Are you ready to finally be able to get a great weight training workout at home? Have you been facing obstacles to working out at a commercial gym? Such obstacles include lack of time, inability to get to the gym, fatigue at the end of the day, not feeling motivated and many more possibilities. If you feel like it’s time to start working out at home (or even just kick your home workouts up a notch), it’s time to consider a weight machine for home.

This article will outline and analyze the research on weight machines and working out at home. We will also review Fitnessator’s top picks in weight machines. To sum up our weight machine reviews, we’ve created “The Rundown” section that offers a chart to help you compare the various products.

Once you know which weight machine fits your needs best, give our sample workout a try to get a muscle-shredding session! With this information, you will be able to determine if a weight machine and home workouts are right for you.

It’s Time for a Change

To start the process of finding the best universal weight machine for your needs, let’s start at the top. Often, those looking for a weight machine are those who are thinking about transitioning to home workouts. Whether you already work out at a commercial gym or you are a beginner to exercise, weight machines can be the gateway to new exercise changes. While exercise is a positive change, such changes can be overwhelming and tough!

 Ask Yourself: Are you ready for home workouts?

We all have different exercise environments that work best for us. While some of us prefer working out a home, some of us may do better in a public gym. If you are unsure if home workouts are the best option for you, ask yourself these questions before purchasing any home fitness equipment:


Will I actually be motivated enough to workout in my home, or will my fitness equipment just get dusty?

According to this 2015 study, those who best complied with home exercise were the ones who saw value in exercise itself. If you have a chronic illness, one study showed that home-based exercises and center-based exercises had no significant difference in compliance rates. Ultimately, it may be up to the person. Think about your willingness and motivations to exercise.

Do I have more motivation when working out alone or in a group fitness class? Would I do best with a workout partner?

Motivation is key to actually exercising (and thus reaching your goals). A study done in 2016 showed a 70% long-term adherence to group fitness training, particularly in older people (1). Depending on your age, however, you may have different motivators and barriers to exercise.

Will I miss the social interaction at my commercial gym if I switch to home workouts? Am I opting for home workouts because I am intimidated or embarrassed to work out in a commercial gym?


While some people enjoy the social aspect of going to a gym or a fitness studio, others may shy away from it. In fact, some people prefer less socialized workouts. Private workouts can be done alone or with a personal trainer, which may affect where and when you work out (2).

Do I have the appropriate space and funds for a home fitness space?

Just as you have the ability to pick a commercial gym or studio, you also have the ability to pick what kind of fitness area to have in your home. Cheaper fitness programs may be workout videos, whereas full home gyms can cost thousands of dollars.


Take note of your answers to the questions above. These will help you determine if home exercise is right for you. If it is, keep reading for detailed information about the best weight machines to have in your home. For those looking for quick product specs, jump down to “The Rundown” section. Also, don’t forget about our awesome weight machine workout that can be done at home or in a commercial gym.

What can a weight machine do for me?

Man Using Weight Machine In Working OutThink of a weight machine as the ultimate universal weight machine that you can have at home. Instead of relying on yourself to get to the gym each day, you can come home to an almost full gym that’s been waiting just for you. Here is a list of possible exercises you can do on most universal weight machines for home:

  • Cable weight machine exercises (if you have a cable weight machine)
  • Leg and hip extensions
  • Bicep and triceps workouts
  • Abdominal and oblique exercises
  • Smith machine bar weight workouts (available on some weight machines)
  • Chest and back workouts
  • Some weighted cardio warm up exercises
  • Lying leg lifts
  • Injury and occupational therapy to restore function

Now that you have an idea of some of the workouts available on most weight machines, there are some benefits and disadvantages you should consider before buying one. While they may benefit many people, not everyone will benefit (or really use) a weight machine in the home. It’s important to objectively review the pros and cons and determine if having a weight machine at home would really suit your lifestyle.

The Benefits of a Weight Machine Workout

Man Using His Cable Weight Machine At HomeIt’s not uncommon for someone to want to start working out at home. A home weight machine can be the perfect piece! There are numerous benefits to engaging in home workouts on a weight machine instead of one in a commercial gym or studio.

  • Saves you time of traveling to and from the gym, packing a gym bag, and planning your schedule around when you can go to the gym.
  • Weight machines can give you tens (if not hundreds of different workouts).
  • No need for a gym membership and annual gym fees. Also, you don’t have to pay for what you don’t use.
  • You may be more likely to work out since the equipment is right in your own home. So, no more excuses about the weather preventing you from going to the gym.
  • Weight machines offer several types of workouts from cable weight machine workouts and seated weight machine exercises.
  • You can purchase the exact equipment you want, thus tailoring the workout to your needs.
  • Home gym equipment is an investment for the long term. If you have kids, some equipment can be used for generations.
  • With some creativity, weight machines can be used for lightweight resistance cardio.
  • While some commercial gyms have a minimum age requirement, that may not be applicable to your home. Your whole household can get involved in home workouts. If you live with a bunch of roommates, you all can pitch in on the cost of the home fitness space. For those with a multi-generational household, you can make sure the entire family is staying healthy and fit. One thing to note: Minors should always be monitored when using fitness equipment.

