Choosing the best calf machine for stronger legs can be a challenge. Especially when there are so many options to select from.
Our team of experienced personal trainers have researched and tested over 50 of the best calf raise machines for a home gym. Using our strict criteria we’ve narrowed it down to our top 9 machines.
If you’re in a hurry, the XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine is our top pick for a seated calf raise machine. The Body-Solid Squat and Calf Raise Machine is our top pick for a standing calf raise machine. They simply provide the best quality for the price range.
However, if money is no object the Reflex Donkey machine is the one I’d recommend. The comfort and weight stack that is included blows the other competition out of the water.
9 Best Calf Machines for Home Gym
Here is a quick roundup of our top picks. Click through on any model to find out the current price as well as look at other people’s reviews.
|XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine (XM-7613)||Seated- Our pick||$$|
|Body-Solid Squat and Calf Raise Machine (GSCL360)||Standing- Our pick||$$$|
|Reflex Seated Calf||Seated- Upgrade||$$$|
|Reflex Standing Calf Raise||Standing- Upgrade||$$$$|
|Body-Solid Seated Calf Raise Machine (PSC43X)||Seated- Budget||$$|
|TDS 1000 Rated Standing Calf Unit||Standing- Budget||$$|
|Fitness Master Sled||Full body||$$|
|Liftoff Calf Raise Machine||Super cheap||$|
|Reflex Donkey Calf||“Money no object”||$$$$$|
We’ll go into more detail below about why these are our top picks. We’ve even included all of our review criteria in a comprehensive buyer’s guide later to help you decide what’s right for you.
1. Best Seated Calf Machine- Our Pick: XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine (XM-7613)
The XMark seated calf raise machine is our top pick for a seated machine. This model has been designed to help you build stronger, more powerful calves using calf raises.
You can adjust this machine to suit your needs. The XMark seated calf raise machine allows you to adjust the height of the thigh pads while you exercise for a more comfortable experience. The pads will also swivel with you as you move through calf raises.
The XMark seated calf raise machine comes with dual Olympic weight posts. You can easily adjust the weights you add to the seated calf machine to suit your workout setup. It’s suitable for use with standard weights or Olympic weights.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the XMark seated calf raise machine doesn’t come with the weights you’ll need. You will have to buy your weight plates on top of the initial cost of the machine.
- 11 gauge steel – strong enough for the most demanding of workouts.
- Non-slip foot bar – for safe, comfortable workouts.
- 3” thick cushions – gives you the firm, comfortable support you need during calf exercises.
- Skid-resistant feet – won’t move even during taxing workouts.
- Pop-pin adjustments – easily adjust the height of the thigh pads.
- No weights included – you will need to buy your ideal weights for a complete setup.
2. Best Standing Calf Machine – Our Pick: Body-Solid Squat and Calf Raise Machine (GSCL360)
The Body-Solid squat and calf raise machine is our top pick for a standing machine. This machine is the perfect pick if you want to work on more than calf raises.
It works on your calves, lower back, thighs, and glutes to build your strength.
A unique feature of the Body-Solid machine is that the calf raise block is round instead of square. This helps to give you a deeper pre-stretch for calf blasts to build stronger muscles.
The Body-Solid squat and calf raise machine comes with a foot platform set at a 20-degree angle. Combined with the calf raise block you will get the full leg workout that you need on leg day for stronger legs.
One thing to bear in mind is that the weight plates aren’t included.
- Large weight capacity – supports a weight load of over 800 pounds.
- 12 gauge steel – sturdy enough for even the most demanding workouts.
- Comfortable DuraFirm pads – shoulder pads contoured to your shoulders for added comfort.
- Full leg workout – ideal for calf raises as well as working on your glutes and thighs.
- Weight storage – for added stability and to keep your weights in one place.
- No weights included – you will need to buy additional weight plates to work with.
3. Best Seated Calf Machine – Upgrade Pick: Reflex Seated Calf-Tibia
Our upgrade pick in terms of seated calf machines is the Reflex seated calf-tibia.
