Soloflex or Bowflex: Which Is Better?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

I’m a fitness advocate with a holistic approach to health, wellness, and longevity. I’ve walked the walk since 2009 - using my personal development methods to unleash the fitness champ within you.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Celestial
Reviewed by Rhealyn Celestial

I’m a researcher, and I’m also a full-time mom. I spend my weekdays crafting thoughtful articles for small businesses, and my weekends with my son learning about the world together

Are you trying to get fit? If so, a home gym is what you need. With the best gym equipment, you may perform a variety of workouts, including bench presses and squats, without having to pay for a membership.

The Soloflex and the Bowflex stand out as extremely sophisticated and top-notch home gyms. However, the top place can only be claimed by one. 

These are comparable home weight-training apparatuses developed in the late 1970s. They were made well-known through television infomercials in the 1980s and 1990s. 

Choosing between Soloflex or Bowflex comes down to figuring out which system meets your budget and exercise goals the best. And we’re here to clear up any ambiguity.

Comparison of Soloflex and Bowflex

If your urge to invest in a home gym comes from testing that body solid smith machine at your friend’s home gym; then you know that variety of exercises matters. But it’s not only that.

Here’s a more detailed comparison of Soloflex vs. Bowflex. 

Soloflex Bowflex
DesignTraditional home gym machines with weighted rubber straps for resistanceCable pulley system with роwеr Rоd tесhnоlоgу for resistance
Weight & Size48 x 48 x 72 inches and 176 lbs53 x 49 x 83.25 inches and 210 lbs to 410 lbs
CostNew: Around $2,000 Used: Between $250-$500Between $999 to $4,828.99
Resistance up to 500 lbs410 lbs
Versatility30 different exercise options65 exercise variations
Warranty1 yearup to 10 years

Design

The Soloflex’s design leans more toward conventional home training equipment and supports pulldowns, barbell workouts, and free-body activities. A bench and a floating barbell are included for most exercises.

Additionally, strong rubber bands known as Soloflex weight straps are fastened to the floating barbell. Contrarily, a Bowflex is more compact, wider, and slightly taller than a Soloflex. Power rods and a cable pulley system are used to resist weight. 

Weight & Size

Soloflex is 48′′ x 48′′ x 72′′ in size and weighs 176lbs or 79kg. There are modest changes in the dimensions of Bowflex machines. For instance, the Xtreme 2 SE, one of their best-selling models, is comparable to Soloflex gyms in size at 53 inches by 49 inches by 83.25 inches.

Bowflex Xtreme 2SE

The maximum user weight for Soloflex home gyms is 405lbs, or 183kg, whereas the maximum for Bowflex machines is 300lbs or 136kg. Therefore, the Soloflex gives you a lot of space, especially if you are tall or heavy.

Cost

Soloflex machines cost approximately twice as much as Bowflex machines. The cost difference between these home gym systems varies depending on the models. However, the Soloflex machine is significantly more expensive than its rival.

Resistance

Elastic weight straps provide the bulk of the resistance on a Soloflex machine. The straps are fastened to pegs on the equipment’s arms, stretching as you work out to increase the resistance exponentially. 

Soloflex machines are often recommended as exercise equipment for back pain because they can help build up the muscles around the spine, providing support and stability.

Most Bowflex gyms use flexible polymer rods, known as power rods, as the main resistance mechanism. These rods have cables attached to the ends, and as the cables are pulled, the rods bend to provide resistance. Discs replace power rods with wrapped elastic straps in the priciest Bowflex machines. 

Versatility

The Soloflex system, in contrast, provides 30 different exercise options. The ability to add free weights compensates for Soloflex’s limited selection of exercises, making it a fantastic alternative for weight training and bodyweight workouts. Since there are no distinct versions of Soloflex machines, you could assume that your options are limited.

man doing arm exercises with gym machine

The Bowflex system features a traditional model with several variants, such as the muscle machine with butterfly and leg extension, a retro muscle machine, and a muscle machine.

