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5 Best Smith Machines For Your Home Gym (With Cables)

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I’ve been a personal trainer for over 20 years.

In that time I’ve used dozens of Smith machines… some great, some decent, others outright dangerous.

So our team here at Strong Home Gym collected data on over 55 Smith machines. I then decided 19 factors to assess each machine and gave each one a ‘weighting’ i.e. the thickness of the steel used has more weighting than the warranty.

We then got our hands on the top picks with help from our community to physically test them out.

This is the exact process I use for buying any machine in my own 8,000 sq ft commercial gym…

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If you want to read my takes on proper Smith machine use, go here. Or check out my comparison of Smith machines vs squat racks.

If not… let’s dive in…


Compare Smith Machines

Overall

GR8FLEX
Force USA G10
Total Gym Fit
Force USA G15
Total Gym XLS
Body Solid Pro
Total Gym Apex
Valor Fitness
Marcy Smith Cage
Best for
Overall multipurpose
Premium multipurpose
Smith machine
Budget
Cheap multipurpose
Rating (*)
Quality
94%
96%
93%
74%
67%
Smith machine rating
91%
91%
95%
84%
54%
Versatility
93%
99%
45%
45%
86%
Brand reputation
94%
95%
88%
85%
70%
Compactness
79%
87%
86%
85%
81%
Price
75%
62%
77%
89%
95%
Price
$$$$
$$$$$
$$$
$$
$
Racking levels
14
14
16
14
10
Counterbalanced
Yes
Yes
Yes (6lb bar)
Yes
No (20lb bar)
Gauge steel
11
11
11
12
14
#Exercises
375
375
~80
~80
200
Weight capacity (lbs)
992
992
1000
700
600
Width (")
79.5
79.5
86
85
79.25
Length (")
74
53
50
53
65
Height (")
87.5
87.5
84
80
84.5
Fold footprint (sq ft)
40.9
29.2
29.9
31.3
35.8
Warranty
Lifetime frame, 10 yr parts
Lifetime frame, 10 yr parts
Lifetime
3 yr frame, 2 yr parts
2 yr
Item weight
639
1212
543
300
290
Incline
No
No
7 degree
3 degree
No

Our testing and selection process

I’ll take a moment here to outline the steps we took to compile this list.

I’m not doing it to brag but so that you can get insight into our guesswork-free process.

  1. We created the initial list of Smith machines – this combines the machines we know are good and have used with the most popular models.
  2. We went through all fitness gear manufacturers’ websites to check if we were missing anything. This step was about hunting down those new arrivals that would otherwise slip through the cracks.
  3. We went through all the machines listed on Amazon and chose the ones that might be candidates for “best” in any category. Our rule here was that a solid Smith machine would have at least a 4-star rating.
  4. We separated the complete list into two groups – standalones and multi-use. We did this because comparing the two types directly is a sloppy apple-to-orange comparison.
    Yet, most sites do it…make of that what you will.
  5. We asked industry experts and users what they’re looking for in a good Smith machine.
  6. We created data categories and populated the list with every bit of information we found on the machines. We contact the manufacturers if it’s crucial and we can’t find it.
  7. We combined what we learned in #5 with our experience to develop the rating formula. We tweaked that to make it more accurate and include EVERYTHING that matters.
  8. This includes everything from the basics, like footprint and height, to the more nuanced stuff, like the type of bearings and number of lockout positions.
  9. We tweaked the formula through multiple iterations. This made it more accurate.
  10. We chose the best smith machines to present. The goal was to compile a list that’s comprehensive but not overwhelming.
  11. We analyzed each top pick in more depth. The goal here is to make the mini-reviews “richer” and more helpful. We try out as many of the machines as possible in person & compare them to a variety of Smith machines we’ve used.
  12. We stay on top of things and regularly update this guide to keep the information fresh and relevant.
Main factors of choosing a good Smith machine

1 – Overall build quality of a Smith machine

(combined total of 31.4 points in our ratings)

Overall build quality is a tricky category because there’s no way to measure it directly.

That’s why we’ve broken it down into chunks.