The Disadvantages of a Weight Machine Workout

As mentioned above, not everyone will benefit from having a weight machine in their home. Likewise, not everyone will thrive from doing home workouts. So, make sure you consider your personal exercise habits. Read the list of potential disadvantages of weight machine home workouts:

  • Weight machines can be quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars.
  • While weight machines can provide many workouts, not every workout you desire may be suitable on your weight machine.
  • To get everything you want, you may need to purchase accessories like different hand attachments, weight benches and free weights.
  • If you don’t have much room for large equipment, you may be limited in what types pieces can fit in your home.
  • As the owner of exercise equipment, it’s up to you to keep and maintain the equipment for proper functioning and safety.
  • For any exercise equipment, make sure your items are secure and safety stowed away. Children and pets are at risk of injury or death if equipment is not properly stored and you are negligent to pay attention to your loved ones around the machines.

The Key to Choosing the Best Weight Machine 

Now that you have a list of questions to ask yourself as well as the pros and cons of having a weight machine, it’s time to choose the best option for you. How do you choose? Make an educated choice! A major factor to consider is pricing. Do a cost-benefit analysis that weighs the price you are paying against several aspects:

  • Number of workouts you can on the machine
  • Types of workouts on the machine
  • Desired workouts you want to do consistently
  • Types of workouts necessary to meet your goals

A cost-benefit analysis sounds really complicated. However, in the most basic sense, it can be your thoughts about spending a certain amount of money for what you are truly getting. You most likely do this every day! Regardless of which weight machine you choose, you can benefit from the diverse workouts that they provide.

With all of this information in mind, let’s take look at Fitnessator’s top picks in weight machines. After the reviews, we have a side-by-side comparison to make things easier.

Fitnessator’s Top Pick 

XMark Upgraded Functional Trainer–  The Best Weight Machine for Cable Workouts

XMark Upgraded Functional Trainer Weight MachineWhy We Love It:

The XMark weight machine has all the bells and whistles for a great cable workout! You can get the benefits of cable exercises as well as diversify your workout with several handles and grips provided in the package.

The Research:

According to one study that studied the differences in functional strength between cable weight exercise and seated weight machines, the results showed that both were equally effective (3). So, since both are effective for muscle toning, a cable weight machine like the XMark trainer may be more versatile and more compact than numerous seated machines for your home.

  • Max weight on the weight stack is 200lbs
  • Available exercises on this machine: low, middle and high cable exercises, 1 or 2-handed cable exercises, chin-ups, pullups
  • Accessories included in this package: single-grip handles, chinning triangle, 8-inch hand straps, triceps rope, 17-inch long hand straps, short bar, long bar, leg extension strap, ankle strap
  • Weight: 827 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 35.5in x 71in x 84in
  • Price on XMark Fitness Website: $2418
Things to Consider:

This weight machine is very similar to Fitnessator’s Runner Up. The main difference between the two is the number of handles provided in each package. Make sure you do a cost-benefit analysis for these top two products!

Customer Reviews:

Per customer reviews, people claim that this machine is similar to what they would find in a commercial gym. It is sturdy, effective and can pack on a lot weight for major weight lifting gains.

If you’re over 6 feet tall, you may need to modify a few of the workouts. According to one customer, he has issues with the machine at times, whereas his shorter wife does not.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Individuals who love doing cable weight exercises but like to do non-conventional workouts should consider the XMark upgraded package. You can get an entire set of handles that will enable you to do more workouts than the basic model.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

XMark Basic Functional Trainer– The Best Weight Machine for a No-Frills Workout

XMark Basic Functional Trainer Weight MachineWhy We Love It:

If the upgraded package had items you really don’t need, your next pick should be the basic model of XMark’s weight machine. This cable weight machine takes you back to the basics and gives you a price break for omitting some of the fancy handles.

  • Max weight on the weight stack is 200lbs
  • Available exercises on this machine: low, middle and high cable exercises, 1 or 2-handed cable exercises
  • Accessories included in this package: 8-inch hand straps, triceps rope, 17-inch long hand straps, short bar, long bar, leg extension strap, ankle strap
  • Total product weight is 827 lbs. Dimensions: 35.5in x 71in x 84in
  • Fitness Gear USA: $2179 
Things to Consider:

While you get a price break from the upgraded package, this is equipment will still cost you over $2000! Another thing to consider is if the price break is proportional to the amount of exercises you can do on this machine compared to the upgraded model. Perhaps the upgraded model is a better deal for the number of workouts!

