,

Best Smith Machines Review In 2021 [Review and Buying Guide]


Don't miss out!
Leave your email to get our top Crossfit content:

best smith machines

As a collegiate athlete who has trained in several small to world-class gyms, I’ve been able to test out different types of Smith Machines on the market. 

Out of the eight Smith Machines that we got to test and research, we recommend FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine because of the number of features that are installed into it. 

The steel power rack includes commercial grade J Hooks and Safety that can be adjusted up and attached to 50 different number points so you find the perfect position for bench pressing, squatting, and other exercises. 

The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of included accessories. Each component angled and designed for natural body movement reducing the chances of you getting injured.

The Force USA provides you with everything you see in a commercial gym within a reasonable sized compact smith machine.

The Top Smith Machines Reviewed

 Product's nameDimensionTotal Weight CapacityMore Info
Body-Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counter-Balanced Smith Machine for Weight Training, Home and Commercial GymBest Simple
Body-Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counter-Balanced Smith Machine for Weight Training, Home and...
84" x 50" x 86" inches1000 lbsSee latest price
MiM USA Compact Smith Machine and Squat Rack All in One Smith Workout Squat Dip Up Sit Up Home Gym Super Pro Multi Functions RackBest Multifunctional
MiM USA Compact Smith Machine and Squat Rack All in One Smith Workout Squat Dip Up Sit Up Home Gym...
70” x 73” x 70” inches600 lbsSee latest price
Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack with Olympic Plate Storage PegsBest Heavy Duty
Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack with Olympic Plate Storage Pegs
53” x 73.25” x 80.5” inches600 lbsSee latest price
ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage (Box1)Best Innovative
ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage (Box1)
84.66” x 10.43” x 30.32” inches1000 lbsSee latest price
Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage | Optional Lat Pull-down Attachment and Adjustable Leg Hold-down | Lat Pull-down Attachment OnlyBest Versatility
Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage | Optional Lat Pull-down Attachment and Adjustable Leg...
79" x 49" x 90" inches990 lbsSee latest price
Marcy Smith Cage Machine with Workout Bench and Weight Bar Home Gym EquipmentBest Affordable Workout
Marcy Smith Cage Machine with Workout Bench and Weight Bar Home Gym Equipment
65” x 79.25” x 84.5” inches600 bsSee latest price
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo (Black)Best Complete
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo (Black)
51" x 55" x 87" inches770 lbsSee latest price
Element Xenon Commercial Smith MachineBest Safety
Element Xenon Commercial Smith Machine
91” x 89” x 55”800 lbsSee latest price

Find the Best Smith Machines for You

Body-Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counter-Balanced Smith Machine for Weight Training, Home and Commercial Gym

Best Simple

#1- Body-Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counter-Balanced Smith Machine for Weight Training, Home and...

See latest price

Body Solid is an American distributor and manufacturer of home and commercial strength and conditioning equipment. Known for building home gyms, smith machines, racks, and other fitness related equipment, they have expanded their sales worldwide, selling to over 100 countries.

The Body Solid Smith Machine provides you the safety and control for all your free weight workouts. Counterbalanced to 6 pounds, it allows any person regardless of fitness level to begin work out with an appropriate amount of resistance.

The smith machine caters for movements such as chest press, bench press, military press, lunges, curles, shoulder shrugs, and squats. With the reverse pitch and vertical carriage, it ensures you’re moving the weight in correct form and eliminating the need for a spotter.

The Body Solid also has Six Olympic Weight Plate Storage posts that hold all your plates off the floor for easy access.

