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Bowflex Home Gym Reviews and Comparisons | Expert Buying Guide

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For over 30 years Bowflex have been designing innovative and affordable home gym equipment, which is often based around new and unique resistance systems. This ranges from their SelectTech adjustable dumbbells to the power rods of the PR1000 and PR3000 home gyms.

But Bowflex are equally well known for their line of cardio equipment, which includes the incredibly successful TreadClimber collection, and more recently their M3 and M5 Max Trainers – a combination of elliptical and stepper machine.

So how do you find the best Bowflex home gym for your own health and fitness goals?

In our comprehensive buyer’s guide we’ll provide you with a quick summary of the key features for each model, together with a link through to our more in-depth review.

It’s in these reviews that we take a closer look at the design features, assembly process, customer feedback, and exercise options, as well as making some important comparisons with other similarly priced home gym systems.

Bowflex PR1000

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym Review

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
As their entry level home gym, the PR1000 supports over 30 different exercises, with up to 210 lbs of Power Rod resistance. The only downside is that this resistance isn’t upgradeable.

On every other Bowflex home gym you can upgrade the resistance to either 310 lbs or 410 lbs, depending on how many additional Power Rods you use. Unfortunately there’s a considerable price difference between the PR1000 and PR3000 (usually between $400 and $500).

In terms of the floor space required, the overall footprint is slightly larger than your standard selectorized home gym (one which uses a stack of weight plates for resistance), but can be folded to preserve space when not in use.

Thanks to the combination of Power Rods, multiple bench positions, high cable pulley, and leg developer attachment, you’re able to put together an effective full body workout. This includes pulldowns and rows for your back, curls for your biceps, and seated presses for your shoulders.

Key features:

  • Exercise options: 30+
  • Resistance upgrade: No

  • Power rod resistance: 210 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

In our full review we take a closer look at the design features and resistance system, as well as the exercise options and customer feedback, to help you decide if this is the best choice of home gym for your fitness goals and budget. We also make some important comparisons with the PR3000 to determine which model really offers the best value for money.

Bowflex PR3000

The PR3000 is one of the best Bowflex home gym systems on the market

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
The PR3000 uses the same unique Power Rod resistance system as the PR1000, except now you can choose to upgrade the maximum resistance from 210 lbs to either 310 lbs or 410 lbs.

Although the cable pulley system is a lot more intricate on the PR3000, once you get past the assembly this offers some impressive benefits.

Firstly, you’re able to remove the seat completely from the rest of the frame, creating more space for performing exercises with the low cable pulleys, such as curls and squats.

This is one of the reasons why Bowflex report over 50 exercises can be performed using the PR3000, compared to just 30 exercises on the PR1000.

However, getting into position with the bar across your back isn’t as easy as simply stepping out of a rack, and due to the shape of the base frame you’re quite limited in your choice of foot placement.

But the truth is a squat rack and home gym are two very different pieces of equipment. A good home gym should be designed to support full body workouts, which the PR3000 does extremely well.

The only downside is the warranty, which provides 1 year of coverage on the frame, 60 days on parts, and 7 years on the Power Rods. This feels a little restrictive compared to the warranty offered on the Body Solid home gyms, which often provides lifetime coverage on the frame and all parts.

Although the PR3000 is much more affordable than the Xtreme 2 SE and Revolution home gyms from Bowflex, the resistance should be challenging enough for most fitness levels.

If you’re looking for a Bowflex home gym with higher resistance levels, we would have to recommend the Revolution model. You get 220 lbs as standard, which is upgradeable to 300 lbs for upper body, and 600 lbs for the lower body.

Key features:

  • Exercise options: 50+
  • Resistance upgrade: 310 lbs, 410 lbs

  • Power rod resistance: 210 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

Bowflex Blaze

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym Review

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
Usually priced between the PR1000 and PR3000 home gyms is the Bowflex Blaze, making it the most affordable Bowflex home gym to offer the Power Rod resistance upgrade.

As with the PR1000, cardio row is still an option due to the length of the bench section and sliding seat design, which can also be folded to save space when not in use.

Between the high and low cable pulleys there are more than 60 exercise options to choose from, ranging from bicep curls to lat pulldowns, and even leg extensions and curls thanks to the leg developer.

The progressive resistance provided by the Power Rods coupled with the freedom of movement created by the cables allows you to safely and effectively target muscle groups from a variety of angles.

This is helped by the number of attachments included in the box, such as a lat bar for pressdowns and pulldowns, leg extension, triple-function handgrips, and ankle cuffs.

But it’s also worth mentioning that there’s no big improvement on the warranty offered by Bowflex on their Blaze home gym, which has the same 1 year on frame and 60 days on parts that the PR1000, PR3000, and Xtreme 2SE have.

If you can look beyond the limited warranty and focus on the high build quality, versatility, range of exercise options, and large number of highly rated reviews on Amazon, the Blaze is still an excellent home gym for this price range.

Key features:

  • Exercise options: 60+
  • Resistance upgrade: 310 lbs, 410 lbs

  • Power rod resistance: 210 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

Bowflex Xtreme 2SE

Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym Review

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
As an upgrade of the Bowflex Xtreme SE, the 3-position lower pulley system has now become a 4-position system, increasing the number of exercise options from 65+ to 70+.

The overall design is very similar to that of the PR3000, with a seat that can be quickly removed to clear more space for exercises with the low pulleys, such as curls and squats.

However, the Xtreme 2 SE offers an additional 25 exercise options, and a much more impressive warranty. The PR3000 was only covered for 1 year on the frame, 60 days on parts, and 7 years on the Power Rods. But with this model, the machine is covered for 7 years, and you get a lifetime warranty on the Power Rods.

One of the reasons for having more exercises to choose from is the positioning of the cable pulleys. On the Xtreme 2 SE you can have a pair setup behind your head, allowing you to perform a range of core strengthening exercises using the ab harness attachment.

When you complete your ab workout, you can then detach the same cable pulleys and slide them over each end of the horizontal bar, which has 4 positions to choose from.

The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE is usually available for around half the price of their top-of-the-line Revolution home gym, but the Revolution does have its advantages. This includes up to 600 lbs of lower body resistance, and their independently moving Freedom Arms® system for over 100 exercise options.

Key features:

  • Exercise options: 75+
  • Resistance upgrade: 310 lbs, 410 lbs

  • Power rod resistance: 210 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

Bowflex Revolution

Bowflex Revolution Home Gym Review

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
The Revolution is the only Bowflex home gym to use SpiraFlex® resistance in place of the Power Rod® system, which uses a series of resistance bands wrapped inside specially designed weight plates.

Because the resistance is generated through the tension of the bands, the plates are incredibly light, and able to deliver smooth, consistent resistance through the full range of motion.

Similar to their other home gyms, the Bowflex Revolution includes 220 lbs of resistance as standard, but can be upgraded to 300 lbs for the upper body, and 600 lbs for the lower body (upgrade usually costs under $100).

Despite its size, you can actually fold most of the frame down to a much smaller size when not in use. The seat rail folds vertically and the Freedom Arms® can be folded down, creating a compact footprint of just 55″L x 38″W.

The Freedom Arms® are actually one of the most important upgrades over the Power Rod® system, with 10 positions to choose from and 170 degree adjustments supporting over 100 exercise options for full body workouts.

In terms of warranty, the Revolution has the best coverage of any Bowflex home gym, with 10 years on the frame compared to the 7 that are provided with the Xtreme 2 SE.

Key features:

  • Exercise options: 100+
  • Resistance upgrade: 300 lbs (upper body) and 600 lbs (lower body)

  • Power rod resistance: 220 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

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