Welcome to my Powertec Smith Machine review. If you're a reader of this site, then you'll know that I've reviewed and tested a bunch of different Smith machine multi gym systems.
Most of them are just hastily created concoctions of popular gym equipment with a Smith machine thrown in for good measure. Sadly, many well-intentioned buyers fall for these gimmicks.
Not only do they end up deep out of pocket, but they're also saddled with a cheaply-made workout system that'd look better on the local scrap metal heap.
Naturally, when I first saw the Powertec Roller Smith Machine, I was sceptical. Was this humble-looking Smith machine really substantial enough to accommodate tough home workouts?
The answer, as you'll soon learn, is a resounding "yes".
The home fitness market is plagued by untrustworthy, fly-by-night companies that are only too happy to offer us their great new invention—only to then disappear with our hard-earned money when the consumer complains invariably start to rack up. It turns out that poor gym equipment doesn't stand the test of time.
I have a bit of a reputation in the industry for exposing these kinds of crooked companies. After all, I've wasted my own money on countless fitness gimmicks to the tune of more than £7,000, and I don't want good, wholesome people like you to do the same.
However, when I first saw an advertisement for Powertec machines in a muscle magazine many years ago (more years than my age wants to admit!), I knew that this brand was different. They weren't interested in squeezing quick cash out of gullible consumers; they wanted to provide genuinely useful workout equipment that was affordable to the home user.
Fast-forward more than a decade, and most home gym companies are long gone. However, Powertec's popular Roller Smith Machine is still on the market—but with several important updates.
The latest iteration is a supercharged version of its predecessor, the Powertec Roller Smith Machine WB-RS13. It's retained all the great features from the previous model—high weight capacity, sturdy steel frame, spring-loaded safety catches—but now includes much-improved bearings for a smoother lifting motion.
Powertec has also included a number of upgrade options (more on this later) that turn your Smith machine into a fully-fledged home gym.
For instance, you can now get a lat tower with a 227kg weight capacity that also doubles up as a regular cable station, meaning that you have both a high and low pulley at your disposal.
The frame is constructed from damage-resistant 12 gauge steel which is much thicker (and hence, more durable) than the industry average 14 gauge steel that other brands use to save on manufacturing costs. So I wasn't surprised to find out that the frame comes with a lifetime warranty.
There are also 12 lockout points spaced evenly down the supportive uprights so that you can re-rack the bar at any point during your set with a simple turn of the wrist. Naturally, this makes the Roller Smith and excellent choice if you usually train alone like me (or if you just don't like having a spotter interfering with your workout).
The new wheel design of the bearings is the biggest shake-up to the latest version of the Roller Smith Machine.
With 8 bearing-driven wheels, the Smith bar now glides along the guide rods more smoothly than ever. Since the bar tracking is so precise there's absolutely no friction and as a result, virtually no noise either. It's why people are calling it the world's quietest Smith machine.
What this means to us is that we can get a more effective workout by way of a stronger pump and mind-muscle connection since there are no annoying sticking points during our reps. And as any bodybuilder will tell you, a strong mind-muscle connection is one of the tricks of the trade when it comes to unlocking faster gains.
Like a solid oak tree rooted firmly into the ground, the guide rods are securely fitted into steel reinforcements for extra stability. Naturally, this increases the Roller Smith's weight rating to well above the industry average and also means that the frame doesn't wobble around—even when you're closing in on that whopping 204kg weight capacity.
Moreover, since the guide rods are slightly elevated off the ground (meaning that the machine doesn't completely bottom out and cause potential spinal injuries), we can train more safely without limiting our range of motion.
Any exercise that you can do with a barbell, you can do with extra safety (and with just as much effectiveness in my opinion) on the Powertec Roller Smith Machine.
Powertec is one of the only gym equipment brands to equip their Smith machine with a real Olympic barbell.
Besides giving you that warm, fuzzy feeling of familiarity, the Olympic barbell also makes keeping track of personal records and working weights remarkably simple. In essence, it's exactly like lifting a free weight barbell but with the added safety of a Smith machine.
In theory, you might actually build more muscle training on a Roller Smith Machine since you can mentally push yourself harder because you know that the bar hooks and safety catches have always got you back—unlike a clumsy spotter.
The barbell also has plenty of knurling so that you can generate more power by maintaining a proper weightlifting grip.
Powertec also bucks the trend when it comes to storage by including 2 angled weight pegs along the supportive steel beams at the back of the unit.
The slight angle keeps your plates more secure because they can't slide off and cause potential injury (unlike the regular storage pegs that are usually just tacked onto the sides of regular Smith machines).
This safety-first design also saves space because you can put the Roller Smith right against the wall without limiting access to your weight discs.
