Best Smith Machines: Beginner-Friendly Lifting

woman using a smith machine


Smith machines are often thought of as the beginner's first step on the path to the squat rack and barbell. In reality, the best Smith machines are a valuable fitness tool to maintain or reach a new goal no matter how much experience you have in the gym. In other words, a Smith machine is an excellent standalone piece of equipment that has its own benefits.

Whether you're looking for a Smith machine for your home gym or a Smith machine for your studio, you'll find exactly what you need in the list below.

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The Best Smith Machines - Our Top Picks

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Best Smith Machine Overall - Force USA G10 Pro

Force USA G10 Pro

SPECS

Features:

  • 8-in-1 Strength Training System (Base Unit)
  • Interchangeable 2:1 and 4:1 Cable Ratios
  • 18 Functional Attachments Included

Dimensions:

  • Exterior: 80" (W) x 73" (D) x 87" (H)
  • Interior: 40" (W) x 50" (D) x 8" (H)

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When we were looking for our pick for the best Smith machine overall, we knew we wanted to find one that was innovative, reliable, and not prohibitively expensive. We got way more than we bargained for with the Force USA G10 Pro.

This all-in-one trainer is a Smith machine home gym system that includes eight strength-training machines, 18 attachments, and over 375 exercise possibilities. Best of all, it's commercial grade! That's right; you're getting a home gym Smith machine that is as tough, durable, and reliable as a commercial model. Hands down, the best thing about the G10 is that you get a complete commercial gym that only takes up the space of a standard power rack. It also has a revolutionary interchangeable cable ratio system that easily and quickly transforms from 2:1 to 4:1. That means multiple people can change the resistance levels between sets instead of having to wait for one person to finish using the weight stack.

Finally, if all this wasn't enough, you have several upgrade options that can add additional workout stations, attachments, a TV mount, and storage shelves. This really is a Smith machine that will last you the rest of your fitness journey.

What We Like

  • Can customize with various elements including a bench, weights, flooring, etc.
  • You can pay for professionals to assemble your Smith machine through their website
  • They provide a lifetime structural warranty.

What We Don't Like

  • Those extra costs can add up fast, especially if you want to add in assembly
  • You really have to do your measurements with this one, especially if you plan on upgrading to include the additional stations

BUY: Force USA G10 Pro

Best Budget Smith Machine - IRON COMPANY Body Solid Smith Machine Powerline

IRON COMPANY Body Solid Smith Machine Powerline

SPECS

Features:

  • Full length, heavy-duty 12-gauge square pillars
  • 14 crossmember lock-out points providing a solid foundation
  • Heavy-duty adjustable safeties

Dimensions:

  • 80"(H) x 45"(L) x 76"(W)

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Are you building your own Smith machine home gym but your budget is limited? Wondering if there's a Smith machine out there that provides awesome features and high quality at a price point that isn't going to cause you to overdraw your bank account?

Introducing IRON COMPANY Body Solid Smith Machine Powerline. The website claims that this is an incredibly powerful Smith machine that often has imitators, but duplicates have never been seen. In regard to it being the best budget Smith machine, we tend to agree.

Obviously, it can't compete with a fully decked-out Smith machine that has a price point over several thousand dollars, but within its category of the best budget smith machine, the IRON COMPANY Body Solid Smith Machine Powerline has exactly what you're looking for: quality, reliability, and the essentials for a great workout.

This Smith machine is perfect for those looking to add free-weight power and resistance to their workout routine while still maintaining a high level of control and safety. The Powerline is supported by four 2-inch by 2-inch 12-gauge steel pillars, which guide the patented Super-Glide carriage during use. It ensures smooth movement and performance thanks to its extra-long twin carriages and Super-Glide nylon bushings. This is something that can literally make or break your Smith machine experience. Imagine lowering the barbell and then getting stuck as you try to return to the starting position. Not only is this annoying but it's also dangerous. This is why it's crucial to find a Smith machine that allows for a smooth gliding experience with the barbell.

