I’ve owned all three of the bits of weight-training kit mentioned in the title. I had the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System for about five years and that was housed in a garage where I previously lived.

I then moved to a smaller apartment without a garage and only part of a bedroom to set aside as gym space where the Series 7 just wouldn’t fit. I needed something more compact.

First I went for the Powertec Workbench LeverGym and then moved on to the IronMaster IM2000.

In this article I’ll compare these three bits of workout kit. I’ve had a few people contact me about which of these weight-training machines to choose. Another person contacted me recently and that prompted me to write this article.

Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System

Body Solid Series 7 Smith machine. I was quite happy with this equipment and if I hadn’t moved I’d probably still be using it. It’s the bulkiest item of the three I’m writing about and has the largest footprint. That’s partly because I went for the ‘Master System’, which comes with a high/low pulley system and a pec deck, and these extend the length of the machine.

You don’t have to get the Master System. You could get a Series 7 without the pulley system and pec deck and it would take up less room, but I still believe it would have the biggest footprint of all three items.

It’s a great bit of kit though and free-weights are supported via the gun rack on the front uprights.

You can read my Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System Review here.

Powertec Workbench LeverGym

Powertec Workbench LeverGym. After moving to a smaller apartment I bought the LeverGym. In retrospect this was a mistake. I figured I was more into general fitness than dedicated weight-training now and the LeverGym seemed right for that. Indeed it is, but I just can’t help myself and I got back into proper strength training again.

Soon I yearned for free-weights and barbells and the LeverGym was just not satisfying my needs.

It is fine for general fitness. It’s reasonably compact and the rear lever pulley system in particular is exceptionally smooth. It is a good bit of equipment but your needs must match it.

If you are training for general fitness you’ll be fine with this and it’s the cheapest of the three items I’m writing about. If however you are (or think you will become) serious about powerlifting, bodybuilding or strength training then you will yearn for barbells and free-weights and the LeverGym will probably prove unsuitable.

You can read my Powertec Workbench LeverGym Review here.

IronMaster IM2000 Self-Spotting Machine

Ironmaster IM2000. I replaced the LeverGym with the IM2000 and I’m extremely pleased I did so. I highly rate the IM2000 and it’s perfect for my needs.

It is relatively compact, partly due to how it uses the ‘Smith bar’ as the resistance for the pulley system. If you purchase the J-hooks and spotter bars — and you should — then free-weight exercises are supported too.

It is expensive and it doesn’t come with a bench so you’ll need to purchase that too. But I think it’s worth the money if you’re into serious weight-training and this is one of the things that rated a rare five star review from me.

You can read my Ironmaster IM200 Review here.

As I mentioned, it doesn’t come with a bench so I purchased the Ironmaster Superbench to go with it.

Comparisons

Size and Footprint

The LeverGym and the IM2000 have relatively small footprints compared to the Series 7.

The Series 7 is: 168 cm (66 in) deep by 213.5 cm (84in) wide by 211 cm (83in) high.

The LeverGym is: 122 cm (48 in) deep by 146 cm (57.5 in) wide by 208 cm (82 in) high.

The IM2000 is: 122 cm (48 in) deep by 122 cm (48 in) wide by 215 cm (84.5 in) high.

All those measurements exclude the bench and you will need to make an allowance for that too. The LeverGym, for example, extends to 207 cm (81.5 in) deep when the bench is attached. The IM2000 and Series 7 will also extend the depth similarly.

Remember you will also need room to work around any bits of weight-training kit. You’ll need room to add weight plates to the machine, room for a 7ft Olympic barbell (in the case of free-weights on the IM2000 and Series 7) and room for you to move about comfortably too. Measure your workout area carefully before making any purchase.

Type of Training

Both the IM2000 and the Series 7 are more geared towards people who are weight-training for bodybuilding or strength. They can both be used with free-weights and they’re robust enough to take severe punishment.

The LeverGym is more suited to people who perhaps want to weight-train as a supplement to a general all-round fitness training programme. You can’t use free-weights with the LeverGym.

Cost

The Body-Solid Series 7 Master System is about £2,600 ($3,430) at the time of writing. That includes a bench, preacher curl and leg attachments, pec deck and a pulley system with a weight stack. All you really need to add to that is the cost of your weight plates and barbells, dumbbells etc. It’s still a big chunk of money though.

The Ironmaster IM2000 is about £1,350 ($1,780) at the time of writing. That does not include a bench and if you wanted the Ironmaster Superbench to go with it, you can add another £300 ($400), which would take you up to £1,650 ($2,180). Then you’d need to add the J-hooks and spotter bars for free-weight exercises and that would add another £160 ($210) and if you add a few attachments — maybe like the leg attachment for the bench or the pull-up bar for the IM2000 — you’ll soon be over £2,000 ($2,640). And that’s before you buy your weight plates and barbells.

The Powertec Workbench LeverGym is £950 to £1,130 ($1,250 to $1,490) depending, it seems, on what colour you want it. But that’s virtually everything you need, including a bench. You’d just need to buy weight plates.

Conclusion

As I said, if I was still living at my old place with the garage I’d still be using the Series 7 and would be quite contented. I was forced to reconsider by the move.

The LeverGym wasn’t for me. It’s a good bit of kit but I threw myself into more serious strength training and wanted to use free-weights and barbells.

The IM2000 is awesome. I didn’t know about it when I purchased my Series 7 (I don’t think it existed then). I wouldn’t have swapped my Series 7 for an IM2000, having already laid out the money, but if the IM2000 was available and on my radar before I got the Series 7, I’d have chosen the IM2000 instead. It’s my favourite of the three in general terms and also specifically for its relatively small footprint, which was a requirement in my new place.