- Best Smith Machine For Home Gyms: Product Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking to buy a diverse piece of fitness equipment for your home gym, you might consider looking into purchasing a Smith machine. These large pieces of equipment use a lightweight barbell attached to a track and are great for athletes of all capabilities, whether you’re looking to get into weightlifting or want to isolate and target certain muscle groups as a more advanced lifter.
They’re also especially useful because many Smith machines are multifunctional, with many machines doubling as an all-in-one home gym solution. With the additions of cable pulleys, pull-up bars, and even squat racks, you can easily add multiple workouts into your regimen without having to buy several pieces of expensive equipment.
So what is the best Smith machine for a home gym? We’ve compiled five high-quality Smith machines and evaluated the pros and cons of each so you can figure out which piece of equipment is right for you. We’ve also answered some common questions about Smith machines.
Best Smith Machine For Home Gyms: Product Review
Marcy Pro SM-4903
Pro Smith Machine
The Marcy Pro Smith Machine might just be your one-size-fits-all home gym. Along with the fixed Smith machine weight, it also comes with a power tower, squat rack and weight bench for other Olympic lifts (although a separate barbell is not included). The attached bar on the Smith machine itself can handle weights of up to 300 pounds, so you can cover a pretty diverse range of workouts.
This option also comes with dual swiveling cable pulleys both up top and below so you can get cable workouts from various angles, and a pull up bar that can be gripped in different ways to target different muscle groups. On the downside for this option, the weight storage is on the ground rather than on weight trees on the sides, so it might be a pain to rack and re-rack your plates, or you may need to buy a separate weight tree.
- Multi-grip pull up bar
- Cable pulleys, two on top AND two on bottom
- Power tower and squat rack included
- Adjustable bench included
- Only rated for 300 pounds
- Weight stored on ground, not on pegs
This Smith machine was made to replace several pieces of equipment, and with all of its various cables, pull-up bar, and squat rack options, it delivers. This is the best choice for someone who wants to incorporate serious lifts in addition to lighter Smith machine work.
Cage Smith Machine with Linear Bearing
Marcy’s Cage Smith Machine with Linear Bearing is a classic, all-purpose smith machine made of high-quality steel for durability. This workout machine comes with an adjustable bench for your benching and shoulder-press needs, as well as a leg developer for lower body work. In addition, it has an overhead pulley system and lat bar for diverse upper-body work, as well as press arms for chest and back exercises.
The machine is compatible with an Olympic bar and you can store Olympic-sized weights on the weight posts, which is a nice bonus for quickly switching your weights. It also has a slight angle, which could be good for bench pressing.
- Olympic weight storage posts
- Pulley system with lat bar
- Adjustable bench included
- All-steel construction
- Press arms included
- Leg developer on bench
- Pulley system could use some improvement according to some reviews
This classic Smith machine gives you plenty of options and workout diversity. The added pulley system and press arms are great for engaging your upper body, and you can trust the machine’s durability due to its high-quality steel construction.
Smith Cage Machine
The SM-4008 from Marcy comes with plenty of additions so that you can get a good and diverse workout. It has two upper and one lower cable pulley, plus plenty of attachments including single handles, shiver bars, tricep ropes, and ankle straps. In addition, the pull-up bar, chest press, and leg developers let you hit every muscle group.
It comes with plenty of safety features, including two weight catches, and four storage posts for organizing your weights. This Smith machine isn’t linear bearing, so the bar might experience more resistance going up and down than others on this list. On the other hand, it is a little cheaper than the other Marcy options on this list.
- Includes cable pulley attachments
- Leg developer included
- Adjustable bench included
- Storage posts for weights
- Chest press arms
- Reasonably priced
- Not linear bearing
This machine is on the lower end of Marcy’s Smith machines, but it is solidly built and comes with enough additions to make it a viable piece of a diverse home gym.
Body-Solid’s StrengthTech EXM2500S machine might be a good choice if you’re looking for a diverse Smith machine/weight rack combo. The weight rack is compatible with an Olympic bar, so you can do a wide range of different and heavy exercises, and the Smith bar itself is attached at a slight 7-degree angle, which may promote a more natural movement for certain movements like a bench press.