If you’re looking for a simple free weight smith machine, we recommend you having a look at Body Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counterbalanced Smith Machine

Pros

  • Vertical rack that provides a super smooth movement up and down of the weights
  • The safe and guided motion stops you from losing balance and eliminates the need for you to have a spotter
  • The high quality bearings and case harden rods ensures smooth performance at any weights
  • Six Weight Plate Storage Posts
  • Handles up to 1000lbs

Cons

  • Requires a lot of space
  • Didn’t include any weight plates
MiM USA Compact Smith Machine and Squat Rack All in One Smith Workout Squat Dip Up Sit Up Home Gym Super Pro Multi Functions Rack

Best Multifunctional

#2- MiM USA Compact Smith Machine and Squat Rack All in One Smith Workout Squat Dip Up Sit Up Home Gym...

See latest price

MiM USA focuses on creating products for people’s well being, happiness, and overall improvement of their life. They focus on collaborating with the industry’s best designers to create functional fitness masterpieces for both home and commercial gym. They guarantee a smooth checkout and delivery experience with all your products, at all times.

You can definitely see this with MiM USA’s Smith Machine as it comes with a bench along with the whole machine. Expanding the number of workouts that you can perform without purchasing additional equipment.

The four track pulley system allows you to easily change the lifts that you want to perform. From Squats to shrugs, rows to bench press, and leg curls to hamstring curls.

If you’re looking for multi-functional equipment to use at home, The MiM USA’s Smith Machine provides you a complete solution for all your home workout needs. 

Pros

  • Provides you with everything you need to reach your fitness goals
  • Smooth and Silent when using the pulley system

Cons

  • No plate storage
  • Does not come with any weight plates
  • Is hard to assemble
  • Expensive
Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack with Olympic Plate Storage Pegs

Best Heavy Duty

#3- Valor Fitness BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack with Olympic Plate Storage Pegs

See latest price

Valor Fitness is committed to providing Home Fitness and Cross Training enthusiasts the best products available. This is seen by their 400+ product line offers that caters to fitness professionals, gym, studios, and home users.

The Valor Fitness Smith Machine is a heavy duty, sturdy pure Smith Machine. There are no half cages, racking, or complex attachments that other competitors have. The knurled bar weighs 30 lbs and runs smoothly on the reverse-pitch guide rods. 

The safety latches are made out of solid steel with 14 different points of lockout along the frame. With an additional set of safety latches and springs that can be separated at any height, perfect for protecting you if you’re lifting a heavy weight and are unable to latch onto the lockout points.

It also includes an optional counter balance kit that can be installed which zeros out the weight of the bar. This means when you unload the weight, the bar will not drop but float.

If you’re looking for a pure Heavy Duty Smith Machine with all the safety features installed, have a look at Valor Fitness’s BE-11 Smith Machine Squat Rack

Pros

  • Guided motion rail provides additional safety
  • Provides weight space storage
  • 14 different adjustable heights
  • High max weight limit
  • Compact smith machine

Cons

  • No weights or bench included
ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage (Box1)

Best Innovative

#4- ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage (Box1)

See latest price

ICON Fitness is a manufacturer and developer of exercise equipment. Having a wide range of brands, products, and technologies to create leading edge products to help you reach your fitness goals. This is seen by their 250 patents on all their equipment.

This is seen with ICON Fitness’s Smith Cage where it provides a multi-functional pulley system and an adjustable bench to give you a full body workout.

The weight bench has a weight load capacity of 300lbs and has a 6 part foam leg holder that allows you on to the variety of workouts that you can do. 

The bench is easily removable as well, allowing you to use the fly station, pulldown station, cable crossover station, rowing station and leg curls. There are also 4 weight posts for weight plate storage so you have places where you can store your plates.

If you’re looking for an innovative smith machine that has everything a commercial gym has, we recommend you taking a look at ICON Fitness Weider PRO 8500 Smith Cage.

Pros

  • Weight bench has an additional armrest that allows you to do preacher curls
  • Cables in the pulley system has a high tensile strength, allowing you to work with heavy weights without worry it breaking
  • Weight Storage Posts
  • Sturdy, Strong, and Durable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Cable pulling exercises does not allow full range of motion
  • The foam padding on the curls and leg holder are shorter than standard in the gym, so you might have to be in awkward positions to perform the exercise
Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage | Optional Lat Pull-down Attachment and Adjustable Leg Hold-down | Lat Pull-down Attachment Only

Best Versatility

#5- Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage | Optional Lat Pull-down Attachment and Adjustable Leg...