Customer Reviews:

Surprisingly, customers say that assembly for this product took as little as 4 hours for some people. Customers like this big and wide cable weight machine that provides great resistance for weight lifting.

The hardest part, for most people, was assembling the cable system. Also, people claim that the cable system does not function as smooth as it should. 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you like basic yet effective cable workouts, this classic cable weight machine is a great choice for you. This machine gives you all you need to get ripped the “good old-fashioned way” without having to pay for fancy handles.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention 

Marcy Home Gym– The Best Weight Machine on a Budget

Marcy 150-Pound Stack Home GymWhy We Love It:

Compared to the other weight machines on the list, the Marcy weight machine moves away from cable weight exercises and gives you standard seated weight workouts. With a seated chest press machine and leg extension attachment, you may feel that this machine gives you workouts that align with those at your local gym. It is also the cheapest weight machine on the list!

  • Max weight on the weight stack is 150lbs
  • Available exercises on this machine: chest press, vertical butterfly, bicep curls, leg extension
  • Contains removable attachments such as the curl pad
  • Total product weight is 125 lbs. Dimensions: 62in x 43in x 78in
  • Marcy Pro Website Price: $499.99
Things to Consider:

If you like to do cable weight exercises, this is the weight machine that is most limited in such workouts. While there is one cable pulley, the other weight machines can give you a much more comprehensive cable weight workout.

Customer Reviews:

Happy customers say that assembly for this product is rather quick for this small weight machine. According to some customers, those looking to target the basic muscle groups for a basic workout would be best suited with this machine.

On the other hand, some customers complain that this machine is a little too small for larger persons. Also, while assembly was quick, customers said that they did not receive assembly instructions! However, you can find the instructions online. 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

While $499 does not seem like a “budget” item, remember how much you are really getting in this cheap weight machine. Compared to the others, this is about a quarter of the price. If budget is your biggest factor, the Marcy machine should definitely make your short list.

The Rundown on Weight Machines

With the detailed reviews in mind, take a look at this chart that simplifies and compares some of the most important features weight machines have to offer:


Less than $500

Exercises more than 3 target areas?

Cable exercises included?

Total weight per weight stack

XMark Upgrade (Top Pick)YesYes200 lbs
XMark Basic (Runner Up)YesYes200 lbs
Marcy Weight Machine (Honorable Mention)XYesYes150 lbs


Sample Weight Machine Workout

While this is a muscle-shredding workout, you will also get a great calorie burn! Before starting any exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor that you are cleared for specific exercises.

While each and every weight machine differs from the next, these workouts are possible on most weight machines. If you don’t have a specific piece of equipment on your weight machine, improvise!



Target Area(s)



Lat pulldown
Depending on your weight machine, you can do a lat pulldown exercise while standing or sitting. It is best performed with a long bar, however, you can use separated handles as well.Back315
Cable hip extensions
This is best done on a cable weight machine. For a well-rounded hip extension regimen, make sure you do hip extensions, hip abduction and hip adduction exercises. Suck in your core for stability!Legs, glutes310
Seated chest fly
This exercise can be done on a seated chest fly attachment or with cable weights. Be sure to exhale during the toughest part of each rep (when your arms are coming together). For even more mega-shredding chest exercises, click here.Chest, core310
Quad extension
If you have a leg extension attachment on your weight machine, use that for this exercise. For those who do not have such an attachment, you can do quad extension with a cable weight.Legs, core310
Cable triceps extension
To start, you want a cable set to a middle or high setting. Facing away from the machine, position yourself on your knees. If this is difficult to do on your specific weight machine, try it standing. Grasp the cable from above and behind your head. Then, pull the cable, extending your triceps out in front of you. Then, return to the starting position.Triceps, core312
Bicep curls
Depending on your weight machine, you can do this on a preacher curl platform or with cable weights. For more bicep workouts, click here.Biceps310


Before You Purchase

A weight machine can be the best piece to have in your home, especially if you’re tight on space or only able to invest in one item. Also, weight machines for home can get you more fit and ripped in no time!

After reading the reviews of the best 3 weight machines for home, you now have a better idea of what types of things are important to you in a weight machine. While some weight machines allow you to do seemingly endless workouts, others are built to target specific muscle groups. Regardless of which workouts you are looking for, the most important thing is finding the product that matches your needs. Don’t forget to do a cost-benefit analysis before you buy your weight machine!

What are you looking for in a weight machine? Will you use it as the sole equipment in your home or add it to a complete home fitness space? Tell us in the comments below.