As I mentioned earlier in my Powertec Roller Smith machine review, the frame is constructed from hard-wearing 12 gauge steel, which is one of the most robust metals used in gym equipment manufacturing.
As a result, the unit doesn't wobble around during vigorous exercise. You can do heavy deadlifts; explosive rack pulls, 1RM bench presses and many more exercises without worrying about the stability of the frame, which unfortunately isn't the norm when it comes to Smith machines.
As a keen bodybuilder, the most striking benefit for me is definitely the smooth resistance. Thanks to the updated wheel-driven bearings I can achieve a potent mind-muscle connection without taking a nitric oxide or pre-workout supplement. I still do a bit of dumbbell training, but the Smith machine has work wonders for bringing up my weak muscle groups.
When you train alone like me, having dependable safety features can easily mean the difference between a new bench press PR and getting trapped helplessly underneath a barbell—or worse, dropping one on your chest.
While safety catches might not make the headlines in a muscle magazine, I'm glad that Powertec has chosen to prioritise them in their lastest Roller Smith Machine model.
These particular safety catches are completely adjustable and can attach to any of the 12 lockout points in a matter of seconds.
Now, quick adjustment is great and all. But what this really means for us is that we can eke out new muscle growth by training to failure since the safety catches have always got our backs if we can't lock out that final rep.
While most Smith machines take the best part of a day to put together—with help—the Roller Smith machine requires just 2-3 hours to assemble. It's much quicker than setting up the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine, which took me over five hours to put together.
Anyway. You get a regular step-by-step instruction manual, which also includes a handy maintenance guide to keep your machine in good condition.
However, Powertec also includes an ultra-high-definition assembly video on their YouTube channel so that you can follow an expert, step-by-step, and avoid making any mistakes.
I've never seen another brand do this for a Smith machine. Ironically, this is probably because they wouldn't actually know how to put it together since they never touch their own products (because they bulk order carbon copies from China). But I digress...
The parts themselves are remarkably well-packaged. You get two hardware packs where all the small bolts and washers are already pre-packed into the correct groups. As a result, you don't have to to spend your evening or weekend hunting down look-a-like parts like a lost child sifting through his Lego bricks.
Powertec lets you pick and mix attachments to create your own dream home gym. If you love plate-loaded machines and bodybuilding as much as I do, then you'll feel like a kid in a candy shop.
The lat tower, which is my favourite attachment, connects directly to your Roller Smith Machine. However, for all the other add-ons, you'll first need the utility bench, which is the life force of any Powertec home gym.
It reminds me a lot of the IM2000 Self Spotting System, which comes in a variety of pre-designed packages.
Want a Powertec Smith Machine with lat tower?
Well, finally, you can get one in the UK!
The lat tower supercharges your Roller Smith Machine by levelling-up your home workouts with a variety of cable exercises. It works in tandem with the utility bench so that you can hook your thighs under the leg supports and do proper lat pulldowns like you would in a commercial gym. Naturally, this makes you stronger and enables you to focus more on working your lats since your core is stabler .
Much like the Roller Smith Machine itself, the lat tower has built-in steel guide rods and ultra glide bushings that create a smooth, friction-free lifting motion. As a result, you can achieve a stronger pump on a variety of different bodybuilding exercises such as pulldowns, pushdowns, biceps curls and lateral raises.
The lat tower measures 75cm L x 95cm W x 203cm H and has a whopping 227kg weight capacity. This compact design makes it ideal if you're serious about adding mass to your upper body but don't have space (or money) for a bunch of bulky standalone gym machines .
The Powertec Workbench Utility Bench has been a best-seller on the home fitness market for years. It hooks up to more than 5 attachments to increase your training variety and comes with and a substantial 272kg weight capacity. If you're into bodybuilding like me, all of the different add-ons (more on those in just a minute) will make you salivate.
The bench itself has benefited from significant core upgrades in recent times. Powertec has equipped the latest version of their iconic Workbench with larger feet and an additional cross bar under the frame for extra stability. This new design means that you can stay focused on your workout without worrying about the bench wobbling under heavy loads, which enables you to push harder and trigger more muscle growth.
Likewise, the new centre adjustment enables you to quickly change the angle to your most comfortable position for further stability, helping you to generate more power due to having a more supported core.
However, as a keen bodybuilder with a penchant for gym efficiency, the new horizontal adjustment mechanism is my favourite feature. The unmistakable yellow safety pin enables you to adjust the angle of the backrest and seat simultaneously so that they're always in the optimal position.
Not only does this save you valuable time, but it also ensures that your body is correctly positioned and primed to recruit the most amount of muscle fibres for a given exercise. This makes each workout more effective for building muscle and is particularly beneficial for incline presses, where an overly large gap between the seat and backrest makes it virtually impossible to work your upper chest.
