I've been on a Bells of Steel kick as of late, so this is my latest purchase and it's interesting to compare these spotter arms to previous BOS products.
The steel is heavy gauge, the welds/joints are clean and robust, and the powder coat is very good with no chips or missed spots. The plastic lining on the arms is thick and will definitely hold up to years of catches while saving my barbell's knurling and finish. These may even be a better alternative to rack pipe pins for rack pulls, as the plastic pads will save my barbell's finish. The length is perfect, allowing me to use these arms within my 30" deep (internal) rack, or on the outside. I have a Rogue Monster Lite 3x3 rack (wish I had learned of BOS years ago before I shelled out for that), and these fit pretty well (more on that below). I also like the laser cut logos, gives the product a high end look. The packaging was great, little room for damage during shipping because they are boxed and wrapped well. Last but not least, the price! The value here is unmatched, so anything I note needing improvement is small in comparison with the good, and I hope will help the BOS team refine an already great product.
Of note, the powder coating is much better on these spotter arms than on the Belt Squat Machine, Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown, and the Bumper Plate Weight Tree. The powder coating on the arms is smoother and has no missed spots or chips, whereas I found the coating on the other aforementioned items to be more rough and chipped / missing in some small spots. Perhaps the Hydra line has a higher level finish? The spotter arm's coating is still not quite as good as Rogue's, but definitely getting closer, and once you factor in the price... there is little contest... BOS for the win!
One of the spotter arms fits my rack like a glove, with zero movement when in place. The second arm has a 2-3mm gap on the backside when attached (I checked various points of my rack, so it's the arms, not my rack). As a result, there is some up and down movement from that arm, and it's angled a bit downward. It's subtle and I can't imagine it will impact integrity for the weight I'm using, and I can slip a strap or wedge into the gap to mostly shore things up. But, it's a detail that takes a perfect 10 product down to an 8, as heavy weights may exaggerate the gap and angle, and sit off-balance (or roll due to the angle). Luckily, no more than 500 lbs will likely ever hit these arms, so I'm not too worried.
Lastly, I have a Rogue dip attachment that utilizes a hitch / detent pin. I like the Rogue hitch pin better for two reasons: the BOS version has a removable ring clip thing that attaches to one side of the hitch pin to keep it from coming out of the rack. The Rogue version has a little ball bearing built-in on the end of the hitch pin instead of that removable clip, so it's just more convenient to slide on and off in a snap. Secondly and more minor, the plastic coating on the handle is better (softer, nicer looking, thicker) on the Rogue than it is on the BOS. Super nit picky, but I hope feedback is appreciated and will help you make things even better for the next production round. Rogue is probably already shaking in their cross-fit booties, so to iron out these nuances would leave prospective buyers with little choice as to who to choose.
Thank you so much for your in depth review of our hydra spotter arms. We really appreciate you taking the time to write this out, and we are certainly going to take note of the suggestions you've made. We do hope to serve you again.
Yours in strength,
Marcus & the BoS team