This comes with a range of handy features for a comfortable seated calf workout. It features a rounded aluminum skid plate for more complex calf exercises.
The Reflex seated calf-tibia features 2” and 3” high-density foam thigh pads for a more comfortable workout. You can also adjust the thigh pads to suit your workout style.
What’s great about the Reflex seated calf-tibia machine is that it comes with tibia pads for a full lower leg workout. The tibia pads can also be adjusted between 6 different positions for a balanced workout.
It’s worth noting that the Reflex seated calf-tibia machine requires some space in your home gym. It measures 63” (L) x 45” (W) x 42” (H).
- 11 gauge steel – features welded tubular steel construction for a sturdy workout.
- Moveable safety – for a safer, comfortable solo workout.
- Rubber grip handles – for added comfort while in use.
- Adjustable tibia pads – to suit your individual workout style.
- Aluminum skid plate – for a sturdier grip when exercising.
- Requires ample room – may take up a lot of space in your home gym.
4. Best Standing Calf Machine – Upgrade Pick: Reflex Standing Calf Raise
The Reflex standing calf raise is our upgrade pick when it comes to the best standing calf machine. It includes everything you need for an effective leg workout for stronger legs.
You can adjust the Reflex standing calf raise machine to suit your workout style. The shoulder pad arm can be adjusted between 7 positions for a comfortable leg day session.
The Reflex standing calf machine features a range of sturdy components for a machine that will withstand even the most demanding workouts.
It includes 1” hardened rods, high-density foam pads, and an array of other high-quality features for a superior workout.
Partially due to the high-quality components, the Reflex standing calf machine is on the pricey side.
- 11 gauge steel – welded tubular construction for a durable, sturdy calf machine.
- 250 pound weight stack – includes everything you need for a thorough leg workout.
- Diamond plate foot rests – for a comfortable, stable workout.
- Dual grip handles – features rubber comfort grips for a more comfortable workout.
- Adjustable shoulder pad arm – to suit your needs for a comfortable workout.
- Pricey – more expensive than some competitive models.
5. Best Budget Seated Calf Machine: Body-Solid Seated Calf Raise Machine (PSC43X)
Our best budget pick is the Body-Solid seated calf raise machine. This machine gives you everything you need for calf raises but at a more affordable price. This makes it a great pick for home gyms.
While the Body-Solid seated calf raise machine only includes a 1” weight post, this can be upgraded.
There is the option of upgrading this to an Olympic size weight post with an additional Olympic weight sleeve adapter. However, this is sold separately.
A great feature of this machine is that it can be adjusted to suit your needs. The adjustable design makes this machine a great fit for users of all sizes.
One thing to bear in mind is that the Body-Solid seated calf raise machine doesn’t include weight plates.
- Angled foot platform – for a more thorough workout with a non-slip surface for added stability.
- 10 year warranty – frame includes a warranty for your peace of mind as well as a 1 year warranty for all other machine parts.
- 3:1 weight ratio – for a thorough workout to build powerful muscles.
- Measures 45” (L) x 21” (W) x 32” (H) – won’t take up as much footprint as competitive models.
- Adjustable design – suitable for users of all sizes.
- Doesn’t include weight plates – you will need to buy these separately if you want to increase the resistance in your workouts.
6. Best Budget Calf Machine: TDS 1000 Rated Standing Calf Unit
Our best budget pick for a standing calf machine is the TDS 1000 Rated Standing Calf Unit.
This machine gives you all the basics you need from home gym equipment to give you stronger legs.
What’s great about the TDS 1000 Rated Standing Calf Unit is that it’s been designed with home users in mind.
It features an EZ assembly so that you can put it all together yourself. There’ll be no need to pay a professional to install it in your home gym.
This model comes with dual plate holders. These can hold up to 1000 pounds of Olympic plates. You can easily adjust the weight plates you attach to increase or decrease the resistance needed.
While this model is a great budget pick, it doesn’t come with the weights you need for thorough calf workouts.
- Non-slip foot platform – for a safe, sturdy workout.
- Adjustable height – height can be adjusted between 5 settings to suit your needs.
- Professional quality shoulder pads – for a more comfortable workout.
- Large weight capacity – the dual plate holders can withstand up to 1000 pounds of Olympic plates.
- Weight plate storage – for added durability and to keep all your equipment in one place.
- No weight plates included – you will need to buy your optimal weight plates to use with this model.
7. Best Full-body Machine for Calves: Fitness Master Sled
The Fitness Master Sled is our top pick if you’re after a piece of equipment that will give your whole body a good workout.
This piece of equipment is a great fit for your calves and can be used for a variety of exercises.
It features rubber gripped low push handles to work out your calves. The larger push handles also double as weight storage. This allows you to adjust the resistance of the sled to suit your workouts.
The Fitness Master Sled doesn’t require as much room as a seated or standing calf machine.
It measures 43” (L) x 11.5” (W) x 8.5” (H). However, it’s worth noting you will need room to maneuver it around your home gym for exercises.
This model doesn’t include the weights you need for more demanding workouts.
- 11 gauge steel – for a stronger, sturdier piece of home gym equipment.
- Full-body workout – work on your calves as well as other muscles.
- Replaceable feet – increases the lifetime of your equipment.
- Low push handles – for a thorough calf workout.
- Compact footprint – won’t take up as much space as bulkier calf machine equipment.
- No weights included – you will need to buy your optimal weight plates for a thorough workout.
8. Super Cheap Calf Raise Machine: Liftoff Calf Raise Machine
A super cheap calf machine to build your muscles is the Liftoff calf raise machine.
This machine works by using heavy bands to increase tension during calf raises. It works to increase the strength of your calves.
A great feature of the Liftoff calf raise machine is its compact size. It won’t take up as much room as bulkier, more expensive machines. This makes it a great fit for home gyms that have an abundance of space-consuming equipment.
The Liftoff calf raise machine is a great fit for those who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars.
It will still help you build your calf muscles for stronger legs. You can also hold weights while you use the machine for added resistance.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the exercises you can perform with this calf machine will be limited.
- Affordable – doesn’t cost thousands of dollars for building stronger legs.
- Compact – measures 12” wide and 11” long for a space-saving machine.
- Easy to use – simply attach the straps to your lower leg before completing calf raises.
- Heavy bands – gives you 10-15 pounds resistance.
- No need to buy weights – includes everything you need for a budget calf raise workout.
- Static tension – you can’t adjust the tension to increase or decrease resistance.
9. Best Calf Machine – Our “If Money was No Object Pick”: Reflex Donkey Calf
The Reflex Donkey Calf machine is easily our “if money was no object” pick. This machine comes with a range of great features for a full calf workout.
It will work up the strength in your legs to match the rest of your toned body.
This machine is fully adjustable for your needs. You can easily adjust the positioning of the vertical back pad as well as the toe plate. Great for effective calf workouts.
It makes use of high-quality parts for a durable machine. It’s worth noting that the Reflex Donkey Calf machine will need ample space in your home gym.
As this is our “if money were no object” pick, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s a bit pricier than other calf machines.
- 11 gauge steel – welded tubular construction for a strong, sturdy machine.
- Aluminum skid plate – for stable, safe workouts.
- Adjustable vertical back pad – can be adjusted between 10 positions for your comfort.
- Comfortable – features high-density foam pads and rubber handles.
- Adjustable toe plate – can suit a variety of workout positions.
- Pricey – one of the more expensive options.
Calf Raise Machine Buying Guide
There are 5 main things you will need to consider when buying a calf machine for stronger legs.
- Size of equipment
- Quality and durability of the machine
- Type of calf machine you need
- The versatility of the machine
- Your budget
These 5 factors will combine with your fitness goals to determine which calf machine is the best fit for your home gym.
