn, you can re-rack the weight on any of the 14 steel bar hooks—regardless of where you are a rep [2] [3].

As a result, you can lift without the interference of a spotter. So next time you set a new 1RM, you'll know that it was all you and not thanks to someone's biceps doing the work!

Powerline Smith Machine assembly

While most Smith machines take the best part of a day to assemble, the PSM144X's simple yet durable frame takes only 1-2 hours to put together.

back view of man doing barbell squats

This is partly due to how well Body Solid label the parts and partly due to the design, which makes use of large steel rather than a concoction of small components.

That said, they're still quite a lot of small parts. However, they're all well-labelled in the manual along with a corresponding diagram that makes it remarkably straightforward to find and retrieve each nut and bolt.

And while many of the nuts, bolt and washers do look similar, Body Solid includes a ruler so that you can easily differentiate between closely related parts [4].

man rowing a barbell

Overall, it's a very short and easy assembly compared to the other Smith machines that I've put together.

Here are the dimensions of the three delivery boxes in case you're curious:

  • Box 1: 194cm L x 34cm W x 13cm H
  • Box 2: 126cm L x 23cm W x 20cm H
  • Box 3: 197cm L x 13cm W x 12cm H

Powerline Smith Machine package choices

Package 1: Starter

a weight bench

This package includes the Smith station, an adjustable bench and accompanying leg developer.

The PFID130 FID Bench has 4 backrest and 3 seat positions that enable you to achieve faster and better results, (especially in your chest) by working your body parts from different angles and recruiting all the important muscle fibres.

It has a T-bar leg holder so that you can remain stable and thus generate more strength during underrated movements such as decline bench press and sit-ups.

Measuring 130cm L x 55cm W x 128cm H (max height) and weighing just 23kg, this weight bench supports a whopping 226kg, which is incredibly impressive for its size. It's no wonder that the frame has a 10-year warranty.

sporty woman doing leg extensions

Yet despite such a durable steel construction, the actual backrest is exceptionally comfortable. It lends much-needed support to your back curtesy of the DuraFirm upholstery, which you often find inside premium mattresses.

But being comfortable is no excuse to lounge about. And with the PLDA11 leg developer, it's certainly no excuse the skip leg day either. This attachment has 4 dense foam roller pads to protect your lower limbs while enabling you to build your legs with quad extensions and lying hamstring curls.

Package 2: Professional

PPA13X pec add on

This mid-range package comes with the Smith machine, adjustable bench, leg developer, pec station, preacher curl and the plate loaded lat attachment.

Since we spoke about the bench and leg developer above, let's get straight into the upper body attachments.

The PPA13 Pec Dec Station works exclusively with the Body Solid Powerline Smith Machine by connecting to the lat attachment (which you must install first). Like a commercial-quality pec deck, the PPA13 provides what the bench press can't—an intense peak contraction in your chest.

man doing preacher curls

Moreover (and again, unlike a bench press), the pec deck attachment allows for unilateral movement, ensuring that both sides of your chest receive equal work. It's my favourite attachment for preventing unsightly muscle imbalances.

Like the pec dec, the PPCA11 Preacher Curl attachment is designed exclusively for the PSM144X. The sleek black pad measures 33cm L x 50cm W and enables you to achieve complete bicep isolation by removing any results-destroying momentum from the lifting equation.

man loading weights onto a machine

The PLA144 Plate Load Lat attachment is the final station, and as someone trying to build up their v-taper, it's also my personal favourite. It has a hefty 113kg weight capacity and comes with both a high and low pulley for greater exercise variety.

With the help of the other four add-ons, the lat station transforms the PSM144X from a sturdy yet modest looking Smith machine into a full-fledged home gym. And for ultimate customisation, you can use your own weight plates, or you can upgrade it with the weight stack attachment (more on that in just a second).

Package 3: Premium

The final Powerline PSM1442XS package includes everything listed previously—the bench, leg developer, pec deck, preacher curl, lat station—but also comes with a 150lb selectorized weight stack.

a selectorized weight stack

The selectorized weight stack turns the PSM144X from a home gym to a commercial-grade workout system.

It comes with a lifetime warranty, ascends in manageable 4.5kg increments and connects with the lat station and pec deck attachment, completely negating the need to use weight plates for your cable exercises.

This makes the Body Solid Weight Stack Upgrade an incredibly useful piece of kit for doing supersets since you don't have to ruin your rhythm by swapping weight discs around. You just put the pin in the stack and lift.