Warranty

Soloflex provides a one-year limited guarantee on its machines, according to the official website. Weight straps, shock rings, and frame manufacturing flaws are all covered by the warranty.

Contrarily, based on the model, Bowflex products offer a variety of warranty alternatives. For instance, the Xtreme 2 SE has a lifetime warranty for the power rods and a seven-year warranty for the equipment. In contrast, the Bowflex Revolution Home Gym offers a ten-year warranty for parts. 

Soloflex and Bowflex – Pros & Cons 

Bowflex Pros

  • Cheaper than Soloflex in price
  • Designed for over 65 exercises
  • Includes a lat bar and a squat bar
  • Switching between exercises is simple
  • Enables a wider range of motion than Soloflex

Bowflex Cons

  • Require at least 82 inches of head clearance
  • You will have to pay extra money if you require more durability or weight.
  • Larger than the Soloflex. It occupies a large amount of room, needing a workspace measuring roughly 8′ 4′′ by 6′ 6′′.

back muscles of a muscular man

Soloflex Pros

  • Has a floating barbell included
  • It offers an adjustable workout bench
  • There are plenty of spare parts available
  • You can do up to 30 distinct exercises available.
  • Allows for greater weight capacity than Bowflex

Soloflex Cons

  • It costs more than a Bowflex
  • Unsuitable for shorter individuals
  • Some workouts are uncomfortable to perform while holding a bar

Which Product Allows for the Most Exercises?

Both fitness centers can perform a total-body workout. Just over 30 distinct fundamental exercises are available on the Soloflex, including the bench press, leg press, and numerous pull-down exercises for the back. 

Beyond the Classic model, Bowflex gyms provide at least 65 other exercises. You can design more diverse training plans thanks to Bowflex’s greater selection of exercises, especially if you want to circuit train or work out to shed weight rather than build muscle. 

While the Bowflex cannot be used for body-weight exercises like dips and chin-ups, the Soloflex is a more sturdy piece of equipment.

Does Soloflex Really Work?

If you are looking for a workout that will give you visible results, then Soloflex may not be the best option. However, if you are looking for a workout that is convenient and easy to use, then Soloflex may be a good fit. 

The main benefit of Soloflex is that it is very compact and can be used in a small space. It is also relatively affordable, making it a good option for people on a budget. 

ab muscle of a man in the mirror

How Much Does a Bowflex Weigh?

A standard Bowflex XTL weighs about 200lbs, but it can vary depending on the model and accessories. For instance, the weight of a model that includes an ankle strap will be slightly higher than a model that does not have this accessory. In addition, the machine’s weight may increase if you add additional weights to the rods. 

Can You Build Muscle With a Soloflex?

Yes, you can build muscle with a Soloflex. You just need a few pulleys and weights, allowing users to target specific muscle groups and get a great workout without leaving their homes.

Is Soloflex Still in Business?

Unfortunately, Soloflex has not been in business for many years. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and was unable to recover. 

While there are some Soloflex products still available for purchase on auction sites like eBay, the company is no longer producing new exercise equipment. 

Do People Still Buy Soloflex?

Yes. But regrettably, the traditional Solflex is no longer in production. However, you might be able to buy a secondhand one through Craigslist or in your local newspaper. On their website, they continue to sell weight loss products.

Are Free Weights Better Than Bowflex?

Free weights are preferable to a Bowflex if your objective is to increase your strength and muscle mass. On a Bowflex, you can still develop those things, but not nearly as effective. Free weights are more practical techniques to increase strength and muscle mass.

Conclusion

Take into account the type of activities you intend to perform before making a home gym purchase. You also need to consider whether you have enough room or space where you live.

The Bowflex home gym is advantageous to those who have enough room. The ability to disassemble this equipment makes it simple to store when not in use. It’s a good alternative if you’re on a tight budget.

The Soloflex, on the other hand, is a different alternative to consider if value is more important to you than money. You can carry out a variety of workouts and activities using Soloflex.

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