Below is a list of what we rated and what you should be looking at:

  1. Weight capacity
  2. Gauge of the steel
  3. Cross-section of the frame

2 – Weight capacity

(0 to 13 points in our ratings)

For most people, the weight capacity of the Smith machine is more significant as an indicator of quality than an actual limitation.

Higher weight capacity means thicker steel, wider frame, and better joining.

For you, it means a Smith machine that will not wobble or feel unsafe.

Below is a graph comparing the weight capacities of our top picks.

Weight capacity of home Smith machines

3. Gauge of the steel used for the machine

(0 to 9 points in our ratings)

The gauge of the steel used for Smith machines is in the 11-14″ range (the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel).

It becomes more of a factor if you go outside the list of our top picks because the machines we’ve chosen are made using 11 or 12-gauge steel. The exception is the budget Marcy Smith Cage, which is 14-gauge.

Gym Equipment Gauge Steel Thickness

4. Cross-section of the uprights

(0 to 9 points in our ratings)

The cross-section of the frame tells the story of durability and stability, but only when paired with the gauge.

The cross-section surface should go below four square inches.

5 – Type of Smith machine mechanism – bushings vs. bearings

(0 to 12.5 points in our ratings)

A good Smith machine uses linear bearings; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Period.

Compared to bushings, linear bearings make for a much smoother, glide-like movement. Having used both types, I’ll be honest – I wouldn’t even consider a Smith machine that didn’t use linear bearings, regardless of the money saved.

Oh- and yes every model you see above uses bearings (you’re welcome!)

It’s night and day in terms of user experience. Bushings will always have a bit of a drag. As time goes by, you’ll probably see it getting worse and “spotty.”

By “spotty,” I mean not uniform – some parts of the guiding bar will create more friction.

You might temporarily fix it by oiling the mechanism.

It will undoubtedly worsen in time, especially if the guiding bar is not stainless steel.

As rust particles combine with the oil, they create gunk that builds up. Ultimately, that renders the machine useless.

Linear bearings mechanisms use a series of bearings that rotate, which minimizes the contact surface and results in that glide we know and love.

bushings vs. bearings on a Smith machine

6 – Angled vs. upright Smith machine

(no specific points in our ratings)

The angled-versus-upright is a needlessly complicated debate that’s been going on for ages.

Let’s simplify it.

First of all, let me ensure that we’re on the same page.The angle we’re talking about here is between an imaginary vertical line and the path of the Smith bar (image below). You might also see it referred to as “pitch” or “reverse pitch.”

Pitch or angle of a Smith machine

It can be anywhere from 0 to 12 degrees. That path is biomechanically closer to bench pressing with free weights and better for adding squat variations (like hack squats).

That’s it. Those are the two advantages. On the other hand, a pitch of over 10 degrees makes the bar a peg less versatile because some exercises (like shrugs or hip thrusts) will feel awkward.

Vertical vs. Angled Smith Machine

Making sense of it all

The reasons for choosing one type over the other will need to be ultra-specific.

For a vertical bar path, those ultra-specific reasons can be something like facing either way when in the machine.

For an angled bar path, bench pressing follows a more natural plane of movement.

The bottom line is that, for 95% of exercises, you can mimic the angles either way.

Once you understand what works for you and adjust, either machine type will do just fine.

Click here to skip back to the Pro Clubline review.

7 – Safety of a Smith machine – catches are a must

Smith machines with safety catches have pretty much become the standard of the industry.

It’s just a question of the type of safeties.

On most machines, the safeties use the same mechanism as the carriage, only fixed.

You hook the safety, and it catches the bar on failed lifts.

Safety catches on a Smith machine

Simple enough, right?

Well, yes and no.

The problem here is safeties limit the range of motion – especially on squats and deadlifts.

They say that a Smith machine “eliminates the need for a spotter.”

For that to be true, you’d have to get one that tracks the bar and moves the safeties to make way.

Mechatronic systems like that already exist, but it will be years before they’re cheap enough for mass production.

As is, just make sure the safety catches exist.