This machine also comes with an adjustable bench, which boasts both a leg developer and a preacher curl function. It also has a pulley system and chest press for upper body exercises.
On the downside, this Smith machine does not include a pull-up bar, so it may not be the right choice for someone looking to incorporate pull-ups into their back routines.
- 7-degree angle
- Compatible with standard weights
- Olympic bar holder
- Chest station included
- Leg developer and preacher curls on bench
- List Item
- No pull up bar attachment
The Body-Solid Series 7 Smith machine is a great choice for someone who wants an angled Smith machine that also comes with an Olympic weight rack. It has most of the benefits of others on this list, including pulley systems, a chest press, and a leg developer bench, but it won’t help if you want to include pull-ups in your work-out repertoire.
Valor Fitness BD-7
Professional Smith Machine
Valor Fitness offers a basic but high-quality Smith machine in the BD-7. This Smith machine is made of high-quality steel that can handle up to 1,000 pounds of weight. It also boasts a safe and smooth bar movement, with high-quality bearings and plenty of safety catches.
Don’t look for any extras on this machine – it doesn’t come with a cable pulley, pull-up bar, chest press, or even a bench, like many other Smith machines offer. However, for the basic purpose of a Smith machine, it does the job and can handle weight very well. You can also include a three-year warranty for peace of mind with this major purchase.
- Steel construction
- High-quality bearings for smooth bar movement
- 4 Olympic weight pegs
- No-hassle warranty
- Handles up to 1,000 pounds
- No extras (cable pulley system, bench, etc)
This Smith machine doesn’t come with any extra frills, but its solid construction and smooth construction might make it a good choice for someone who already has other equipment for their home gym and just wants a simple Smith machine for accessory work.
Our Top Pick, And Why!
When it comes to versatility and quality, you can’t beat Marcy’s Pro Smith Machine SM-4903. With its power tower, squat rack, and multi-grip pull-up bar, it has enough features to rival even professional gym setups, giving most home athletes enough versatility to get a great lift. We also especially like that this machine comes with a total of four swiveling cable pulleys to maximize your workout.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exercises can you do on a Smith machine?
Smith machines are a great home fitness solution because they offer a wide range of workout diversity. Because they operate with a weight bar on a track, you can hit upper body, lower body, and core work with the same piece of equipment.
In fact, nearly any workout that you could do with a barbell can be performed with a Smith machine.
Some examples of Smith machine workouts include:
- Bench press
- Shoulder press
- Rack pulls
- Inverted rows
As an added benefit, many Smith machines come with other features for even more diversity. For example, a machine with a pull-up bar will allow you to perform pull-ups and assisted pull-ups. Cable pulleys and corresponding attachments can help you target and isolate muscle groups with pulldowns, pushdowns, on-the-ground rows, and kickbacks.
Some machines will even have adjustable benches with leg attachments, press arms for chest presses, power towers for tricep dips and ab work, or even racks for full-power Olympic squats.
In conclusion, a Smith machine can be a good tool for nearly every weighted and bodyweight workout you might want to include in your workout routine.
What are the pros and cons of using a Smith machine?
Smith machines can be a useful piece of equipment to add to your home gym if you want to increase volume in your weight training. Because the weights are fixed to a track, once you perfect your form and get into the right angle to properly perform your workout, you can repeatedly do the same movement and target the right muscle groups at the correct angle with every rep.
In addition, using a Smith machine can be safer than using a free barbell. Having the weight fixed to a track means that you don’t have to stabilize the load as much as you would with a free barbell, leaving you free to target your desired muscle group without having to balance as much. Most Smith machines also have safety catches in case you lose control of the weight, making it a great tool if you’re nervous about pushing heavy weights.
The major cons of using a Smith machine is that the weight is on a fixed track, which can offer a more limited range of movement for certain exercises that may not naturally mimic your body’s normal range of motion. For example, performing a squat on a Smith machine rather than a free barbell puts limitations on how your body moves, meaning that you may not have room to do the exercise with correct form.