Below are the key criteria we considered when choosing our 9 best calf machines for stronger legs detailed above. These are all crucial factors to consider when selecting the best calf machine for your home gym.
Size of the calf machine
The size of your chosen calf machine is an important factor to think about. You should measure the space that you have available in your home gym. If you don’t have ample room, this will limit the calf machines that you can choose from.
The Master Sled requires a decent amount of space to move around, but it can also be used for a much greater variety of exercises.
You should think about how often you will use the equipment. If your chosen calf machine takes up loads of space it could be taking away from other pieces of equipment you were thinking of buying that you might use more.
On a similar note, more compact equipment like the Liftoff machine may limit you in terms of exercises you can perform. It will all depend on the type of calf machine you’re after and what exercises you hope to use it for.
Calf machine gauge steel
The quality of the calf machine can often be determined by the gauge of steel used.
You should opt for a calf machine that uses 11 gauge steel or better. This steel is 1/8″ thick and durable and will make your machine safe to use for demanding workouts.
Our seated top pick, the XMark, uses 11 gauge steel and is very durable, but a fraction of the cost of some comparable models.
This will be an essential factor to consider if you’re opting for heavier weights. The thicker the steel, the stronger and more durable it will be. The general rule of thumb is that the lower the number, the thicker the steel.
11 gauge steel is considered to be one of the strongest types of steel. This should be suitable for the majority of home gyms.
Comfort of the calf machine
Your comfort will be key when working out your calves. Most calf machines come with padded features for added comfort when working out. This will be a lifesaver if you plan on using your chosen calf machine regularly for calf raise reps.
The placement of the pads on your calf machine should also feel comfortable enough to do reps and sets with. Thigh pads shouldn’t press too hard on your legs. Ensure that you’re able to sit comfortably in a seated calf machine.
A standing calf machine will come with shoulder pads for more comfortable exercises. When you stand on the foot platform on the balls of your feet the shoulder pads should rest on your shoulders.
The Reflex standing machine has high-density shoulder pads. These are far more comfortable than some other models out there or using a barbell on your back.
You should also ensure that your chosen calf machine features a non-slip foot platform. This will make the machine more comfortable and safer to use.
Standing vs seated calf raise machine
A standing calf raise machine will typically allow you to lift more weight and place more stress on the gastrocnemius muscle. This is the muscle that gives you the upside-down love heart shape that Arnie always had! This will help to make your calves look bigger as it increases the “thickness”.
However, a seated calf raise is better at isolating the calf. It’s easier to bend your knees with a standing calf raise, which will not solely work your calf muscles as Muscle and Strength points out.
The seated calf raise also works a slightly different muscle called the soleus. This is the muscle slightly under your gastrocnemius and makes your outside lower leg look thicker.
If you already own an Olympic barbell, plates and a good squat rack it’s possible to do standing calf raises. So you may prefer to opt for a seated calf machine to work the soleus muscle more. However, if you are looking to gain calf muscle size quickly the standing calf machine is typically more effective than a seated machine.
Can you adjust the height of the calf machine?
Adjustable height is a key factor to look for. You should be able to adjust your chosen calf machine to suit your height so that you can use it comfortably. This will make your workout more effective.
Seated calf machines should allow you to adjust the height of the seat and the pads. These types of calf machines normally include a lever under the seat to help you adjust the equipment to your needs. The Body-Solid is a good budget option but doesn’t have these features.
Standing calf machines should allow you to adjust the height to suit you. Machines that offer a variety of height adjustments will be better suited to home gyms for more than 1 person.
Do you need to add weight plates? What size?
The majority of calf machines available require you to buy your own additional weight plates, such as the budget TDS standing calf machine.
So it’s important that you know what diameter of weight plates they can accommodate. Standard plates have a 1″ hole but Olympic plates have a 2″ diameter hole.
Most calf machines will accommodate Olympic plates unless they state otherwise.
Weight stack included/ Maximum capacity
The weight stack that your calf machine can support will be crucial. This will determine how much weight you can add when you do your calf raises.