More important for safety than catches – reliable carriage and racking

Most injuries in a Smith machine happen when the rotating mechanism or the carriage gets stuck.

I have no statistics to speak of, but if I were a betting man, I’d guess the number to be no less 90%.

Bottom line – get a machine with a good carriage and rotation system. It’s a more significant safety factor than the type of catches.

8 – Type of the Smith machine – standalone or multi-use

(no specific points in our ratings)

We did not award points in this category because no machine is inherently better just because of the type.

There is, however, a better type FOR YOU.

If you have an existing space and gear and want to add a Smith machine, go for a standalone.

If you’re just starting out with your home gym project and want to use limited space efficiently, an all-one machine like the G10 is the way to go. It might also offer you more workout versatility at a lower price point than buying all of the additional items individually.

Choosing a standalone Smith machine is simpler

Compared to the multi-use units, there aren’t as many moving parts, both metaphorically and literally.

The three things that can ruin it for you are:

  1. Bar’s angle
  2. Build quality
  3. Type of mechanism

We’ll cover all that in more detail below.

Bottom line – when choosing an all-in-one, start from scratch and build up

If you’re reading this, your priority is probably a good Smith machine, so make that your starting point, even when looking at all-in-ones.

From there, make a list of stations paramount for you (like a pull-up bar leg extension, leg press, etc.).

Use that as an elimination checklist.

Two main types of Smith Machines

9 – Number of lockout positions

The higher number of lockout positions, the more control you have over the range of motion. You’ll also feel safer on failed lifts.

The latter is valid up to a point.

If you pack 25 lockout positions onto an 85-inch frame, the racking slots will be too close together. You don’t want racking to feel like darts.

How close is too close?

That depends on the racking mechanism – the simpler, the better.

The distance sweet spot is 5-6.5 inches, which is where all our picks are.

My rule is to avoid Smith machines with lockout positions closer than 4 inches. I’m also not a fan of machines where the holders hook into holes on the uprights.

The graph below compares the number of lockout positions on the top-rated Smith machines from our list.

Number of lockout positions on a Smith machine

10 – Pulley ratio

Out of the factors that go beyond the Smith bar, these two are crucial.

The pulley ratio refers to the cable pulley system. Specifically – how weight is transferred to the functional trainer.

A 2-to-1 ratio means that a weight of 50 lbs will “become” 25 lbs on your end of the pulley.

That means two things:

  • You can increase the weight in smaller increments.
  • The cable is longer.

A 2-to-1 ratio is a sweet spot for most people, and an optional 4-to-1 is a nice plus but not a must-have.

11 – Westside spacing

Westside spacing refers to a specific distribution of the holes on the uprights.

Basic spacing is uniform – the holes are two inches apart.

Westside starts with a 1-inch spacing for the lower section and moves to 2-inches towards the top. It gives you more control over j-hooks and safety placement.

The closer you are to your limits, the more difference it makes. If you want to read my takes on proper Smith machine use, go here. For my comparison of a Smith machine and a squat rack, go here.

12 – Number of stations and attachments

(0 to 21.9 points in our ratings)

“Versatility” is only a factor for the Smith machines that are part of multipurpose units.

For simplicity, we split this category into the number of stations (as the primary indicator) and the number of attachments (as the secondary).

You can see those two graphs below.

Number of stations on a multipurpose Smith machine
Number of attachments on a multipurpose Smith machine

Look for specific stations – do you need a pull-up bar or a leg press?

For the nerdier and more patient among, I’m linking to a study on leg press vs. Smith machine quadriceps activation.

My advice here is to prioritize and not be dazzled by the numbers.

More important than the spec-sheet numbers are the stations that you’ll actually be using. Make a list of those and choose your Smith machine through an elimination process.

14 – % of 3-star or less reviews

If there are over 10% 3-star reviews or less it lowers the score

15 – Repetitive flaws with the machine

For example, multiple people complaining about the head support being too low for them if they are over 5 foot 10” lowers the overall score

16 – Customer support score

We contact every brand as a customer to determine the speed of support and how helpful they are at resolving our question (see image below)

REP Fitness Customer Service

17 – Repetitive reviews of poor delivery

When multiple reviews mention slow delivery times or poorly packaged and damaged products it lowers the score

18 – Size of a Smith machine – footprint and height

(0 to 6.3 points in our ratings)

The footprint range for the standalone machines starts at just below 17 square feet and goes up to about 30.

