11 Best Smith Machines for Your Home or Garage Gym Reviewed for 2020
A smith machine allows you to lift heavy, working both upper and lower body, safely, from the privacy of your home gym.
The smith machine is naturally more stable, because it guides the path of the barbell, helping you prevent injury.
A smith machine is a great choice if you want to lift heavy weights at home, without a spotter.
Here I have the 11 best smith machines of 2020, reviewed.
I will cover the best smith machine workouts that cover arms, chest, glutes, and legs. how to choose the best smith machine for your home gym, and go over common smith machine questions that you may have.
Review: This Force USA Combo rack, trainer and smith machine includes almost everything you need for a complete gym.
The system has a cable pulley built-in, a naturally angled smith machine track, a bar and loads of attachments including a landmine, chin-up station, safety spotter arms in case you want to lift outside the smith machine, and much, much more.
All this is included at a pretty reasonable price. All you need to do is add the weights and the bench and you are set.
Pulley system with 2:1 ratio with Lat bar attachment.
Smooth gliding ball bearing smith system.
Spotter arm attachments included if you want to lift using a barbell outside of the smith machine.
Weights and bench not included.
Top-rated, easy to set up, tons of available exercises, at a price you will like. My choice for the best smith machine of 2020.
While the Force USA machine includes both a rack and a smith machine together, some lifters prefer to have the rack separate, or use ONLY a rack to lift weights. As long as you use safety spotter arms or safety bars you can lift from home safely using just a power rack. I have put together a list of the best power racks right here. Check them out.
Review: This MiM all-in-one smith machine system really does include everything you need, except the Olympic weights. The smooth gliding smith system allows you to lift safely without a spotter. In the event you want to list outside the smith machine, you can, using the included safety spotter arms.
This system also includes a high-quality commercial grade bench for bench presses and more. It also comes with a pulley system, chin up station and countless attachments. This MiM system is a great value you will be proud to own.
Includes an adjustable and commercial grade bench that can hold users up to 350 lbs.
Smooth gliding linear bearings on the smith machine.
Pulley system with many attachments included.
Olympic weights not included, sold separately.
The complete package, included just about everything you need to complete your home gym. The best smith machine for home use.
All in one home gyms are an excellent way to get your home gym set up fast. They are economical and easy because they include everything you need on one machine. I have a list of the best all in one home gyms here.
Review: This ICON Weider system includes the smith cage, bench, pulley system and squat rack, all at a great price. For under $1000 you can have a complete home gym, all you need to do is pick up a set of Olympic weights, and you are good to go.
If you are on a super tight budget and looking for one machine that works your entire body, why not consider a Total Gym. They are reasonably priced and allow you to strengthen and build all muscle groups. I have a list of the best Total Gyms here. Check them out!
Review: This is one of the most comprehensive smith machines you’ll find.
Inspire Fitness offers several optional customizations. If you want a fully-stocked machine, you can purchase add-ons for your smith machine, like preacher curl attachments, abdominal bars, and upgrades for the weight stack, if you need more weight to be properly challenged.
The basic set comes packed with ample accessories to get you started. With this smith machine you get a pair of D handles, a swing handle, add on weight plates, ankle cuffs, a triceps rope, a curl bar, and a straight bar included with your purchase.
Maintenance-free ball bearing system smith machine.
Many included accessories.
Two 165 lb weight stacks included.
Experienced lifters may need more weight to feel challenged.
This machine is a great value for a beginners comprehensive home gym because of the versatility it offers.
Body Solid Smith Machine Package
Review: This is a great value package because it comes with almost everything you’ll need for a complete full-body workout.
This Body Solid smith machine is an entire gym station, so you won’t need to supplement this smith machine with a lot of other equipment. It even has a fly press and weight stack, which most smith machines do not have.
There’s virtually nothing you can’t do with it. It comes with bars for low rows and lat workouts, preacher curls, leg development, and even an adjustable bench.
Review: Yukon Fitness makes excellent workout equipment, and their smith machine is no exception. It’s built to last.
While it’s not as fully loaded as others, it still comes with a few great features you’ll use and love. It comes with an integrated dip station mount, low row footplates, lat pull down pulley station, a chin-up bar, and an adjustable bench.
Built for standard weights, but it comes with Olympic adapters, too.
Can be used as a smith machine and with a barbell outside the smith machine
Smith has a straight, not angled path.
Weight plates not included.
Great smith machine starter set at a budget price.
Review: This compact smith machine is an excellent space saver, making it great for people who don’t have room for a large home gym. It’s also a great supplement to other gym equipment, and a functional replacement for a traditional power or squat rack.
Since you can beef it up with optional attachments, you’re able to customize this smith machine to suit your personal needs.
Includes 225 lbs of rubber-coated set of Olympic weight plates.
Compact footprint is great for smaller spaces.
Linear bearing smith bar track.
This doesn’t include a bench.
Solid no-nonsense smith machine that is sturdy, stable and compact.