See latest price

NNI Fitness focuses on delivering a combination of fantastic fitness products and an excellent shopping experience to ensure you’re completely satisfied. They are committed to help you look the best and inspire confidence in you.

The NNI Fitness Smith Machine is a beast and they’ve worked hard to provide you all the tools needed to make it a reality.

It is built and made out of commercial grade steel ensuring the frame is durable and sturdy. It comes with a cable pulley system that allows you to do crossover exercises. There is also a bench and free weights to perform all the functional body movement that you need to get your body into shape.

The Smith Machine has up to 12 different adjustable height levels, and has a tensile strength of 2000lbs. This means it’s able to withstand heavy loads without breaking.

With 5 way grip pull up bar, dip stations, leg press attachments, and weight posts, the NNI Fitness Commercial Smith Machine has provided you with all the tools that you need to make your dream body.

Pros

  • Made out of Commercial Grade Steel ensuring it’s durable and sturdy when using heavy weights
  • Cables have 16 different height adjustable levels
  • 2000lbs of tensile strength for the pulley cables ensuring they won’t rip or frail.
  • Many accessories and attachments that can be used for the smith machine
  • 5 Way Grip pull up bar

Cons

  • No adjustability Bench
  • Does not come with weight plates
  • Expensive
Marcy Smith Cage Machine with Workout Bench and Weight Bar Home Gym Equipment

Best Affordable

#6- Marcy Smith Cage Machine with Workout Bench and Weight Bar Home Gym Equipment

See latest price

Marcy Pro has been creating fitness products for over 35 years. Focused on providing a variety and diverse range of products, they’re able to ensure you reach your fitness goals and perfect customer service, ensuring your experience in reaching your dream body is smooth and easy.

The Marcy SM-4008 is an affordable all-in-one home gym smith machine. The machine is a cage that provides a combination of a pull up bar, smith bar, leg holder, and cable crossovers. 

The body is made with heavy duty steel with aircraft cables that have a tensile strength of 2000lbs. Additionally, the smith bar has many adjustable levels that allows you to bench press, squat, and deadlift. 

Marcy Pro also provides many different accessories such as hand grips, ankle straps, and handle bars for the cable pulling system, so you can add variety towards your workouts.

If you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one smith machine, we recommend you have a look at Marcy Smith’s Cage Machine.

Pros

  • Cables have 16 different height adjustable levels
  • 2000lbs of tensile strength for the pulley cables ensuring they won’t rip or frail.
  • Many accessories and attachments that can be used for the smith machine
  • Removable and adjustable weight bench

Cons

  • Assembling can take a long time
  • Smaller than other competitors
  • Can be a bit wobbly when performing pull up exercises
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo (Black)

Most Complete

#7- FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo (Black)

See latest price

Force USA focuses on home and light commercial fitness product use, creating the best value strength equipment so you can reach your fitness goals. All of the products are made in the USA, meeting strict quality requirements, to ensure all your products are durable and sturdy.

The Force USA Monster Smith Machine is made for advanced fitness individuals due to the number of features that is installed into it. 

The steel power rack includes commercial grade J Hooks and Safety that can be adjusted up and attached to 50 different number points so you find the perfect position for bench pressing, squatting, and other exercises. 

The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included. Each component angled and designed for natural body movement reducing the chances of you getting injured.

These additional components include a Chin Up Station, Landmine Station, Band Pegs, Attachment Storage, Barbel Storage, and Safety Spotter Arms.

They also allow other attachments that can be purchased such as leg press, stability bar, lat pull down seat, cambered bar, and v-type handles.

The Force USA provides you with everything you see in a commercial gym within a reasonable sized compact smith machine.