This also means that you shouldn’t use very-heavy weights, since the limited range of motion makes it harder to correct your form in case something goes awry.
Ultimately, the Smith machine can be a valuable tool for building muscle and increasing your calorie burn, but it should only be used if you know how to do those workouts with correct form first.
Can you use a Smith machine to lose weight?
Yes, you can use a Smith machine to lose weight, but your workout should be pretty high-intensity to really burn calories.
Many of the movements you do on a Smith machine are weightlifting exercises, which work primarily to build muscle and increase strength.
You lose weight by being on a caloric deficit (in other words, using more calories than you need), so that your body does not store the extra calories as fat. Smith machines mostly give you the ability to do resistance and muscle-building exercises, so if your goal is to lose weight, you should up the ante and focus on increasing your calorie burn by doing a high number of reps, rather than focusing on using the heaviest weights to build muscle.
As with any fitness program, it’s also imperative that your workout routine is paired with a caloric-restricted diet. You may also benefit from eating more protein, since this can help develop the muscles you build from the resistance training on the Smit machine and lead to better lean muscle mass.
Should a Smith machine track be straight or angled?
Smith machines generally come with two different kinds of tracks: straight or angled. The straight tracks will be perfectly perpendicular to the ground, while the angled tracks have a slight angle of about 5 – 7 degrees.
The angled Smith machines are thought to mimic the natural movement of certain movements better than a straight vertical path. For example, with a bench press, you start with the bar directly above your chest but end with it directly over your shoulders, making this the perfect exercise to do with an angled machine.
On the other hand, the path of movement should be pretty straight up and down during leg movements like a squat or deadlift, which would make the straight Smith machine a better choice.
How do I choose the best Smith machine? – what to look for
Because Smith machines usually come with either a straight track or an angled track, it’s important to consider how you plan on using yours to find the right fit for you. Angled Smith tracks might be more suitable for doing upper-body lifts like bench presses, but you should learn to orient yourself correctly. Straight vertical tracks are ideal for lower-body workouts like squats and rack pulls.
You may also find some Smith machines that slide to accommodate different angles, but these are generally not the norm.
You can buy a simple Smith machine with nothing more than the track and the bar, but you can also find builds that include different add-ons. For example, some machines will include a pull up bar, a cable pulley system, and/or a chest press. Many also come with a bench so you can do prone or seated exercises like bench presses or shoulder presses. There are even Smith machines that come with a power tower and squat rack, so you can do both Smith-machine and heavier Olympic-bar lifts.
These different features can add a lot of value to your Smith machine, plus it will mean that you don’t have to buy extra equipment to flesh out the rest of your home gym. However, more features will usually mean that the equipment is more expensive.
It’s important to buy high-quality Smith machines because you’ll be dealing with heavy weights and moving parts, and you don’t want to run the risk of your machine coming apart mid-workout. Look for welded points and steel construction on the frame, if possible.
Some Smith machines have linear bearings, which can minimize the friction of the bar as it travels up and down the track. This can lead to smoother lifts and less stress on the machine.
Similarly, you should pay attention to how much weight your Smith machine can handle and see if that will work with your intended workout plan. This is especially important if you plan to do heavier lifts like deadlifts and squats, since many Smith machines will not accommodate the heavy weight you may be looking to use.
Since the bar on a Smith machine is usually skinnier and weight-rated for less than an Olympic bar, you’ll want to make sure that the machine you buy is rated for the kinds of weight you will be moving on it.
Weights and Storage
Because you’re buying weight-lifting equipment, you should also look into whether or not weights are included. Many Smith machines will not include the weight plates, so you will need to buy them separately. In addition, you’ll want to determine whether the Smith machine bar is compatible with standard or Olympic plates so you can buy the correct weight sets.
You should also take a look at the weight-storage capabilities of your Smith machine. Most Smith machines will come with either weight pegs or a horizontal organizing system. Having elevated posts at around arm level for your weights tends to be easier on the back and more ergonomic, but you may be able to store more weights on a ground horizontal system.
On the other hand, your machine might not include any weight-organizing system at all, in which case you’d have to buy a separate piece of equipment for storing them safely.