Nautilus Gym Equipment Review

TLDR: In the Hall of Bodybuilding Fame, you’re probably going to have to leave room for Nautilus. This is a legit brand that were first to market with a lot of what you take for granted now. If you’re looking to buy gym equipment for the home or upgrade a commercial gym, you’ll want to read what we have to say about them before you open your wallet. This is our Nautilus gym equipment review for you.

Read: Our Summary


  • Nautilus Gym Equipment is now made by Bowflex Inc a US business
  • Nautilus was founded by bodybuilding trainer Arthur Jones
  • Nautilus invented the first pullover machine
Is Nautilus Gym Equipment any good?

Quick Nautilus Ratings

Resale Value
Initial Cost
Value For Money
Nautilus Gym Equipment Reviews

Who are Nautilus the gym brand?

Nautilus is a brand of gym equipment that caters to resistance trainers around the world, from bodybuilders to your Great Aunt Mabel. Part of the Bowflex corporation these days, they sit within the premium commercial end of the market. Perhaps not as well known to the casual gym goer as Technogym may be, but to those who know – they have a pretty solid track record.

What are the origins of Nautilus?

Think of the Nautilus brand story as the godfather of the Hammer Strength one, as it was the father of Hammer’s founder Gary, who created the brand. Arthur Jones who is no longer with us, was a pioneering name in the sport of bodybuilding with an almost professoral approach to hypertrophy training. Counting names such as Mike and Ray Mentzer on his training resume, he had views on training volumes and techniques. With his experience in physique coaching, Arthur Jones turned his inventive mind into practical products we still see in gyms around the world today.

Nautilus was acquired in the late 80s by the Bowflex group, but still create their own brand models and are possibly more recognised than their parent company name. Arthur, was a prolific inventor who would submit dozens of patent applications and one in particular which we take for granted now, is the pullover resistance machine – my personal favourite back machine

Where is Nautilus gym equipment made?

While being  a US based company, Vancouver in Washington to be precise, the Bowflex/Nautilus Inc group seem to produce a lot of their products in China. A recent bankruptcy filing saw a change of ownership to a Taiwanese investment vehicle, which may see a move in production facilities, but it is a little of an unknown at this stage. Because a lot of their equipment is made in China, there are some fakes on the market or clones probably made by neighbouring factories. These have a lower quality of finish and parts, and has done some damage to their reputation with buyers mistaking fakes for the real thing.

If you’re looking for a gym equipment brand that makes in the US and creates US jobs in fabricating these things, you may want to look elsewhere. That’s probably the downside of the Nautilus story. You’ve got equipment at the high end, that retails for the same (or close to) brands like Panatta, Watson etc, but outsources it to a country with lower labour regulations and still isn’t able to make a profit. Maybe that’s their Bowflex work, which is a home gym priced product line, but Nautilus could have done better for themselves pushing the domestic home-grown story. It’s a tough market, but it has worked for Technogym and Life Fitness clearly.

Where will you find Nautilus?

Nautilus Gym Brand

Sadly, the answer is – not as many places as one should. Nautilus machines look good, feel comfortable and are a great choice for a gym. You often see their products in bodybuilding focused facilities, because of the credibility factor. If I see a few bits of Nautilus, I know you’ve probably bought it because it was the best item for the job. This is different to what a community gym might have, and be blanketed wall to wall with one brand.

That’s a testament to the cachet it holds still. But with a business that has struggled in recent years, has faced bankruptcy and even sold off the rights to its name – you aren’t going to see them sponsor a D1 College Football weights room, like Hammer or Rogers may do. So expect to find them as a one off here and there, and while I have seen them in some of the better hotel gyms out there, it’s becoming a bit of a rare luxury. Use them when you see them 🙂

Is Nautilus gym equipment expensive or cheap?

  • Hammer Strength isn’t the cheapest brand on the market – but not the most expensive either

Hammer Strength products tend to be comparable in price to similar names such as Precor, a touch under the price point of Technogym and less than Arsenal Strength or Watson. Against the more budget options of Body Solid and Primal Strength though, you are going to pay more. What you’re paying for with these types of brands is cachet, credibility, low maintenance costs, durability and if all else fails; resale value.

The bigger brands hold their price better. 

Price Examples:

Pullover Machines
  • Nautilus Inspiration Pullover: £4995 ( 2024)
  • Exigo Selectorised Pullover: £2994 ( UK 2024)
  • Hammer Strength Plate Loaded Pullover: £5140 (Fitness Superstore 2024)
Short summary: Positioned similarly to other big commercial names. 

Pros: What does Nautilus do well?

  • Selectorised Pullover Machines – One of the few who does this
  • Innovative equipment – eg: Freedom Rack – Leverage lifts
  • Credibility
  • Durability
  • Aesthetics

Cons: What does Nautilus do less well?

  • It’s not made in the USA – which I know can put some buyers off
  • As a brand they don’t penetrate the sporting zeitgeist in the way they once did. This means there is aftercare risk and peace of mind loss where the company has financially struggled. “If I buy this, will you be around to fix the issues?” They are a great brand, with legitimate products that feel good and look good. They need the next generation of gym goer to know about them.

Nautilus vs alternatives?

So how does Nautilus’s gym equipment stack up vs the competition? As a commercial brand, they are miles ahead from any home brand, which is why they are priced where they are at, but what about their contemporaries, like Technogym, Cybex etc? Read on.

Reviewing Nautilus Leverage Gym Equipment

Nautilus vs Hammer Strength

Hammer Strength has a deep range of products, variations of them and this goes across plate loaded as well as selectorised. This is going to be in large part because they are part of the Life Fitness family, with multiple commercial standard ‘name plates’ to share ideas with. On the contrary, Nautilus being part of Bowflex means its stable mates are generally lower quality budget brands. There’s a lot less resources to go around. So if you’re looking to kit out an entire gym and don’t want to mess around with multiple reps from multiple companies, you’d be better off going with Hammer Strength. 