If your home gym is small, you might want to consider a smaller all in one gym option like a BowFlex machine. Here is a list of the best Bowflex machines out there.
Review: This basic smith machine is fully customizable. It’s extremely durable, and it’s yours to set up however you desire.
It is an industrial-grade smith machine with a decent max weight capacity of 700 lbs and a natural feeling angled bar path.
Eight weight storage pegs included.
Linear bearings for a smooth gliding smith machine.
The frame is made of heavy wall steel tubing.
700 lb capacity.
No weights, bench or extras included.
This basic smith machine is great for heavy lifters who want ONLY a smith machine.
What to Look at Before Deciding on the Best Smith Machine for You
Before you choose a smith machine for your home, consider these 4 factors.
Bench, Weights or Accessories Included?
To get the most out of your smith machine you will need a weight bench. You can use the bench for many exercises, including, of course, all the variations of the bench press.
But it’s more than just the bench press. Other exercises use the bench and smith machine together, like the leg press as just one example.
Most smith machines DO NOT include weight plates, but require Olympic size weight plates for the bar. Be sure to pick up a set of Olympic weights. If you need help deciding, I have a list of the best Olympic weights here.
And, of course, don’t forget to check out the accessories offered with the smith machine.
It’s nice to have a pulley system included for lat pull downs, a pull up and chin up station is often included, and sometimes you can find a smith machine with a bench that has a leg extension, and that is a nice find. The Yukon Caribou system has a bench and leg extension that use Olympic weights.
Footprint – How Much Space the Smith Machine Needs
Measure your home gym space and get the measurements of the smith machine you have in mind. You will need a couple feet of clearance around the side and back, and at least 7 feet in front.
If you need a compact smith machine, take a look at the Valor smith machine which has a relatively small footprint compared to others.
Bearings – How Smooth does the Machine Glide
Look for a smith machine that has linear bearings. Linear bearings allow the bar to travel smoothly, free from jerkiness or uneven travel.
Angle – Straight or angled?
There is a controversy on which is better, a straight or angled smith machine path. Some say an angled path is more natural, while others claim that is baloney.
I say, try it for yourself and see what you like better, or what feels more natural to you. Both will give you a decent workout.
Smith Machine Exercises and Workout Routines
Looking to get the most from your smith machine! You have come to the right place!
I put together a list of the best smith machine workout videos right here. I included arm, chest, glute, and leg specific workouts so you can see that a smith machine covers your whole body.
For many of these workouts, you will also need a bench.
The smith machine is a great way to build your chest without needing a spotter. Check out these 14 exercises you can do on your smith machine.
The deadlift can be done safely, using a smith machine. You need a box to step up on, because the starting position for the deadlift is lower than the smith machine will go.
You will also be able to lift more in a smith machine than you will be using a free barbell, because the smith machine does a lot of the stabilizing work for you.
Smith machines can be used for squats. Here is an example of a hack squat, and a regular squat, done in a smith machine.
If you have a bench, you can use that for the leg press, using a smith machine. If you do not have a bench, you can still do a leg press from the ground.
The smith machine is a great tool to build the legs and glutes. Check out this glute building video that includes 14 exercises such as squats, lunges, hip punches, good mornings, thrusts and much more.
Smith Machine FAQs
Is it Bad to Squat on a Smith Machine?
The smith machine is a good tool to use for squats. It is great for building strength and increasing the max weight you can lift.
You should be aware of the limitations of doing a squat in a smith machine.
The smith machine, since it follows a guided path, does not allow the same feedback you get from doing a free barbell squat. A smith machine does the stabilizing work for you, which makes it safer, but will not help you correct bad form or strengthen important stabilizing muscles.
Is a Smith Machine Good for Bench Press?
It is a bench press done with a smith machine instead of a free barbell and a barbell rack or power rack.
See an example of a smith machine bench press below:
What Exercises can You do on a Smith Machine?
You can do many kinds of exercises using a smith machine, covering the entire body.
All variations of bench presses, leg presses, squats, lunges, deadlifts, calf raises, bent rows, curls, and more.
Most anything you can do with a free barbell, you can find a way to do using a smith machine, but certain exceptions apply.
Should a Smith Machine Track be Angled or Straight? What’s Better?
Some believe an angled path is more natural than a straight up and down smith machine track path.
Others believe the opposite that straight up and down path is the more natural path.
I’m inclined to believe the straight path is more natural because most presses follow, or should follow, a straight path.
However, an angled path may make the smith machine more stable, singe the weight is being lifted towards the center of the machine.
But I think you should try both styles and see what feels more natural to you, before you decide on the best smith machine.
Can a Smith Machine be Used to Lose Weight?
Yes, and no.
What really causes weight loss is a deficit in calories, and as they say, weight loss happens in the kitchen.
A smith machine is a strength training too. And research has shown that strength training is a great aid when it comes to weight loss.
Specifically, strength training or resistance training, unlike cardio, can help you lose fat while keeping your lean muscle. Source.