The Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown is a quality selectorized machine with a 310 lb weight stack and great versatility. You can use it for lat pulldowns, low rows, cable curls, triceps pushdowns, and more. With side holes on the uprights and bottom support, you can also add attachments like dip stations and landmines. It’s well-priced, ships for free, and includes a solid warranty.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
Adding a lat pulldown machine is one of the first things I recommend to home gym owners who have covered the basics (a rack, a bench, a bar, and some plates).
They’re great for lat pulldowns, but you can use them for low rows and dozens of other exercises, making them a versatile accessory piece.
The Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown Low Row Machine improves on a classic design with a bigger weight stack and unique attachment features.
It’s not perfect, but it packs a ton of value and performs as well or better than most.
In this review, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare it to the popular Titan Fitness Lat Tower.
Let’s dig in.
Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown Low Row Machine
I added the Bells of Steel Pulldown to my gym at the beginning of 2023. I use it 2-3 times per week, making it one of my most used pieces.
I’m impressed with the performance, design, and smooth cable rotation, especially on the high pulley.
I’m also a huge fan of the larger weight stack and feel selectorized machines, in general, are best if you have the budget. They’re easy to use and ultra-convenient.
However, the low pulley isn’t quite as smooth as the top, and assembling the machine wasn’t the easiest process.
Let’s take a look at the specs and get into the review.
- Weight Capacity: 310+ lbs
- Resistance: Selectorized
- Weight Increments: 10 lbs
- Weight Ratio: 1:1
- Pulley Type: Aluminum
- Cable Size: 1/4″
- Dimensions: 87″ H x 41″ W x 70″ D
- Total Weight: 528 lbs
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
The BoS Lat Pulldown has a fairly common design, but there are a few key factors to point out. Starting with the dimensions, this machine is fairly compact at only 41″ wide. However, most of that width is limited to the rear support base that sits against a wall, making the effective width much less. The total depth ranges from 55″ to 70″, depending on how far you extend the low row footplate.
The 87″ height is one of my favorite features because it’s tall enough for most lifters while fitting under most home gym ceilings. Shorter lat machines may be better for low clearances, but they limit range of motion on pulldowns for many lifters. In my experience, the 87″ height strikes a great balance.
The most unique feature of this machine is the hole design. While others have side holes in the uprights, Bells of Steel was the first to add holes in the bottom support. So, in addition to attaching things like a dip bar to the upright, you can attach a landmine to the bottom for even more versatility.
There are two important areas to look at when assessing the quality of a lat pulldown: the frame and the pulleys/cables. This machine is built with 11-gauge steel, which is consistent with high-end pulldowns. Not only does that create a sturdy, rigid support, but it also contributes to a 550 lb maximum weight capacity.
Bells of Steel uses aluminum pulleys on this machine, which are more durable than plastic or nylon. They also use a ~1/4″ thick cable, helping to create a smooth experience consistent with higher-end models.
A third area to consider is pad quality. I appreciate the softer leg attachments for comfort, but they don’t feel quite as durable as denser (and less comfortable) rollers or pads. Still, with home gym use, it would take a long time to wear these down. The seat is denser and consistent with similar machines.
Weight Capacity & Ratio
One of the best things about the Bells of Steel Pulldown is the 310 lb weight stack. Most selectorized machines max out at 300 lbs, giving this one a 10 lb advantage and making it better for heavy lifters.
It also offers 10 lb increments, which is ideal for progressive overload. However, you have two additional options if you want to adjust the weight further:
- Plate Weight: Bells of Steel provides a separate plate peg selector, letting you add weight plates. This is perfect for achieving micro adjustments of 2.5 or 5 lbs (or others). You can also use the peg to exceed the max weight by 20 lbs. Need even more weight? Check out the Gym Pin to hit the 550 lb max.
- Band Resistance: This machine includes 8 band pegs (4 on each side) to attach bands for accommodating resistance and concentric overload
Like most lat pulldowns, this machine has a 1:1 ratio, meaning you will feel 100% of the selected weight. For example, if you select 200 lbs, you will actually be pulling 200 lbs. This differs from a functional trainer, which may have a 2:1 ratio, meaning you’ll feel 50% of the selected weight.
Using the Lat Pulldown
The High pulley is arguably the most important aspect of a lat pulldown/low row machine. Rows are easier to replicate with dumbbells, barbells, etc. than lat pulldowns, so most people will likely focus on this aspect.