Pros

  • The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included.
  • 2000lbs of tensile strength for the pulley cables ensuring they won’t rip or frail.
  • Many accessories and attachments that can be used for the smith machine
  • Arm Spotter Attachment for increased safety

Cons

  • Assembly can take a long time
Element Xenon Commercial Smith Machine

Best Safety

#8- Element Xenon Commercial Smith Machine

See latest price

Element Fitness focuses on creating equipment for customer’s needs. They value feedback and constantly create products from recommendations and insights from their community. Focusing on creating functional equipment that can be adjustable to future tasks while being durable with minimal maintenance costs.

The Element Xenon Commercial Smith Machine is a result of that, as it is a one dimensional exercise machine that only focuses on barbell exercises for a complete body workout. They have removed all the fluff and focused on what smith machines do best, safety and smoothness.

The guided rod allows you to move the barbell very easily while staying balanced, making it perfect for beginner weight lifters. The design makes it very easy for individuals to perform exercises with good form.

With additional 6 weight plate storage posts and chrome plated barbell, the Element Xenon Commercial Smith Machine gives you the safety you need to perform heavy lifts without the worry of getting injured.

Pros

  • Weighing at 355lbs it is lightweight, making it portable
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame if you’re using it at home
  • Easy to assemble
  • 6 weight plate storage post

Cons

  • No weight plates or weight benches included

Smith Machine Buying Guide

What Is A Smith Machine

What Is A Smith Machine

A smith machine is a weight machine that consists of a barbel that is fixed within steel rails, limiting the user’s movements to only vertical or near-vertical movement. Some smith machines have counterbalance ensuring the frame doesn’t move.

Most commercial gyms have at least one smith machine as it replaces a spotter. When you begin to lift heavier weights, the more likely that your body may not be able to handle that certain weight. That’s when you need a spotter.

When you have pegs every couple of inches that can lock the bar in place, it can replace the need for a spotter. This is perfect if you’re bench pressing or squatting where you get stuck halfway. You can lock the bar and get out of the way safely.

The Benefits Of Using Smith Machine

The Benefits Of Using Smith Machine

Reduce The Chances Of Getting Injured

When you lift heavy weights, the more likely you’ll be overexerting yourself to get it up. This can be dangerous when you’re stuck in that position. 

Having a smith machine allows you to drop the weight without worry as there are pegs that can help you lock the bar out when you drop it. 

Be Able To Life More

When you remove the belief that you could be injured, you’re able to trust yourself to lift more. Because the smith machine has safety mechanisms at different heights, you can lift as heavy as possible without ever thinking of getting injured.

Can Focus More On Form

As the barbell can only move in a vertical direction, you don’t have to worry about being unbalanced. The additional stability allows you to focus on moving with the correct technique when you perform each lift. This increases your strength faster and reduces the chances of getting injured even further.

Ballistics and Isolation Training

If you’re an athlete that wants to either cultivate more fast twitch muscles or isolate a specific muscle to make it grow bigger, Smith Machines can help you do that without worries. They can help you get into positions that may be in hard using free weights such as:

  • Angle Specific Isometrics

Pulling or pressing against an immovable load in as many angles as the machine allows

  • Partial Reps

Working within a certain range of motion

  • Reverse Movements

Begin the exercises at the bottom of the rep without using momentum or negative energy that you generate during the eccentric movement of the exercise

  • Drop and Catch

When you need to train fast twitch muscles, being able to move things fast and hold it in that position is crucial. Dropping the barbel and quickly catching it can be done safely when using a smith machine.

What To Look For When Purchasing A Smith Machine

What To Look For When Purchasing A Smith Machine
What To Look For When Purchasing A Smith Machine

Materials

The standard of all smith machines are made out of high-quality steel frames. The frame determines the strength of the smith machine as the more thicker the bars, the less likely to wobble. This can be crucial when you’re lifting heavier weights as a tiny bit of wobble can ruin your lift.