Footprint comparison of the best Smith machines

For the multi-use models, that range is 26-41

If height is an issue

The height ranges from 80 to 93 inches.

If height is the limiting factor, there are outliers like the MiM USA compact home Smith machine. It’s not the best, but it’s great for basements and attics with lower-than-average ceilings.

The two graphs below compare our top picks in size – footprint, and height.

Leave room to move around with weights

As a rule of thumb, I advise people to leave at least 35 inches on either side of a Smith machine. 

That will give you enough space to pack weights without propping up or twisting, which is risky for your back.

On the sides, the extra space should naturally be measured from the end of the bar and not the frame.

Bonus tip: If you’re tall and do standing presses, you’ll want to pay special attention to the highest lockout position of the Smith bar.

19 – Price and warranty terms of a Smith machine

(0 to 20 points in our ratings)

A good Smith machine will set you back anywhere from 1-7 grand.

Naturally, the all-in-ones cost more because they bring more than just a Smith machine.

My advice here is not to save on the carriage mechanism. Go for the machines that explicitly list linear bearings in the specs. That’s one of the rules we applied to our picks.

If that means giving up a station or two, so be it.

The graph below is a Smith machine cost price comparison of top picks in the categories – multi-use and standalone Smith machines included.

Price comparison among the top Smith machines
Warranty terms

My 3 rule of thumb here are:

  1. Don’t settle for anything less than a Lifetime Warranty if you’re spending over 2k on a Smith machine.
  2. Anything less than a year is unacceptable, no matter the price.
  3. A 1-year warranty is only acceptable if the machine costs less than $1,500. That rules out some popular machines like Titan.

If unsure, look for a try-out period

If possible, look for units you can return without jumping through hoops.

That especially goes if this is your first Smith machine – it’s not for everyone.

I know that Force USA has a good customer policy regarding returns. It’s only natural when you’re paying that kind of money.


Find the perfect Smith Machine for you

Overall multipurpose | Premium multipurpose | Smith machine only | Budget Smith machine | Cheap Multipurpose


1 – Best Smith machine overall

Best Smith Machine
Force USA G10
Force USA G10 All-In-One Trainer
Quick specs
14 racking levels
Counterbalanced
79.5x74x87.5″ (WxLxH)
8 machines in one (12 upgraded)

The quality of the Smith machine beats most standalone Smith machines. When you include the other 11 stations for the price you struggle to beat this machine.

89/100 Overall Score
94

Quality

91

Smith machine rating

93

Versatility

94

Brand reputation

79

Compactness

75

Price

Pros

  • Premium linear bearings on the Smith machine – smooth motion with no drag. Don’t underestimate the importance of this – it transforms the user experience. 
  • Counter-balanced – the bar is easier to move and lock in place, and the math in your workout plan will be simpler since there’s no bar weight to account for.
  • Versatile – you can use it for a full-body workout. With 8 stations, it does a decent job of mimicking free weights (12 stations with the upgrade)
  • It features safety stops – the stops will catch the bar if you drop it. It’s also massive safety plus on failed lifts.
  • Compact – Great Smith machine for a tight home gym scenario. It’s the best Smith machine for home use but it will fare pretty well as a commercial Smith machine also.

Cons

  • No selectorized weight stacks – going from weight to weight on the functional trainer is not as fast as with the selectorized models.

You will pay a similar price for just a standalone Smith machine of this quality. However, this is the ideal home gym solution as it includes a power rack, cable machine, and another potential 9 stations to work from.

If you already own gym equipment, you could probably sell most of it and replace it with this machine… which becomes a no brainer for most people.