Despite being a budget-friendly Smith machine, you're still able to go heavy during your workouts. It comes with jumbo pop pins that are easily adjusted, ensuring you're able to stop where you need to with greater straight-line stability. The Powerline also comes with optional Olympic adapter sleeves, allowing you to comfortably use 2-inch Olympic-sized weight plates.

What We Like

  • You can opt for a fully-loaded machine that comes with a bench, lat and pec attachment, weight stack, and Olympic sleeve adaptor
  • Solid build and structure allow you to go as heavy as might normally when in the gym
  • Space for weight plates that also ensure extra security to weigh the machine down more

What We Don't Like

  • Some taller people have left reviews saying that they weren't able to properly use it
  • Other reviews make mention of the chrome peeling after excessive use

BUY: IRON COMPANY Body Solid Smith Machine Powerline

Best Smith Machine for Small Spaces - Force USA G3 All-in-One Trainer

Force USA G3 All-in-One Trainer

SPECS

Features:

  • 5-in-1 Strength Training System
  • 2:1 Cable Pulley Ratio
  • 18 Attachments Included
  • Recommended for Home Use

Dimensions:

  • 80" (W) x 55" (D) x 87" (H) exterior
  • 43" (W) x 34" (D) x 85" (H) interior

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As much as you'd love to dedicate an entire room to be your fitness space, current circumstances might not be so agreeable. If you're looking for a Smith machine that will fit in a small space, the Force USA G3 All-in-One Trainer is what you need. If you checked out our first pick for the best overall Smith machine, the brand will look familiar. You'll find the same elite quality with the G3 as the G10, but you don't have to worry about sacrificing an entire room to the Smith machine.

This Smith machine home gym takes all of the best features of a power rack, smith machine, and cable pulley system and throws it all into one compact package. Whether you want to maintain your results or go after a new fitness level, the G3 gives you the opportunity to do the same exercises at home that you were doing in a commercial gym. The difference is you'll have more flexibility to change your routine as your fitness goals evolve without the hassle of waiting for a machine.

Given that it's more compact, the G3 allows you to effortlessly switch between different compound movements—squats, bench presses, deadlifts, etc.—with minimal effort. And given the high weight limit, we believe that everyone from the weekend warrior to the lifelong powerlifter is going to be impressed by how much this Smith machine home gym can deliver.

One thing to keep in mind is that G3 has a series of upgrades just like the G10. Let's say that you are currently living in a smaller space, but you can see that in the future you'll be moving to a home with proper space for it. In that case, you can buy the best Smith machine for small spaces and then invest in upgrades when you're ready.

What We Like

  • Combines the most popular machines in the gym
  • Sleek, space-saving design
  • Comes with storage for barbells, weight plates, and smaller cable attachments

What We Don't Like

  • Upgrade costs add up very quickly
  • Reviews mention that the assembly company can be hit or miss

BUY: Force USA G3 All-in-One Trainer

Best Smith Machine on Amazon - Commercial Home Gym - Smith Machine

Commercial Home Gym - Smith Machine

SPECS

Features:

  • 12 adjustable heights
  • High tension 2,000 lbs. cross cables with 16 adjustable heights
  • 1:1 pull ratio

Dimensions:

  • 79"(W) x 49"(D) x 90"(H)
  • 43"(W) x 34"(D) x 89"(H) inside cage areas

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To say Amazon has a lot of options for Smith machines would be an understatement (and we won't get into the sheer volume of options they have for fitness products in general). If you type in "Smith machine" into the search bar—as of writing this—you'll get 64 pages of results. Naturally, with that many options, it's going to be hard to sift through everything to find the real gems. Luckily, we managed to do it for you and what we found was the Commercial Home Gym - Smith Machine.

Don't let the name fool you as this isn't just a Smith machine—it's also a cable pulley station, multi-grip pull-up bar, and leg extension and curl station. It even has six spots on the machine to safely store your weights so you don't have to worry about purchasing a separate weight plate holder.