Also take notice of the tensile strength which is usually shown in PSI. The higher it is, the less likely it’s going to break.

Linear Bearings

Linear bearings is a series of ball bearings that connect the barbell to the supporting bar. They allow the bar to slide freely through the vertical supports. If the linear bearings are not smooth, you will get stuck in mid movements, making it difficult to lift up the weight.

Not all smith machines have linear bearings, some may use a bushing system. Smith bars may not also slide smoothly if it isn’t properly lubricated.

Weight capacity

Weight capacity refers to the amount of load which the smith machine can handle efficiently. Not all smith machines have the same maximum weight capacity or the amount of weight you can put onto the bar.

Most smith machines have a weight capacity limit between 300 to 1000lbs.

Warranty

Warranties are crucial because each component connects to each other. If one begins to stop working, it will affect the whole smith machine. Warranties are usually divided into movement and frame parts.

Stations

If you’re looking to do more than squats, bench, and deadlift for your lifting regime, look for smith machines that have more workout stations. Some are lat pulldowns, cable rows, and hamstring curls attached onto the smith machine as well.

Attachments

If your smith machine has additional work stations, the company may also sell additional accessories so you can have a fully functional gym system. Usually the more attachments you purchase, the more expensive the overall smith machine will be. You can also usually purchase the smith machines without any attachments usually saving hundreds of dollars.

Popular attaches include:

  • Pec deck
  • Dip station
  • Adjustable bench
  • Pull up bar
  • Leg developer
  • Lat pulldown
  • Preacher curl

Plates

The types of plates is a critical aspect that you should look for when you compare smith machines. More expensive smith machines use olympic plates as that is what competitive lifters use. While affordable machines use standard plates.

The difference is the size of the middle hole. The olympic plate has a 2” diameter hole while the standard weighing plate has a 1” hole.

Counter Balanced

Counterbalance is an integrated pulley system that reduces the overall weight of the bar. This is perfect if you’re looking for a very low resistance when performing an exercise.

However, most home smith machines are not made counterbalanced. Some models however will offer this as an additional feature.

Space

Most smith machines will be very large and weight over 800 lbs. That’s why you must make sure you have enough space before purchasing and building the machine. 

You will also need to account that you will be assembling the machine, so add a few more feet into your distance measurements.

FAQs for Smith Machines

Can You Build Muscle On A Smith Machine?

Smith machines are very similar to using free weights. You can perform the same exercises without worry about injury since the frame has safety features that protect you. 
Exercises you can perform include squats, deadlifts, bench press, leg press, lunges, and calf lifts.

Is It Bad To Squat On A Smith Machine?

The Smith Machine is a great tool for squatting as it helps you build strength without worry of injury if you fail. 
However, they limit you on one vertical movement which provides a different feedback when you use free weights to squat.
Smith Machines helps fix bad form and strengthens stabilizing muscles.

Is a Smith Machine Good For Bench Press?

Similar to Squatting, Bench Press is a great for the Smith Machine. With the additional safety features, you can lift heavier weights which you wouldn’t normally be able to do using free weights

What is better? Straight or Angled Smith Machine?

There is a debate on whether straight or angled smith machines is a more natural movement when you’re going straight up or down. Both will put more stress in your muscles and help them grow.
However, we recommend the straight path is more natural. But you should try both styles to find out what feels more natural to you, before you decide which type of smith machine works for you.

Can A Smith Machine Be Used To Lose Weight?

Yes, it depends on the exercises, intensity, and workout when you’re using a smith machine. Blending strength and resistance training can help you lose fat while building lean muscle. Also make sure to keep your nutrition in check, as weight loss includes a deficit in calories in your diet.

Why Do People Use A Smith Machine?

Many personal trainers do not recommend smith machines since it follows a fixed path and neglects using important stabilizer muscles. 
However, since the barbell is on a fixed path, it can be set up to stop automatically at a certain point. This is perfect for individuals who lift heavy weights without worrying about using a spotter.
They are also a great tool if your muscles are fatigued, and can be used to continue lifting and pounding out reps.