Force USA G10 is the best Smith machine for most people because it lives at the intersection of three “roads”

  • Premium mechanism and materials (guide rails, premium safety catch & counterbalanced)
  • Versatility beyond just a home Smith Machine with cables (twelve training machines in one)
  • And the price (you can pay a lot more than this for just a Smith machine)

In a word – it’s the top value… by far!

Strong Home Gym Smith Machines Ratings

The main competitors for the best Smith machine top spot were all Force USA machines.

The G3 is a cable Smith machine with adjustable cables that costs less but uses a basic wheel-bearing combo for the mechanism, which has a bit of drag.

The G6 comes with a weight stack but the Smith Machine is not “counterbalanced”. 

A counterbalanced Smith Machine means that you lift the exact weight of the plates you load onto it. Effectively the bar weighs nothing. 

This is a big deal if you are new to lifting as you can work with much lighter weight… plus it saves you from having to do quick math every time you load the bar!

It also has a 2-to-1 AND 4-to-1 pulley ratio which makes the cable machine incredible and just the same as the G15. It’s very hard to find any cable machine with this feature and it makes it ideal for exercises such as a kneeling row as it has a longer cable. It’s also ideal for lat raises as you can increase the weights slightly rather than a big jump.

The only bone I have to pick with the G10 has nothing to do with the Smith bar.

There is no weight stack for the cables- You’ll need to add your own weight plates.

Fact sheet of the G10

Dimensions in inches
(Height x Weight x Depth)
87.5 x 89.5 x 74
Weight Capacity (lbs)992
Number of stations8 (up to 12)
Number of attachments17
Counterbalancedyes
# of lockout positions12

Check the Force USA G10 overview and price here.


2 – Best premium Smith machine

Premium Smith Machine
Force USA G15
Force USA G15
Quick specs
14 racking levels
Counterbalanced
79.5x53x87.5″ (WxLxH)
8 machines in one (12 upgraded)

This does everything the G10 does plus it has selectorized weight stacks for the cable machine making it even more compact.

83/100 Overall Score
96

Quality

91

Smith machine rating

99

Versatility

95

Brand reputation

88

Compactness

62

Price

Pros

  • Selectorized weight – it’s more precise and easier to change weights, which is a plus if you do a lot of drop-sets and prioritize convenience.
  • Dual pulley system – the two ratios (2-to-1 and 4-to-1) are more beginner friendly and a big plus for families.
  • Versatile – if you get the upgraded version, the number of stations becomes 11.
  • Jammer arms included – you can simulate hammer-style lifts, which adds to your chest workouts.
  • Compact – it will take up less space than most machines in its price and versatility range (including the G10)

Cons

  • It’s expensive – costs about 80% more than the G10, which features the same guiding mechanism without the counterbalance. Whether that’s worth the price bump is up to you.
  • J-hooks aren’t fully lined – the exposed back means metal-to-metal contact when racking, which can damage your bar. It’s easily solvable with a piece of sponge or tape, but again, I hate fixing things that I just bought.

If I had to recommend the perfect machine for most home gyms it would be this one. The downside is the price point.

It’s almost identical to the G10 but is a bit more compact (53″ vs 74″ depth). That is because it comes with selectorized weight stacks for the cable machine, which are much easier to change than adding weight plates.

The G15 isn’t cheap.

It costs about 80% more than the G10, which is a big reason the G10 gets our top pick.

If convenience is a priority, the extra cost is definitely worth it.

You can buy this machine and never need to get another piece of gym equipment again.

The Smith machine is also counterbalanced and has all of the good features of the G10. However, it comes with more potential stations and if you get the upgrade kit it combines 11 stations in one machine.

This category is about splurging on convenience, and that’s why the G15 is the top pick.

If I could only get one machine on this list it would without doubt be this one. Read more about the G15 in our longer review on it here.

Fact sheet of the G15

Dimensions in inches
(Height x Weight x Depth)
87 x 80 x 53
Weight Capacity (lbs)992
Number of stations8 (up to 12)
Number of attachments18
Counterbalancedno
# of lockout positions13

Check the Force USA G15 overview and price here.


3 – Best Smith machine among standalones

Standalone Smith Machine
Body-Solid Pro Clubline
Body Solid Pro Clubline
Quick specs
16 racking levels
Counterbalanced
86x50x84″ (WxLxH)
543lbs, 7 degree angle

A super high-quality commercial Smith machine for a decent home gym price.

79/100 Overall Score
93

Quality

95

Smith machine rating

45

Versatility

88

Brand reputation

86

Compactness

77

Price

Pros

  • Robust and heavy build – the extra heft means it can handle more weight and it will feel more stable. From a safety point of view, this is huge. Smith machines are often surprisingly easy to tip over.
  • 16 lockout positions – makes racking easier, and it’s safer on failed lifts.
  • Counterbalanced to 6 lbs – this makes the bar light, but it won’t feel like it’s floating (which is the case with many counterbalanced models).
  • Modern arched design – it’s eye-catching and stands out in a sea of right angles that is the Smith machine market.

Cons

  • It’s expensive – it doesn’t cost as much as a high-end commercial Smith machine, but it does cost more than your average home model.
  • The instructions are unclear at points – if you’re not handy, this can make the assembly a real pain.

The 16 racking levels and 7 degree angle make this one of the most well thought out Smith machines on the market.

The Pro Clubline is our top pick among the standalones for three main reasons:

  • It’s the “beefiest.”
  • The mechanism is reliable.
  • It’s the most robust you can go without straying into the commercial-price territory.

It also has the most lock-out positions making it ideal to catch the bar at the right height for you…

Number of lockout positions on a Smith machine

The fallacy of the “commercial-grade” claim

Many of the cheaper Smith machines have one thing in common – they make the commercial-grade claim.

I’ve seen it repeatedly in the past two decades, especially with the expansion of the Chinese stuff.

The threshold for that claim seems low because it sounds good, and no gym owner would put these sub-par machines in their space to test it.

So, they live rent-free in that no man’s land.

That’s not the case with this one – this one’s a small Smith machine. In fact, It’s small enough for a home gym but would stand tall in a commercial environment.

The you-specific decision point here is the 12-degree angle.

If you’re unsure about that, I’ll go into more detail in the guide after the picks. To skip to that part, click here.

Fact sheet of the Pro Clubline

Dimensions in inches
(Height x Weight x Depth)
84 x 86 x 50
Weight Capacity (lbs)1000
Pitch angle (degrees)7
Counterbalancedyes, to 6 lbs
# of lockout positions16

Check the Body Solid Pro Clubline overview and price here.


4 – Best budget Smith machine

Budget Smith Machine
Valor Fitness BE-11BCB
Valor Fitness BE-11BCB
Quick specs
14 racking levels
Counterbalanced
85x53x80″ (WxLxH)
264lbs, 3 degree angle

If you just want a Smith machine and you’re on a budget this one is perfect for you.

74/100 Overall Score
74

Quality

84

Smith machine rating

45

Versatility

85

Brand reputation

85

Compactness

89

Price

Pros

  • The counterbalance is included – it’s cheaper and less of a hassle than getting it separately.
  • 12 gauge steel – it will wobble less than most Smith machines.
  • The carriage is guided with double linear bearings – the movement will feel similar to that of more expensive machines.
  • Safeties with a spring top – the spring absorbs the impact if you drop the bar, which prevents long-term damage to both the stopper and the bar.

Cons

  • Lower capacity – the maximum weight you can pack is 500 lbs. It’s not a deal-breaker per se, but it indicates how it’s put together, especially with the thick 12-gauge steel in mind.
  • Shipping problems – you might not get all the parts. I’ve seen reports of this happening. Also, when it does happen, their customer service is not the fastest in solving the problems.
  • The instructions are basic and unclear – putting it together can be frustrating since there’s no video or detailed instructions.

This does everything you’d want from a Smith machine and costs a fraction of similar quality models that exist i.e. the Titan Smith machine

The Valor BE-11 is one of the most popular Smith machines for homes because of the quality vs. price ratio. This version is an upgrade to that because it includes a counterbalance.

However, the counterbalance on the basic version is optional and sold separately.

That might be a plus for some people, but it means extra money and hassle for most.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see they made this nifty thing.

