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.

Plus…

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.

TOP 11 Best Smith Machines for Home Gym of 2020

Force USA Monster G3 Smith Machine

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Weights and bench not included.

Takeaway

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.

MiM USA Hercules 1001 Smith Machine

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Olympic weights not included, sold separately.

Takeaway

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.

ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage

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.

Pros

  • Great price for an all in one smith machine.
  • Smith machine with linear bearings.
  • Adjustable bench with leg station included.

Cons

  • No pull up station.
  • Weights not included.

Takeaway

Best smith machine for home gym in the budget price range that includes all you need to set up your home gym.

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!

Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer

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.

Pros

  • Maintenance-free ball bearing system smith machine.
  • Many included accessories.
  • Two 165 lb weight stacks included.

Cons

  • Experienced lifters may need more weight to feel challenged.

Takeaway

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.

Pros

  • Comes with a built-in adjustable bench and leg extension.
  • The weight rack can support up to 1,000 pounds of weight plates.
  • Smooth moving smith machine.
  • Peck dec fly arms.

Cons

  • This smith machine all in one home gym is on the large side. Measure your space carefully.
  • Weight stack is included, BUT weight plates are not included.

Takeaway

The most all inclusive smith machine all in one home gym combos you can get. A great value for a top-notch machine.

Yukon Fitness Caribou Smith Machine

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.

Pros

  • Built for standard weights, but it comes with Olympic adapters, too.
  • Bench included
  • Can be used as a smith machine and with a barbell outside the smith machine
  • Smith has a straight, not angled path.

Cons

  • Weight plates not included.

Takeaway

Great smith machine starter set at a budget price.

If you want to build a home gym you can expand later on, this Yukon Smith machine is a reliable machine to get you going.

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine

Review: This is an incredible value, and it’s really hard to find a smith machine that’s more worth the investment than this one. It’s a complete home gym, at an affordable price.

With a bench, a leg developer, row and curl bars, a footplate, and two handles, almost every kind of exercise is possible.

Pros

  • The base of the machine is designed to increase stability.
  • Huge range of exercises offered.
  • Bench and leg developer included.
  • Press arms, footplate, and seatback included.

Cons

  • Since this machine has so many features, it’s huge.

Takeaway

This is incredibly affordable for everything it offers. It’s budget-priced, but stocked like a commercial machine.

Marcy gives you the best bang for your buck.

Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine

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.

Pros

  • Includes 225 lbs of rubber-coated set of Olympic weight plates.
  • Compact footprint is great for smaller spaces.
  • Linear bearing smith bar track.
  • Very sturdy.

Cons

  • This doesn’t include a bench.

Takeaway

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.

Valor Fitness Smith Machine

Review: This Valor smith machine is compact and sturdy. Valor makes strong equipment that’s designed to last for years.

This smith machine is designed for Olympic weights. So if you already have a set of Olympic weights, you can use the weights you already have.

With a max capacity of 1,000 pounds, you’ll be able to use this machine at any fitness level.

If your main goal is to find an affordably priced smith machine that you can squeeze into your workout area, you’ll find that this one is perfect for you.

Pros

  • Compact machine, better if you are tight on space.
  • Simple, high-quality smith machine.
  • Straight bar path with linear bearings.
  • High max weight limit.

Cons

  • No bench or weights included.

Takeaway

This is one of the best smith machines for home or garage gyms that don’t have a lot of space to spare.

PowerLine PSM144X Smith Machine

Review: Powerline makes budget workout equipment, so if you don’t have a lot of cash to work with, this is your best option.

There’s nothing fancy about this machine, and it doesn’t come with any extras, so all you are paying for is the smith machine. It’s that simple.

It has a straight bar path, which some lifters like, and some plate storage at the bottom to add stability.

Pros

  • Well built, quality machine with a smooth gliding smith machine.
  • Dual-lock safety spotter catch system.
  • Compact space-saving machine.

Cons

  • Nothing else included, just the bar and smith machine, weight plates sold separately.

Takeaway

Best smith machine for the money, affordable and simple.

Athletic Connection Smith Machine

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • No weights, bench or extras included.

Takeaway

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.

woman doing squats with a barbell in smith machine

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.

woman doing squats on smith machine in gym

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.

woman flexing arm muscles on cable machine in home gym

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.

But…

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.

But…

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.

If you are looking to lose weight, check out this list of the best exercise machines to help you lose weight.

What is the point of the Smith Machine?

Many trainers do not like the smith machine because since the barbell follows a fixed path as you lift, you neglect exercising important stabilizer muscles.

But, there are many benefits of using a smith machine.

Because the barbell is on a fixed path, and can be set up to stop automatically at a certain point, it is safer to use when lifting heavy weight without a spotter.

A smith machine is also a great tool to use after you have fatigued your muscles using the free barbell, because it allows you to continue lifting and pounding out reps.

You can see, there is a time and place for the smith machine and is especially useful when you don’t have a spotter around to catch the barbell in the event you fail a lift.

Conclusion

Now that you have seen all the best smith machines and all that you can do using a smith machine, it’s time to decide which one is for you.

I hope this guide helps you make your decision.

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