However, if you asked me, who makes nicer looking equipment or more interesting selectorised options, I’d go with Nautilus. With a slightly cheaper price point you’ve got a great brand name to present and their leverage plate loaded machines offer something that possibly only Prime competes with, in terms of full range of motion thinking. (Prime has the adjustable tension options – pretty cool stuff). Hammer wins with choice and depth, but I do tend to see their leather/upholstery wear faster too. That could be material quality or just because everyone loves using their equipment. 

Winner? Nautilus for selectorised finish and quality, I feel like their machines feel more solid than Hammer’s pin options. But, Hammer wins on depth of range and doing the basics in plate loaded kit right. Let’s call it a draw.

Nautilus vs Technogym

Technogym are a monster brand. They are everywhere, from your local community gym to your next hotel and beyond. With a massive sales team they have gotten their fingers into lots of pies – but they do also make nice equipment. Their plate loaded leg press is amongst the best leg press machines in the world, and their machines have a big focus on ergonomics.  So, how does Nautilus compare? I think their dwarfed to be honest from a corporate level but that’s irrelevant when it comes to training. So, where it counts? I hated the look of the old Selection line from Technogym but their new stuff looks every bit as good as Nautilus, possibly nicer and definitely as robust in how it feels to use.

The rep counter stuff from Techno is a bit of a gimmick, and the machines can feel a little over engineered which can impact range of motion available, but I can’t fault their plate loaded equipment and you know they are still going to be around next year. Price is where it matters for most though and Technogym can be a lot more expensive than Nautilus, and where they appear in so many non-enthusiast commercial settings, and don’t have that back story like Nautilus, they can come across a bit cheesy. 

Kitting your gym out with Technogym is never going to make you look cool, but it’s not going to hurt the workouts either.

Winner? I wouldn’t smother my gym in Technogym (I think) from a personality standpoint, but I can’t fault them either. I like Nautilus for the history, I like their price point on the secondary market more, and they have some machines that Technogym don’t offer.  If you want a Smith Machine, Leverage kit, cheaper products or a Pullover, go with Nautilus,  otherwise I’d pick Techno.

Is Nautilus a good gym brand?

The short answer is yes – they are a great brand, but what do other buyers/users say? We scoured the web to try and summarise a broader consensus for you.

Nautilus Consumer Reviews

Nautilus consumer reviews don’t necessarily paint it with glowing colours. A short browse around online and you can see the common theme is one I’ve highlighted as a risk in this review – aftercare. It seems most of the complaints are with customers feeling like they  have been left on ice. This is not remotely acceptable for a brand that has struggled of late. If you go to their website, their support offer is a page of links where you are being directed to your nation’s official vendor. This puts the onus of aftercare on a middleman, who still has to come to the main brand, creates massive delays by adding in an extra step and it just isn’t a brand that wants to talk to its customers.

If you’re making equipment in China, you are doing it to bring the cost down. The other way you bring cost down? Cut back on customer care. Not a very forward thinking move. In spite of these comments, as someone who uses Nautilus equipment every week, I can attest to it’s quality in a commercial setting. Still, if you want to be able to talk the company that makes the kit – you may not want to take the risk. Shame, there was a great company there.

Source: Trustpilot Bowflex

Most Popular Nautilus Gym Products/Lines

Nautilus make good looking selectorised resistance training machines. This is what they tend to be known for as a brand these days. But they really stand out with a few pieces of select equipment that are not purely pin based. 
Three that I have highlighted below:
1. Their glute drive is a great option for a bum machine in a gym. It’s plate loaded and is possibly only matched by Panatta’s selectorised hip thrust.
2. The brand all began with the pullover patent in the 1970s, and they still have a market leading machine for this movement today.
3. Final pick, is an innovative training tool that I love, even if Lee hates it; this is the Freedom Rack. If you like your barbells to have a little bit of movement in them and not be fixed to a set plane when using a ‘Smithy’, the free movement offered by this rack enables more comfortable lifts for things like deadlifts and shoulder press – at least for me.
Nautilus Smith Machine

Nautilus Freedom Rack // Ever used a Smith Machine where the bar could move off a fixed plane? Nautilus invented that.

glute drive from nautilus

Nautilus Glute Drive // Probably my favourite plate loaded glute machine. More comfortable than balancing barbells on your hips.

nautilus gym equipment

Nautilus Pullover Machine // An elite bit of kit that Nautilus had the first patent on. No upper body machine workout is valid without it.

Where can you buy Nautilus Gym Equipment from?

You can Nautilus gym equipment from their authorised dealers in each country, which you can find here – or you can always check the secondary market and pick up some pre-used bits of kit. Obviously, the downside here is you may not get the aftercare you need. Not a problem if you have someone who is good with their hands around you, but something to think about.

Nautilus Gym Equipment Verdict

A quality brand, that has made a big impact on how we train in gyms and continues to produce great bits of equipment. Sadly they are saddled with some company wide issues that relate more to their ability to continue to operate and how they have treated customers in recent years. This could put some buyers off, particularly if you want to know before spending thousands of pounds, the company will entertain aftercare calls. 

Fingers crossed they overcome these issues and can continue to bless the bodybuilding world with what they build a reputation on – innovative and high quality equipment development. 

Reliability 80%
Aftercare 55%
Resale Value 80%
Pro Bodybuilder Focus 75%
Style 80%
Where to go now?
Save To My Phone nautilus gym equipment

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