Fact sheet of the machine

Dimensions in inches
(Height x Weight x Depth)
80 x 55 x 53
Weight Capacity (lbs)500
Pitch angle (degrees)3
Counterbalancedyes
# of lockout positions14

Check the Valor Fitness BE-11BCB overview and price here.


5 – Cheap multipurpose

Cheap all round gym
Marcy Smith SM-4008
Quick specs
10 racking levels
Not counterbalanced (20lb bar)
79.25x65x84.5″ (WxLxH)
8 stations in one

If you’re on a tight budget and want a machine that can do most things, this may be ideal for you.

64/100 Overall Score
67

Quality

54

Smith machine rating

86

Versatility

70

Brand reputation

81

Compactness

95

Price

Pros

  • Reliable linear bearings on the Smith machine – yield smooth motion that won’t change much over time.
  • Good value for money – getting this one will leave you with more money for creating a versatile home gym.
  • Comes with a well-padded bench and a preacher curl station – this is a significant money-saver if you don’t already own a bench.

Cons

  • The plastic lining of the cables is not great – they tend to split open, which looks messy over time.
  • Sub-par pulley wheels – if these fail, you’ll have to go through the hassle of replacing them.
  • The cable system is complicated to assemble – the whole thing will likely take a day. And it’s a two-person job.

If you know you will never squat more than 300lbs this may be perfect for you especially if you’re on a tight budget.

With the cable machine, squat rack and Smith machine included you’ll be able to do any exercise you can think of in this cheap machine.

It’s not the same quality as the previous picks but it still does the job.

As you move up the price ranges in the Marcy Smith lineup, this machine stands out as the top value.

It’s perhaps the most affordable Smith machine that maintains a decent quality level.

The two machines that cost less don’t have a linear bearing system, which is a deal-breaker for me.

The old connectors are gone.

They’ve also corrected the one thing that used to bug me about Marcy Smith – the replacement connectors on the pulleys.

They used to have those God-awful screw-ons that took forever. It wasn’t a big deal because you always had the option to replace them with regular carabiners.

I just hate buying a thing and having to get extra stuff to use it.

It’s a detail that 90% of people wouldn’t notice (or talk about in reviews), but for me, it’s a significant upgrade.

Fact sheet

Dimensions in inches
(Height x Weight x Depth)
85 x 79 x 70
Weight Capacity (lbs)300 on the bar, 600 on the bench
Number of stations6
Number of attachments6
Counterbalancedyes
# of lockout positions9

Check the Marcy Smith SM-4008 overview and price here.


Buyer’s guide to Smith machines

Below outlined are the primary factors of choosing a good home Smith machine.

Some of them can be quantified – those are included in our ratings. Some of them, like overall build quality, can’t be put directly into numbers. The points for those are distributed across a few quality categories.

Here are the main 6 categories to consider:

  1. Quality
  2. Smith machine rating (includes angle of machine & quality)
  3. Versatility
  4. Brand reputation
  5. Compactness
  6. Price

Click here to learn more about this.


FAQs about Smith machines

Is a Smith Machine good for a home gym?

Yes, a Smith Machine is good for a home gym, especially a versatile unit like the Force USA G10.

They don’t take up too much space. They lock safely, and the better ones feature a safety catch for the sliding mechanism.

They’re also multi-functional in the sense that they can be several exercise options, they can include pull up handles and they’re a storage option for plates sometimes as well.

Is a Smith machine better than a bench?

No, a Smith machine is not better than a bench because pressing on a traditional bench like the FB-500 activates the muscles better, as shown in this comparison study.

That goes for both deltoids and stabilizer muscles.
If you do decide to bench press with a Smith machine, go for the angled machines like the Pro Clubline – they mimic the traditional bench press better.

Is squatting on a Smith machine better?

No, squatting on a Smith machine isn’t better because a good power rack like the REP PR-4000 allows for a more natural movement.

When there’s no fixed path, and you’re balancing the weight yourself, the stabilizer muscles are activated for support.