One of the features that really got our attention was the counterbalancing design of the machine. You can go heavy with confidence that the machine isn't going to shake or wobble, especially during squats and presses. Featuring a barbell holder on the front of the machine, you can easily take your rows, curls, and shoulders presses outside the machine and then step into the power cage design to safely perform bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and so much more. With the double safety spotter bars in place, you can confidently try to set new PRs by yourself.

Despite providing you with all of the stations you'll need to see some serious results, the Commercial Home Gym - Smith Machine is still modest and reasonable in size. Overall, we were really surprised to find a Smith machine home gym on Amazon that has commercial grade quality, good reviews, and a decent price point. Just be sure to be ready to build it yourself or pay a bit extra and hire a professional to do it for you.

What We Like

  • You can customize the accent color
  • Properly counterbalanced, so you don't have to worry about overloading the bar
  • The weight limits are plenty for most lifters

What We Don't Like

  • Make sure you're choosing the correct option—deluxe version comes with a bigger price point
  • Some reviewers say that it's a difficult machine to build

BUY: Commercial Home Gym - Smith Machine

Best Smith Machine with Power Rack - IRON COMPANY Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package

IRON COMPANY Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package

SPECS

Features:

  • Linear ball bearing Smith system
  • 20 crossmember lock-out points
  • Free-weight gunrack system with 14 lift-off and racking positions
  • Large diameter Smith Bar that is 25 lbs.

Dimensions:

  • 84" x 78"L x 70"W (84" at bar)

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Some of you might be wondering what's the difference between a Smith machine and a power rack? After all, isn't a Smith machine the same thing as a power rack since both pieces of equipment ensure you don't drop the weight on yourself?

You wouldn't be wrong—both Smith machines and power racks are designed so that you can exercise safely and there is a catching system in place should you drop the weight. The big difference is that the Smith machine has the barbell on a guided system where the power rack is free form.

What if you could combine the best of both of these features, having an option that allows you to be guided and go on your own? Introducing the IRON COMPANY Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package.

There's one thing about the Body Solid Series 7 that you might not have seen on other Smith machines: the angle of the bar isn't straight up and down. If you look at the pictures, you'll see that it's angled. Why is that? The Series 7 Smith Gym uses a commercial-grade mainframe and is engineered with a unique 7 reversed pitch. Depending on the exercise, this angle can help to closely mimic the natural movement and bar path that you'd normally utilize on a bench or squat rack. And this can be a huge help to people who are new to exercise and just learning the proper form of compound lifts. Not to say the straight-up-and-down bars are bad, but many people prefer the angled bars because they say it feels better and more natural when lifting.

Another notable feature of this Smith machine is the pulley system in the back of the rack. Not only does this help to offset weight and counterbalance the machine, but it also provides you with plenty of exercise options to expand your workouts. For example, look toward the front of the machine and you'll find a standard lat pull-down waiting for you. It also allows you to perform leg curls and extensions. Finally, whether you're interested in building up to pushing some serious plate numbers or you've been doing it for years, the Series 7 Smith Gym is ready to take on your toughest workouts.

You can choose whether you need the assistance of the angled bar, or you just want to lift the barbell right from the rack. Either way, given its design, quality, and durability, this is going to be a Smith machine that you're going to love to use for a long time.

What We Like

  • The 7 reversed pitch angle is great if you're used to lifting without assistance
  • The safeties on this machine are adjustable and very sturdy
  • The 6 Olympic weight plate storage posts keep plates off the ground for easy access

What We Don't Like

  • If you're used to straight-bar machines, there might be a learning curve when you switch to an angled version
  • The leg attachment is standard and not Olympic, but it is possible to fit it with an Olympic sleeve

BUY: IRON COMPANY Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package

Best Premium Smith Machine - Marcy Pro Smith Machine Home Gym System

Marcy Pro Smith Machine Home Gym System

SPECS

Features:

  • Includes a power tower, utility bench, cable station, dip station, and squat rack
  • It has a 2000-lb. tensile strength pulley system
  • Online video instructions make it easy to build the smith machine

Dimensions:

  • 86"(L) x 73"(W) x 85"(H)

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All of the Smith machines on this list are great, so what exactly qualifies as a "premium" Smith machine? Outside of elite quality, reliability, and positive user reviews, it's about the extra attention to detail and features. We want to see great bells and whistles that make sense for a Smith machine. We also don't want to have to sell our car to afford it or convert the entire basement into a workout den. There were a lot of options, but we feel confident that you'll love the Marcy Pro Smith Machine Home Gym System.