While it may be tempting to opt for the heaviest weights, you should ensure that your calf machine can accommodate the right weights for you to exercise comfortably.
Some standing calf machines will come with weight stacks included. Others like the Reflex Donkey Calf include both!
If you already have a home gym with a range of plates then it probably won’t matter which option you take. But if you don’t have a range of bumper plates then it may be more cost-effective to get a calf machine with a weight stack included. Such as the standing reflex calf machine.
Warranty for the brand
The type of warranty that the manufacturer can offer you is another important factor.
If the manufacturer is offering a warranty on their calf machine, it’s a good indicator that they take their products seriously.
Which means you’ll be looking at a quality calf machine that should last you for years.
Check how long the warranty lasts. The more confident a manufacturer is that their calf machine will last, the longer the warranty will last.
Calf machine pricing
Calf machines cost between $250 to $4,000 or even more. You can buy a good quality seated calf machine for under $500. However a good quality standing calf machine will cost at least $1,000.
Our top standing calf machine pick is the Body-Solid GSCL360 as it’s high quality machine for a very competitive price.
There are plenty of budget options on the market and it’s possible to pick some bargains up second hand.
But thee factors already mentioned should be the priority. Once you know what you’re looking for then you decide what price range you’d be happy to spend.
It’s nearly always better to save up for a machine that will last you a lifetime than spend money on a cheap model only to replace it within a year.
Calf Raise Machine Workouts
Everyone knows the importance of not skipping leg day. You don’t want to spend all your attention on your upper body to only have chicken legs to match.
Calves are notoriously difficult to build up. However, calf raises have multiple benefits so they are well worth the effort.
Calf machines help build leg muscle. The right calf machine can also be used for a variety of other exercises.
Here are a few videos to get you started.
Calf Raise Machine Frequently Asked Questions
What gym equipment is best for calves?
1. XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine (XM-7613)
2. Body-Solid Squat and Calf Raise Machine (GSCL360)
3. Reflex Seated Calf
4. Reflex Standing Calf Raise
5. Body-Solid Seated Calf Raise Machine (PSC43X)
6. TDS 1000 Rated Standing Calf Unit
7. Fitness Master Sled
8. Liftoff Calf Raise Machine
9. Reflex Donkey Calf
How can I increase my calf size?
You can increase your calf size by doing seated and standing calf raises. Use a seated calf machine to build bigger muscles in the lower soleus muscle. Standing calf raises make your gastrocnemius muscles bigger and create that upside-down heart shape. Sprinting, jump rope work and walking or running uphill are also great ways to get bigger calves.
You should ensure that you work through the full range of motion to build your calf muscles. You should try to use a weight where you struggle to lift any more after 8-15 reps per set and increase the weight each workout.
How do you get rid of saggy calves?
Seated or standing calf raises are the best ways to get rid of saggy calves. Your calorie intake should be less than what you burn each day too. Calves are notoriously difficult to build up, so don’t feel defeated if you don’t see immediate results.
Can flabby legs be toned?
Flabby legs can be toned with regular exercise over time. You should be doing regular cardio as well as leg-specific exercises such as calf raises to get them toned. Making sure you eat a healthy diet will also be an important part of getting your legs toned.
The Bottom Line for Calf Machines
After reviewing the different types of calf machines there are some clear winners. The best calf machine for you will depend on your budget and your fitness goals.
The XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine is our overall top pick for a seated calf machine. This machine offers you great value for money as well as the range of exercises you need to build stronger legs.
Our top pick for a standing calf machine is the Body-Solid Squat and Calf Raise Machine. This gives you a full leg workout which will be essential for building stronger legs.
If money was no object, we’d opt for the Reflex Donkey Calf machine.
You can find a summary of all the calf machines we’ve picked in a table at the top of this page. Be sure to check out our extensive list of the best all-in-one home gyms if you’re looking for a machine that can build your calves muscles and much more.