What Is Better: Smith Machine or Free Weights?

Smith Machines include a self-balancing system that is equipped with guide rods. This results in you only having to worry about lifting the weights without worry about balancing, something that you normally need to worry about when you’re doing free weights.
As you become a more advanced lifter, you will lift heavier weights, often needing a spotter. The Smith Machine can be hooked onto a barbell on the frame so it won’t be dropped. If you do get stuck, you can twist the bar and it will hook onto the frame.
This allows you to lift heavier weights with good posture and form.
Free weights have less safety mechanisms and you will have to learn how to drop the weight onto the floor. This increases the likelihood of you getting injured. However, since your body is holding and stabilizing the weight, more muscle fibers will be recruited when you use free weights.

How To Use A Smith Machine?

Most of the exercises will require you to load the weight onto the machine. Depending on the exercise, you will be standing leaning with the vertical bar or sitting so you get the feel of a vertical bar path. You can also do isolation exercises that limit to certain muscle groups or stabilizer muscles.

After you’ve loaded the weights, twist the bar back and begin moving the weight. If you want to lock the weight back on to the smith machine, twist the barbell the opposite way.

What Exercises Can You Do On The Smith Machine?

Smith Machine Squats

  1. To perform a smith machine squat, being racking the bar at the correct height. Normally it’s a bit lower than your traps and upper back area.
  2. Rack the weights on to the bar
  3. Center the bar and make sure it’s sitting on your traps or shoulder, tucked under the bar
  4. Unrack the bar by twisting the bar behind you.
  5. Unlike free weights, you will not have to step back. Make sure to unlock your knees and hips at the same rate as you go down to your full range of motion
  6. Rise back up after you’re at the lowest position.
  7. You should not feel like you’re moving forward or background when you’re performing your squat.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust

The hip thrusts are usually performed with free weights. However, when you use a smith machine, it allows you to get a deeper hip flexion, increasing the size and strength of your glutes.

  1. Place a bench in front of the Smith Machine
  2. Position your hips beneath the bar while you back is lying on the bench
  3. Grip the bar and then push the bar up using your glutes. Make sure your heels are planted firmly on the ground
  4. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings when you reach the top of your reps. Hold a few seconds before you begin descending.

Smith Machine Deadlift

  1. To perform a smith machine deadlift, begin the bar around your hip height.
  2. Load the bar with you desired weight
  3. Stand as close as you can to the bar and begin racking the bar.
  4. Begin lowering the barbell by moving your hips backwards as your knees stay vertical.
  5. Then lift it back up by doing the opposite while keeping your shins vertical.

Conclusion

When choosing a Smith Machine, there are many factors to consider. The room size and height, your fitness level, and overall space.

However, out of the eight Smith Machines that we got to test and research, we recommend FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine because of the number of features that are installed into it. 

The steel power rack includes commercial grade J Hooks and Safety that can be adjusted up and attached to 50 different number points so you find the perfect position for bench pressing, squatting, and other exercises. 

The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included. Each component angled and designed for natural body movement reducing the chances of you getting injured.

The Force USA provides you with everything you see in a commercial gym within a reasonable sized compact smith machine.

If you’re looking for a standard smith machine that includes only a barbell, we recommend Body-Solid SCB1000 Pro Clubline Counterbalanced Smith Machine

The Body Solid Smith Machine provides you the safety and control for all your free weight workouts. Counterbalanced to 6 pounds, it allows any person regardless of fitness level to begin work out with an appropriate amount of resistance.

The smith machine caters for movements such as chest press, bench press, military press, lunges, curles, shoulder shrugs, and squats. With the reverse pitch and vertical carriage, it ensures you’re moving the weight in correct form and eliminating the need for a spotter.

Avatar
About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!