To say this is just a Smith machine home gym wouldn't really cut it. The Marcy Pro Smith Machine includes several exercise stations and options, making this a total-body, all-in-one trainer. This gym equipment package is perfect for all your strength-training needs. It includes a squat rack, pull-up bar, dip station, pulley system, utility bench, and weight holder. This one machine ensures you have dozens of exercises to choose from when creating your workout programs.

While some of the other Smith machines have a pull-up bar, the bells-and-whistles feature on this one is the dip station. While you can purchase the bench with other Smith machines, an adjustable bench is included with this one. More importantly, you're not getting some rock-hard throwaway bench. This bench has an adjustable seat and a high-density foam back pad with a 2-inch thickness. Not only will you stay stable during your workouts, but your back will stay comfortable. The cable pulley system is something to write home about, as well. It features a robust tubular-steel dual overhead pulley system that is comparable to the cable machines that you might find in many commercial gyms.

The cherry on top is how it helps with post-workout cleanup. Not only does it serve as your new workout equipment, but it also declutters your home by providing ample space to store weight plates. It's difficult to keep track of all the different weight plates without a system or purchasing an additional weight plate stand, and this product helps with that.

What We Like

  • Multiple workout stations ensure you'll be able to convert your gym workout into a home gym workout
  • Includes the bench as well as weight plate storage
  • This Smith machine has been tested and approved by plenty of customers

What We Don't Like

  • The weight limit of 300 lbs. on the bar is not going to work for everyone
  • While it does come with instructions on how to build it, many reviewers made it a point to say that you should NOT completely tighten the bolts until the cable system is assembled. Otherwise, you'll be doing a lot of backtracking.

BUY: Marcy Pro Smith Machine Home Gym System

Most Durable Smith Machine - Titan Fitness Smith Machine

Titan Fitness Smith Machine

SPECS

Features:

  • Knurled barbell with 12.5" of loadable Olympic-sized weight sleeves
  • 6 Olympic-sized weight storage posts
  • 4 band pegs for added resistance
  • 2 J-hooks plates with 8 drop positions to lock into
  • 2 adjustable safety catches to prevent injuries in the case of failed reps
  • Rubber pads on the feet to protect flooring
  • Counter-balance function

Dimensions:

  • 86" (H) x 67" (W) 54" (D)

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Given the amount of time, effort, and money that goes into setting up a Smith machine home gym, you want to make sure the thing is going to last. Have you ever worked out at an old-school bodybuilding gym? Thanks to a bit of regular maintenance, these places are still using equipment from literally decades ago. While that scheduled maintenance is important, it all starts with the Smith machine itself. This type of equipment is a long-term investment. You should be able to pass it down to your kids—that's the kind of investment I'm talking about. That means you need a Smith machine that is seriously durable. Our pick for the most durable Smith machine is the Titan Fitness Smith Machine.

If you've been in a commercial gym or CrossFit box over the last few years, there's a good chance that you've walked past or even used Titan brand equipment. Titan has quickly made a name for itself as one of the most trustworthy brands in the industry, mainly due to its durability, reliability, and customer satisfaction. This Smith machine is made from steel and it has a powder-coated black finish, which protects it from dings, bumps, and everyday wear-and-tear.

But outside of being a seriously tough piece of equipment, the Titan Fitness Smith Machine has a strong and solid build that captures the fundamentals of what a Smith machine is meant to do. It features an eight-position safety catch that provides you with ample support for your workout. The safety catches act as spotters, assisting you and helping to prevent potential injuries when muscle fatigue inevitably hits. The Titan Fitness Smith Machine isn't just built to catch the barbell during failed reps, it's there to catch your heaviest failed reps. With a 600-pound weight limit, you can lift confidently knowing that you're able to safely go after those new PRs.

The Olympic barbell has 12.5 inches of loadable space on its sleeves, but one of the cool things about this Smith machine is that it also has band pegs on either side for added resistance. That means you can safely attach resistance bands to the bottom of the machine and around the barbell, ensuring you get plenty of variable resistance. Finally, other than durability and reliability, we love convenience. The Titan Fitness Smith Machine has six 8-inch Olympic weight storage posts. Not only does this help to counterbalance the machine, but it also makes cleaning up a breeze.

What We Like

  • Super durable and reliable
  • Very heavy weight limit that will fit the needs of most people
  • Strong rubber padding is included to protect your floors

What We Don't Like

  • Only has a one-year warranty
  • One review mentioned having trouble with customer service

BUY: Titan Fitness Smith Machine

How to Choose the Best Smith Machine

When you're looking for the best Smith machine home gym for your space, there are a few things to consider.

Size

The most obvious thing to consider is the size of the machine. If you've looked at any of the Smith machines above, then you already know that these things can take up some serious space. And it goes without saying that you'll want to make sure that it will fit in your space and that you'll be able to use it comfortably. So, above all, measure your space! You don't want to find out halfway into building it that it's not going to fit.

One more important note about measurements: Make sure to include any upgrades that you buy. Do NOT just write down the measurements of the base unit. If you've purchased extra compartments for storage, weight racks, or attachments, you need to take these into consideration too because the inches can quickly add up.

Features

Next, ask yourself what type of features you need for your workouts. Are you OK with the essentials or do you need something more specific like a cable pulley or dip station? For example, some Smith machines come with additional attachments or accessories, like weight plates or a pulley system. These can be great if you want to use the machine for more than just squats and bench presses.

I recommend looking at your current workout and your fitness goals for the next 12 months, then cross referencing these with what the Smith machine you're looking at can actually provide. If you find that you don't have the space for upgrades or additions right now, but you'll be moving into a bigger space within the next year, then look for a Smith machine that allows you to buy and install the upgrades at any time.

Budget

Finally, consider your budget. Smith machines can range in price from several hundred dollars to several thousand. It's important to find one that fits your living space and fitness needs, but also your budget. You might find the perfect machine but if it's going to cost more than your car, maybe consider a more cost-effective model that you can upgrade along the way.

With that said, keep in mind that fitness equipment like Smith machines should be looked at like a long-term investment. You might want to stretch your budget a bit and pay extra for a trusted brand and a machine with a solid reputation. That way, your Smith machine will last for decades—with regular maintenance—instead of a few years.

FAQs About Smith Machines


How much does the bar weigh on a Smith machine?

Depending on the model and brand you buy, the bar on a Smith machine can weigh as little as 5 pounds and as much as 45 pounds. We recommend checking the manufacturer's website before making a purchase.

Is a Smith machine better than a barbell?

Neither one is better than the other. Each has its benefits and can help you achieve your fitness goals. However, you might prefer one over the other based on your fitness level, goals, medical history, and equipment preferences.

For example, beginners and those going through rehab exercises might prefer Smith machines because they feel that it's easier to control the bar. Lifters with some experience and a specific goal of muscle growth, strength building, and improving functionality might prefer barbells because they feel that it offers a more natural range of motion.

Is using a Smith machine good for squats?

Yes, using a Smith machine can be good for squats, especially if you're new to fitness and haven't established strong functional movement patterns. The Smith machine can help you to control the bar path and focus on your form as you build those important mind-muscle connections.

About the Author

David J. Sautter, NASM CPT, FNS, PES; ACE SES

David has over a decade of experience as a NASM-certified personal trainer, fitness and nutrition specialist, and sports conditioning specialist. David has written blog posts, e-books, training guides, and online courses that cover a range of health and fitness topics.

See More from David

David has over a decade of experience as a NASM-certified personal trainer, fitness and nutrition specialist, and sports conditioning specialist. David has written blog posts, e-books, training guides, and online courses that cover a range of health and fitness topics.

See More from David

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