I’m genuinely thrilled with the pulldown performance on this machine. I’ve found the pulleys to be very smooth, and the range of motion is great. Bells of Steel provides a chain in the package to adjust the height of the lat bar for different users, which is a nice consideration.
The high pulley is tall enough for full-range triceps pushdowns, straight arm pulldowns, face-pulls, and more. The chain is easy to adjust based on movements and user height.
The lat pulldown bar BoS provides is good for the money but not the best I’ve used. Still, it’s a stainless steel bar with full knurling, making it a solid attachment for pulldowns and more.
The leg holders have 7 height adjustments, making it one of the most adjustable on the market. The leg holders are very comfortable, but I prefer something slightly denser for better long-term durability. However, I can’t complain about the overall performance.
Using the Low Row
The low row offers 15 length adjustments, also making it one of the most adjustable on the market. The foot attachment has a diamond-plated pattern and is big enough for comfortable foot placement. It’s much beefier than cheaper plate-loaded models.
Like others in this class, you perform low rows while seated on the ground. It’s not as comfortable as a proper seated low row, but it’s normal for most home gym options.
While I like the overall operation, the low pulley isn’t as smooth as the high pulley. There seems to be slightly more friction, which creates more noise.
In addition to low rows, you can perform cable curls, upright rows, bent-over rows, and more.
I recommend removing the low row foot attachment when performing other low-pulley movements to achieve better positioning.
Shipping & Assembly
The Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown ships in a series of boxes and requires a fair amount of assembly. I won’t sugarcoat it – the assembly process isn’t fun. It’s certainly not the hardest thing I’ve put together in the gym, but expect at least two hours if you’re building it alone like I did.
I think the process would be easier if the instructions were better. Bells of Steel provides a single-page diagram that isn’t very clear. Thankfully, they provide an installation video, which I recommend.
The hardest part for me was routing the bottom cable. I highly recommend having a friend help you – it will make the whole assembly faster and easier.
Aesthetically, this is a nice-looking machine. It’s not the most beautiful piece I own, but I like the all-black scheme. I also like the tiered color scheme of the weight plate stickers. It looks good and helps quickly identify the weights. But as you can see from my machine, I upgraded my stacks with a custom Plate Snacks vinyl overlay. It’s a fun and unique way to spice up your home gym.
My only point of contention with the aesthetics is that there are a lot of bolts, especially in the logo plate and high pulley arm. This is very common and quite nit-picky of me, but I’d love to see black hardware to blend in better.
This Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown receives very positive reviews from users. People love the compact footprint, sturdy construction, and smooth pulleys. They also appreciate the lower price compared to the competition. However, several people pointed to the challenging assembly due to poor instructions.
Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown vs. Titan Fitness Lat Tower
The Titan Fitness Lat Tower is one of the most popular pulldown machines among home gym owners. It’s well-spec’d and has great reviews, but how does it stack up to the Bells of Steel Pulldown?
At first glance, you may be thinking these are identical machines, but there are a few key differences. One is that the Bells of Steel Pulldown has a larger weight stack by 10 lbs. Both options have 10 lb increments and band pegs for accommodating resistance, but I like the bigger range on the Bells of Steel machine.
While both pulldowns have side holes in the uprights, only Bells of Steel has holes in the bottom crossmember. If you plan to use a landmine attachment on the machine, BoS is clearly the best option. Otherwise, it’s a draw in terms of attachment versatility.
I like the adjustability of both machines but prefer the softer padding on the Bells of Steel leg attachments. However, the Titan rollers seem slightly more durable.
Lastly, both of these machines are priced the same as of this writing. However, Bells of Steel has a limited lifetime warranty vs. only one year on the Titan. Both are solid home gym options, but the Bells of Steel Pulldown has more features and a better value.
Pros and Cons
The Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown Low Row Machine is an excellent option for home gym owners. It has some of, if not the best, value for a quality selectorized unit.
I love the bigger weight stack and 10 lb increments, and I appreciate the two additional ways to influence load. With a strong 550 lb capacity, it’s plenty for most people.
I’m also a fan of this unit’s height and overall adjustability. The hole features on the upright and bottom crossmember are unique and versatile for various attachments.
I’m underwhelmed with the instructions, and the assembly process is a bit challenging, but I’m very impressed with the performance and function of the machine.