The Body-Solid EXM-1500S draws praise for its solid build and the company's excellent customer service. Users say it's easy to assemble with some prep work, and the pulleys offer smooth, solid operation. Unfortunately, the 160-pound weight stack isn't enough to challenge experienced exercisers.
A mid-range assembly time. We found a few complaints that the Body-Solid EXM-1500S can be a real headache to set up, but many more reviewers say it's nothing excessive as long as you take the time to sort all the parts out before you get started. The good news is the assembly instructions are great; the high-quality parts fit together easily, and they even arrive well packaged. Still, judging from user comments, you should plan on four to six hours of assembly time.
One Amazon.com user suggests using two 17-mm ratchets and some larger crescent wrenches for the easiest assembly.
Beginner appeal. The Body-Solid EXM-1500S's pulley system is extremely smooth, quiet and easy to use. "No jerking whatsoever," writes one Amazon user. "Using the machine is a dream, it's smooth and silent," confirms another.
The 160-pound weight stack is adequate for beginners, but advanced users will find themselves wishing for more resistance. Also, a few comments from customers hint that taller people might feel cramped. "This machine is NOT for a person who is above average size. When you sit in the seat to do pulldowns there is not a whole lot of room," explains an Amazon reviewer.
Two thumbs up. We found nothing but positive feedback about Body-Solid's customer service -- a refreshing change from the complaints that many other manufacturers receive. "Can't praise them too highly," writes one reviewer at Amazon.com. "It's very easy to get replacement parts if they break or wear out," says another.
Paul Rogers, About.com's guide to weight training, praises the EXM-1500S as a "great, solid mid-range home gym." It also draws praise from TrainerSecrets.com for its build quality, and the lifetime warranty speaks volumes about the manufacturer's confidence in its product.
The Body-Solid EXM-1500S' 4.5-star Amazon.com rating, after nearly 50 user reviews, is impressive. Most users praise its build quality, smooth operation and Body-Solid's excellent customer service.
Review: Body Solid EXM-1500S Single Stack Home Gym, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
The author, a bodybuilder and personal trainer, selects the Body-Solid EXM-1500S as one of his five favorite gyms. He writes that it's a good quality system, but ranks it at the bottom for its light (160-pound) weight stack.
Review: Home Gym Equipment Reviews, Matt Weik, Dec. 2, 2010
3. Trainer Secrets
It's not clear who's behind the reviews at TrainerSecrets.com, but they're usually authoritative and well grounded. Here, the author praises the EXM-1500S' overall build quality and ergonomics, saying he (or she) puts it well above less-expensive gyms with more bells and whistles.
Review: Body Solid EXM 1500 Gym Review, Editors of TrainerSecrets.com, Not dated
Paul Rogers, About.com's guide to weight training, selects the Body-Solid EXM-1500S as one of the seven best home gyms. His pick doesn't seem to be drawn from hands-on testing, though, and his comments are incredibly brief.
Review: Top 7 Home Gyms and Multi Gyms, Paul Rogers, April 18, 2011