It's well worth the money if you want the commercial gym feeling at home.

FAQ

Is the Powerline Smith Machine an effective replacement for free weights?

Yes, it's rated for 181kg and mimics every barbell exercise without the need for a spotter. It's a great choice for working around injuries or for bodybuilders who understand the benefits of using machines for building muscle [5] [6].

See our Powertec Roller Smith Machine reviews page for another workout system that you can fully customise.

How smoothly does the Smith bar move?

Since Body Solid has equipped the Powerline Smith machine with super-glide bushings, the resistance feels incredibly smooth. Ironically, the lifting motion is more fluid than some so-called "commercial" Smith machines, which cost more than 5x the price.

Is there much maintenance required?

Aside from periodic lubrication of the guide rods (and the cables if you by the upgrade), no maintenance is required.

Is this smith machine a reliable choice for training without a spotter?

Yes, absolutely. I had no trouble going heavy alone. There are 14 bar hooks so that you can re-rack the weight at virtually any point during the set. Plus, if you do fail on a rep, then the steel-reinforced safety catches will get you out of trouble by taking the strain [7].

What weight set do you recommend getting for the PSM144X?

100kg olympic weight set

I recommend getting the Body Power Tri-Grip Olympic Disc Kit. I've personally had these weights for years and was very impressed with the accuracy of the weights and how well-packaged they came. Body Solid makes their own plates, but the Body Power ones are cheaper and just as good.

Plus they're available in 12 different weights from 17.5kg to 165kg. So you'll definitely be able to pick something up that's appropriate for your strength level (or expected future strength level).

Can you recommend an affordable bench to go with the PSM144X?

man doing quad extensions

I recommend the PFID130 Flat/Incline/Decline Bench since it has the sturdiness to cope with heavy bench pressing. It supports up to 226kg and has 4 backrest as well as 3 seat adjustments so that you can hit your muscle from different angles.

If you want something that's truly commercial-grade, then you can take a look at the Body-Solid Flat/Incline/Decline Bench (RED). It comes with a lifetime warranty, supports 272kg and has 8 positions for both the seat and backrest.

Both benches are great options.

Will I need floor protection? If so, what are your recommendations?

image of foam EVA gym mat tiles

Since this machine is so compact and thus relatively lightweight floor protection is not necessary.

That said, it never hurts to protect your floor or add some stability to the machine's base.

If you're just buying the regular PSM144X, then I recommend the Body Power Heavy Rubber Gym Mat. It weighs a whopping 42kg and will not tear even under the most brutal of conditions. If you want a mat that can withstand heavy impact and absorb noise, then this is the one I recommend.

If you're investing in one of the packages, then you can either buy two of the Heavy Rubber Gym Mats or go for some hard-wearing gym flooring like the Body Power Interlocking Floor Guards. These floor guards are lightweight and easy to install, but they also limit the impact and reduce the noise as you use the equipment. Definitely recommended if you're kitting out a larger area.

Should you buy the Powerline Smith Machine PSM144X?

Not too long ago, Smith machines were reserved for rich health club owners or hardcore bodybuilding gyms. But since weight training has become more mainstream in the UK, demand for durable Smith machines has skyrocketed, and Body Solid is the first brand to crack the code to creating a quality product.

man doing an incline bench press exercise

The PSM144X skillfully compliments and replaces free weight training with its whopping 181kg weight capacity that enables you to build serious muscle without the interference of a spotter. The 14 lockout points make it ridiculously easy to re-rack the bar at any point during the set with a simple 15-degree wrist turn.

And if you have a penchant for training to failure like me, then you can grind out those final few reps with the peace of mind that the steel-reinforced safety catches have always got your back. This built-in safety makes the PSM144X a great choice if you often train alone but don't want to limit your progress by playing it safe during your workouts.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my Powerline Smith Machine review. Whether you invest in a package deal or go for the regular Smith, the PSM144X will undoubtedly liven up your home workouts.

Editor's Choice
Body Solid Powerline Smith Machine
muscualr man gripping a barbell
  • Wobble-free frame supports over 180kg of mass-building resistance
  • Friction-free lifting motion decreases joint strain while maximising muscle growth
  • 14 reinforced steel lockouts for testing your strength without a spotter
  • Hassle-free 2-hour assembly
  • Offered at rock-bottom UK pricing during October 2020
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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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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