Like the rest of the Powertec product line, the leg lift has recently been redesigned to provide safer and more effective home workouts. Most notably, there's now a permanent safety stopper to prevent dangerous knee hyperextension during leg curls .
Like any good leg developer, it offers both quad extensions and lying hamstring curls, making it an excellent piece of kit for lower body supersets.
Ironically, a few users noted that it was actually better than the standalone leg machines that they'd bought in the past. And of course, this attachment is around 10x cheaper, too.
The leg lift has a 2.25kg starting weight and supports up to 90kg of weight plates, which is double the industry average of 45kg. Overall, it's probably the most popular Powertec Workbench attachment. And by reckoning—the most important (I'm no fan of skipping leg day).
The Powertec Workbench Leg Press Accessory is one of the company's newest attachments, and without a doubt, one of their most innovative.
It connects directly to the bench and offers a deep range of motion that enables you to attain a full stretch in your quads and glutes as if you were doing an ass-to-grass barbell squat.
The leg press attachment cleverly makes use of the bench's existing support handles so that you can lift more weight by increasing your core stability.
If you've been training legs for a while, then you might turn your nose up at the 181kg (190kg including the starting weight) maximum resistance. However, since the sled travels much deeper than your average leg press, the exercise feels way harder than usual since your muscles have to go through a more extensive range of motion to complete each rep.
Plus, when you pump this sled up and down for high reps, you'll wish you'd lightened the weight.
The 2-in-1 bicep curl and T-Bar row accessory is like nothing I've seen before.
It's height-adjustable so that you can get the optimal biceps stretch and contraction that's needed to stimulate new arm growth.
But you can also thicken your back with heavy rows (up to 90kg) by using an overhand or underhand grip. An overhand grip will emphasise your traps, whereas an underhand grip will work more lats. Do both, and you'll achieve complete back development .
Not to be confused with cumbersome pec deck machines, the pec fly attachment is a great accessory for finishing off your chest after heavy bench presses. Since the lever arm mimics the path of a dumbbell fly, you'll build a more developed chest because you can get a deeper stretch and stronger contraction on each rep.
Oh, and you can lift up to 500lbs/226kg...if you just happen to be Mr Olympia.
I used to love doing weighted dips back in the day. But poor form as a teenager means that they're no longer a possibility for my beat-up shoulders.
So naturally, I was excited to learn about the Powertec Workbench Dip Attachment. And I have to say; despite my initial scepticism, it really works the chest and triceps nicely.
Specifically, my outer chest has broadened significantly since incorporating this accessory into my training .
Compared to the old model that I tried on the Smith machine Powertec system about five years ago, the lifting motion feels much smoother, and the tension feels more consistent. Not only is this add-on tailormade for getting a pump (especially when you do high reps), but it's also far easier on the shoulders, which is great for someone of my predisposition.
See our Powerline Smith Machine reviews page if you're on a budget, yet still want to customise your own Smith machine.
The dimensions of the Powertec Smith Machine are 107cm L x 217cm W x 210cm H.
Since Powertec has updated the bearings in their latest model, enabling more precise bar tracking, the resistance feels remarkably smooth. There isn't the annoying friction that you often get with cheaper Smith machines, and it really makes a difference to your mind-muscle connection.
The Powertec Smith Machine is for sale for the lowest price in the UK via the link below (during October 2020).
I recommend investing in the Body Power Heavy Rubber Gym Mat if you want an affordable solution that's also incredibly durable. The mat weighs a whopping 42kg, comes with a full year's warranty and is designed to withstand extremely heavy impact.
You can put it straight on top of wood, laminate, carpet, concrete or whatever type of flooring you have at home. Works like a charm for keeping your floor damage-free.
I'm sure Powertec does their own weights, but I recommend the Body Power Tri-Gip Olympic Disc Kit. It's available in 12 different sizes and comes with a 2-year warranty. I've had them for years and I've got no complaints. The tri-grip also makes them really easy to slide on and off the Smith bar.
I've read countless Powertec Smith Machine reviews. And not one of them has been negative. Users love this Smith machine for its silky smooth lifting motion that you just can't find anywhere else for the price.
The damage-resistant 12 gauge steel frame fights off wear and tear while staying strong and stable—even when you're pushing close the 204kg weight capacity.
Also, having a real 20kg Olympic barbell at your disposal is a massive plus. It feels like you're lifting free weights, yet you have the added safety of a Smith machine, which enables you to mentally push yourself harder and trigger more of that all-important muscle growth that us lifters so badly crave.
The highlight, however, is being able to customise the Roller Smith and effectively transform it into your dream home gym. With more than 5 heavy-duty attachments to play with, you won't be spending money on gym equipment for a very long time—if ever.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found my Powertec Smith Machine review helpful. Whether you go for the regular Smith machine or invest in all the attachments, it'll definitely make your home workouts safer and more effective.