11 Best Smith Machines for Your Home or Garage Gym Reviewed for 2021

Jeff Baldelli
Written by
Last update:

Are you one of the thousands of people who have been bitten by the CrossFit bug?

But how about your garage gym? Does it have a Smith Machine?

Is a Smith Machine good at building size?

Is the Smith Machine better than free weights?

What is the best Smith Machine?

Below is an in-depth look at what you need to know about the Smith Machine and how to find the best one for you.

NameCategoryProduct
Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional TrainerBest OverallInspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer
Body-Solid Powerline Smith MachineBudget PickBody-Solid Powerline Smith Machine
MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 JumboUpgrade PickMiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo

1. Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer

Our rating: 9 / 10

Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Has an upgraded construction
  • Belt is longer lasting
  • A better warranty
  • Has a better build quality

The Inspireft2 is around 60 bucks lower than the Horizontal leg as in the model is not included. This model is a bit smaller because it has a narrower width. But, it is still a full body workout machine and has everything you need to see improvement in your training.

This particular model is one of the best that inspire Fitness offers. It is easily maneuverable and has a thicker climbing rope that has both a fixed and random pattern.

This makes the workout more interesting and you will get a great overall workout.

2. FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack

Our rating: 7 / 10

FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Heavy duty steel construction.
  • Rubber mat included.
  • Easy assembly.

Cons:

  • Limited warranty.
  • Quite heavy.
  • Slight wobbling issues.

This power rack has different functions including Smith Machine, a Squat lift and a pull-up station. It has a base capacity of 550 pounds. It has adjustable safeties, weight horns and top bar, and includes a separate chin-up bar. It comes with a 2-year warranty which is relatively short.

It takes 2-4 hours to assemble as per the instructions. It requires medium to experienced level of home assembly for optimal results.

It is overall a good product and is perfect for home use.

3. MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo

Our rating: 7 / 10

MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Max weight of 300lbs
  • Quality steel construction
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Includes J-cups
  • Includes horizontal and vertical chin-up bars

Cons:

  • Heavy to move around
  • Razor sharp edges
  • Noisy adjustment system

| Black, Silver, Grey, White | Max Weight 300 lbs | Lifetime Warranty.

This Hercules Smith Machine is one of the best we have found for the home. It has a huge footprint so it is stable during virtually every exercise you can throw at it.

This is an extremely durable Smith Machine from MiM USA that has a built-in weight stack and multiple attachments for chin-ups, pull-ups, and dips. It is able to handle the heaviest weight and has a huge 300lb weight stack. It also includes removable dipping and chinning attachments.

4. ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage

Our rating: 6 / 10

ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Lots of customization options
  • It runs smooth and is easy to use
  • Price is great for the features
  • Sturdy for bench press or squats

Cons:

  • A bit high in the front
  • Stable but takes up a lot of space

Tirant is a great value and is a well-built machine that could easily have a big price tag if it didn’t have the Weider and ICON brands slapped on it.

In the package you get a fully operational mechanical power rack with plenty of versatility for commercial or residential use. It can handle up to 400 pounds, but the bench is more limited but still works.

Like all the best home gyms, the ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 comes with the option of including a bench, which you can purchase separately if you choose to.

5. Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine

Our rating: 6 / 10

Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Solid steel construction
  • Can work for chest, shoulder and triceps
  • Ability to add attachments like leg curl and leg extension.
  • Price

Cons:

  • Old-school design
  • Too short for people over 6 foot

This is a simple Smith machine that offers all the basic features. It mainly focuses on upper body.

Built solid and durable includes storage for Olympic weight plates in the base, the set includes 1 set of dumbbells and 2 spring collars. It is high enough for people over six feet tall.

It is also great for the garage and the price is very affordable. The Smith machine is good for beginners and it has rubber grips that you can easily adjust the amount of weight you want. You can switch from bench press to incline press really fast.

6. Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack

Our rating: 6 / 10

Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Dense steel frame that is rock solid
  • Excellent value for the price
  • Easy assembly
  • RDS lifting safety arms prevent the barbell from hitting you in the face during a failed attempt

Cons:

  • Doesn't fold
  • No dip bar

When looking for a squat rack, adjustable height is a critical factor to take into account.

The standard height for a squat rack is 78 inches from the floor to the top of the rack. Racks with heights other than 78 inches are possible with this machine.

The Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine squat rack is a great value for the money. It features a simple yet effective design that is easy to assemble and easy to use.

7. Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System

Our rating: 6 / 10

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • All-in one package
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Easy to use
  • Very compact
  • Great for upper body and lower body
  • Perfect for beginners and athletes looking to build up strength

Cons:

  • The seat is not padded and not comfortable
  • Not for experienced lifters

This Smith is perfect for all-around workout as it comes with all the upgrades you need. Highly recommended for people who want a full body workout while staying in their home.

This unit comes with a sliding seat for rowing, step pad, leg raise pulley, and crunches station.

All the accessories can be folded when not in use, so they take up minimal storage space. If you’re uncertain about where to start or if you haven’t exercised in quite some time the Marcy Smith Cage is a great way to get back into the swing of things.