There’s also more risk for knee injury compared to free weight exercises because of lower hamstring activation. You can learn more about this in our articles are Smith machines bad or smith machines vs squat racks.

Who makes the best commercial smith machine?

The best standalone Smith machine is Body Solid’s Pro Clubline Smith machine.

The top multi-purpose machine is the Force USA G15 all-in-one trainer and it’s the one I’d recommend to most people.

What’s the price range of a Smith machine?

A solid Smith machine will cost anywhere between 1.3k to 7k.

The price rises in relation to additional accessories that may or may not go along with the Smith machine.

If you’re anywhere between an intermediate to advanced level, it’s wise to avoid the budget options and go for options such as our top pick – the Force USA G15.

If you want to read my takes on proper Smith machine use, go here. For my comparison of Smith machines and squat racks, go here.


Other products – close but no cigar

Machines from Force USA that didn’t make the cut:

Since the Smith machines on the Force USA units are the same, differentiating between the models came down to versatility beyond the Smith machine and the price.

  • G9 – at one stage it held the top spot for this guide but it’s been discontinued and the G10’s upgraded pulley cables make it a shoe in nowadays.
  • The G3 costs less but uses a basic wheel-bearing combo for the mechanism, which has a bit of drag.
  • G6 – stack and weight combo with good value.
    It’s rated a point lower than the G15 and G10 because there’s no optional ratio on the pulleys. It’s slightly less versatile and a peg bigger. These are all details, and getting the G6 instead of the G15 (and saving 30% in the process) isn’t a mistake.
  • G20 – since it came out, they’re pushing it as the flagship model. The 1-to-1 pulley paired with a high price tag pushed it below the line of top picks.
  • G12 – popular and highly rated, this one dropped the most points in two main aspects – the number of attachments vs. price and the pulley ratio.

Force USA provides some of the best all-in-one home gym machines. You can learn more about each of the best Force USA all in one trainers here.

Other multipurpose models:

  • Other Body-Solid Smith machines – out of the five-machine lineup, the GS348Q is probably the top value, but the SCB1000 (Pro Clubline) is the only one with a counterbalanced Smith bar. Both versions of the entry-level PSM144X are too flimsy.

The upgraded version of the GS348Q doesn’t stand a chance against top multipurpose models.

  • Valor Fitness BE-11 – this is one of the most popular out there. It is counterbalanced version is the top budget pick. Getting the counterbalance built-in makes more sense than buying and installing it separately.
  • Titan Fitness Smith machine – good overall, but a basic Smith machine for a not-so-basic price. It should have more than 8 lockout positions, for one.
  • Signature Series Smith machine by Life Fitness – Objectively, we’re missing a lot of information to rate this durable Smith machine. Subjectively, we prefer the “chunky” design of the Hammer Strength.
  • MiM USA Compact Smith Machine – this low unit is an interesting take on a Smith bar. That’s about it – it’s only an option if your space is minimal, and you won’t be squatting in it (it should cost less, too).
  • Eleiko Prestera Half Rack with Smith machine system (attachment) – this one is everything we’ve come to expect from Eleiko. It’s robust and gorgeous, with impeccable attention to detail. We’re missing information to rate it…perhaps in the next update.
  • York STS Counter-Balanced Smith Machine – a solid, medium-range machine.
  • Nautilus Leverage Smith machine – an incline machine that doesn’t allow for full use of the angle when bench-pressing.
  • Powerline Smith machine – cheap but too basic to compete with the Deltech. Even at this range, we’re not looking for the cheapest Smith machine, but the best among the cheap.

Smith machines: The bottom line

This page is the fruit of 100+ work hours.

The elbow grease is worth it because the result is a concise but versatile list of the best Smith machines.

The G15 is the best Smith machine overall. It’s not cheap, but it’s much more than a Smith bar.

If none of these fit the bill, click here to skip back to the table with the top picks.

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Steve Hoyles is a certified personal trainer and gym owner. Since graduating with his Sports Science degree in 2004 he's worked in the fitness industry, helping thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals. His writing has been read by millions of people in over 200 countries as he inspires to help as many people as possible live a healthy lifestyle.

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