8. Body-Solid Powerline Smith Machine

Our rating: 5 / 10

Body-Solid Powerline Smith Machine

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Extra long for taller users (6’3")
  • Features a safety stopper
  • Durable and easy to assemble
  • Very sturdy construction
  • Great value for the money
  • Can be used for the chest press, shoulder press, leg press, or back row
  • Great core builder too

This generously sized Smith Machine is a great choice in the Smith Machine area for your home gym. It is often used for squatting although it is equally good for two handed and one handed bench presses too.

It also provides a good way to do leg presses although you do need to have a separate bench for this purpose. It is also worth mentioning that the Smith Machine can provide a good upper body workout too. You can also do dips on it too and clasp your hands together behind your back for some back rows. This smith machine is great for these varied exercises because its extra long design allows taller users a good range of movement.

9. Yukon Caribou III Smith Machine

Our rating: 3 / 10

Yukon Caribou III Smith Machine

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Very smooth operation.
  • Simple design.
  • Durable construction.
  • Handle is positioned perfectly.
  • Price is great especially if on sale.
  • Easy to assemble.

Cons:

  • Feet might not be strong enough for some users.
  • Quite loud compared to other models.

This is a very good looking, simple machine that performs very well. The bar clamps shut without me having to use the handle, the bar glides very smoothly through the guide rods and the rack feels very solid. It is rather heavy, and does not fold or carry.

However, it is worth the price, especially if you can get it on sale. Compared to other models that are over 120 lbs, I can lift this one by myself and easily move it. It does not come with weight plates, so I cannot speak to stability with those.

10. Athletic Connection Smith Machine

Our rating: 2 / 10

Athletic Connection Smith Machine

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Two free weight stations at the top, providing plenty of room for free weights.
  • Adjustable bench that allows up to 300 pounds of free weight resistance.
  • 75-pound weight addition, allowing you to start with 25 pounds and work your way up to 300 pounds.
  • Bench includes a storage area where it looks comfortable to nap between sets.

Cons:

  • Limited to free weights alone.
  • Low pulleys. They will get the job done, but the height of the pulleys means that certain types of exercises will be a poor fit.
  • The rack feels somewhat low and takes up a fair amount of vertical space.
  • There is a lot of wasted space at the base of the machine.

The Athletic Connection Smith Machine features two free weight stations and the ability to add up to 75 pounds to the machine. It has a heavy steel frame that should hold up to all the weight with ease.

The storage space beneath the bench is a nice touch and could be enough to add another star to this review if it fit the place a little better. You can store some of your gear underneath, but you probably shouldn’t rest for a few hours between sets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Smith machines as good as free weights?

A Smith machine focuses on propelling a barbell in a vertical pattern. These machines are effective because they are convenient and adjustable but also because they don't have the same potential to cause injury as free weights.

With that being said, Smith machines are still not as effective as free weights when working out. Free weights engage a lot of different muscle groups and force you to stabilize your own body weight. Hand-held weights are a great way to get a lot of exercise done with a minimal amount of total cost.

What is the most effective home exercise machine?

The most effective home exercise machine is a Smith machine. I would not recommend doing squats or bench press outside of a Smith machine. The machine provides balance and prevents you from falling forward or backward. It also does not require any spotters. This is important if you workout alone because you will not have to worry about a bench press or squat accident. The Smith machine is also effective because you don't have to worry about the bar hitting you on your collarbone, because with the machine you are inside of it. This helps prevent bent bars or banged up shoulders while bench pressing.

Can you build muscle with Smith machines?

For developing power (explosiveness), yes you can use Smith machines. They are also good for putting on muscle mass. However, they do not provide the same level of muscle stimulation as the free-weight barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell movements (except for lifting maximum loads with traps, upper back and arms). There are very limited angles that can be achieved with the barbell movements. The free-weights offer greater variety of angles.

Many people get the wrong notions about Smith machines. They are not more dangerous than free-weight training. Any weight-training exercise puts the lifter at risk of an injury if the exercise is being performed incorrectly.

Is a Smith machine worth it?

Smith machines are useful for those who want to lift the bar from the ground to the lockout position while pinning a step underneath the barbell to keep it level with the rest of the cage. This is very useful because a beginner or untrained lifter would not want to do squats any other way for safety reasons. It’s also convenient because when you need to put the barbell back on the rack, it doesn’t have to be cleaned and then racked smoothly. The Smith machine allows you to just set the bar down. That’s why they are often found in commercial gyms as well as at the local big-box fitness store.

Conclusion

The Smith machine is a powerhouse of upper-body exercises, being able to target most upper links including shoulders, chest, and back. If you want an effective workout you can complete from home with the convenience and privacy of your own home then you need to look at home gym equipment.

With the Smith Machine as part of your home gym you can perform the most effective upper body exercises – including: fly's, seated rows, bench press, incline press, lat pull-down and more – all in the comfort of your own home. The Smith Machine is simple, convenient and reliable, and for many provides the perfect introduction to strength training in the gym environment.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional TrainerBest OverallInspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer
Body-Solid Powerline Smith MachineBudget PickBody-Solid Powerline Smith Machine
MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 JumboUpgrade PickMiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo