Save money and time with our guide to the best smith machines for home gyms on the market at the moment. This quick and easy guide will focus on models suitable for your home gym and look at the price, build quality and much more.
Why use a smith machine?
Not everyone has the luxury of a spotter, especially when training at home. A proper smith machine will allow you do squats, upper body exercises, and a huge range of other exercises on your own – safely and without a spotter.
Smith machines offer a way to take on some proper workouts without any risks.
Let’s dig in and take a look at some of the top recommendations you can get in the UK in 2023.
#1 – Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Home Gym Smith Machine
If you want to save some time and jump to our number one best smith machine in our reviews at the moment, you’ll want to look at the Marcy SM1000 Smith machine, with the best price at Amazon UK. It’s easy to put together and will transform the training you do in your home gym. This machine does everything you need and even comes with a good quality weight bench too.
There’s a decent count of 9 lock-out points you can use to hold the weight when training. It uses 2″ Olympic plates (and there are no removable sleeve to fit 1″ plates). It’s a really good bit of equipment for the price.
This is a very sturdy machine that won’t wobble or lift up when you’re training.
This is a perfect way to do squats and other training, safely in your home or garage gym. So is it smooth? Because a lot of cheap smiths can catch on the way up and you end up combating the machine rather than the weight. This machine isn’t like that.
Super-glide nylon bushings mean that this smith machine has a fantastic smooth motion on your lifts.
Ideally suited for both beginners and people looking to lift heavier weights. This is a very sturdy machine that won’t wobble or lift up when you’re lifting. You can use the powerline smith for a host of training including squats, bench press, incline press, upright row, one-arm row, rack pulls, hip thrusts and calf raises.
Unlike a lot of the machines you might be researching, Powerline’s smith machine is actually pretty easy to put together. Set aside around two hours.
Combining a budget price with stability, smooth action and safety, this is easily one of the best home smith machines around today.
- Dual-safety locks the bar securely
- Feels very sturdy, with heavy weights
- 14 lock-out positions
- super-glide bushings are silky smooth
- Stop pins for added safety
- Bench could be wider
#2 Body Series 7
If you’re not too concerned about your budget and are looking to step up in price, then have a look at the Body-Solid ‘Series 7’ smith machine. This is a really sexy home smith machine with a full cage for added stability.
There are 14 lock points and the best part about them is they use the metal hooks where you can easily rock the bar back to catch onto one in a hurry. This is better than the machines with the holes in them, where you have to ‘get the hook in’.
This beast is an insanely solid smith machine thanks to the extra support on the rear and the chunky steel construction. There’s plenty of pins to add your plates on for added stability and storage. For extra safety, you get a stop bar if you want to do free weight squats.
Movement is slick here whether you’re doing squats, military presses, shoulder or chest press. This smith machine is not the cheapest but if you can stretch to it, you’ll be very happy with it.
- Solid design with chain-driven mechanism
- Fully adjustable for all sizes
- More noisy than we’d like
- No display panel to track calories and other stats
The first of the two cheap smith machines from Marcy in our overview. This is a good looking, commercial-grade ‘half’ smith machine combination with bolted on bench. TSA 5762 is ideal for home use, especially if you’re short on space. There are 7 hook-in holes you can drop your bar back into when you need to.
You’ve got a good choice of exercises here like incline bench press, reverse grip rows, shoulder and chest presses, and even get some ab work done. There’s a neat leg extension built-in and a preacher arm curl. So if you’re looking for a cheaper smith machine that does more with the space, this is worth looking into.
Fits 1″ and 2″ plates and there’s plenty of room here for new and more experienced trainers, with a hefty 270kg max weight limit.
Assembly is quick and straight forward. Most importantly, this smith machine is safe, feels comfortable and is nice and sturdy. If you’re looking to save some cash, this might be the best smith machine for your wallet.
- Has a wide range of possible exercises from one station
- Feels comfortable
- 14 gauge steel – thick and long-lasting
- Take some time to put together – up to 3 hours
- Instructions could be better – but the illustrations are good
- Can’t perform squats as the bench is fixed.
The Marcy SM 600 offers is an ideal cheap(ish) smith machine for a sub £400 price tag. You can do a massive range of exercises with this equipment including incline press, flat press, shoulder presses, pull-ups, smith leg presses and of course squats. Better than a ‘half’ smith machine, this has added support from a second bar at the rear.
The frame has a 7 degree slant that makes sure you’re lifing at the correct angle. And the lifting bars and catches are commercial grade. As with all smith machines, you want a good smooth motion on your lifts, budget price or not, and this Marcy smith has a great movement on it’s ultra glide bushings.
One downside to this machine is that it can move when you’re pressing if you haven’t got any weights on the bottom pins.
Looks and feels very good quality with a tough tubular steel build. This is a nice sturdy machine.
Comes with sleeves that let you use the thin and 2″ plates.
- Budget price
- Combines bench with smith machine
- Assembly is straight forward
- Nice clear instructions
- Extremely smooth operation
- Some users report that this machine can move when doing certain presses
Not everyone has a massive space to set up their home gym, and you really don’t need that much! So it’s great to see a smith machine that saves a bit of space. Tunturi’s compact machine manages a folding design without losing stability.
It’s no slouch either. The bench adjusts to pretty much any position you’d need, including the ‘decline’ position.
Another really important thing to get right when you pick your smith machine is that it doesn’t grind away when you’re lifting. This bit of kit gets around that by using smooth bearings to ensure you’re only fighting the weight and not the machine.
Other notables with this budget smith machine are the box stitched eva foam pads. They’re comfy and supportive without feeling cheap. There’s a leg developer on the storage post for even more exercises and the frame can take a 23 stone user. You can use standard plates with either 1″ or 2″ holes.
If you don’t want the bench machine in the way, it can be moved to allow you to do your squats.
*TIP* add some weights to the bottom bar on the machine for added stability.
- Includes weights bench
- Folds up to save space
- Sturdy and reliable
- Folding bench not as stable as a dedicated one
Help and advice getting a Smith Machine in your home gym
I’ve used a Smith Machine in my training for years now and I’m one of the people who finds them genuinely useful. Mainly because I normally train on my own. If you’re thinking of buying one for your home workouts, here’s a quick overview of everything I’ve learned about these machines and how they can help with your training.
What exactly can you do with a Smith Machine?
There’s nothing especially fancy with how a these bits of gym gear work. There’s a long horizontal bar that slides up and down a large metal frame. It does the same thing a barbell would do except there’s no danger of it wobbling off and causing problems.
You simply set the bar to a the height you want to and then put an equal Olympic plate on each side.
The main exercises I do with the Smith are:
- Bench presses
- Shoulder press (inclined and ‘straight backed’)
So any exercise you perform with Olympic weights and a barbell, you can do with the Smith machine in your home gym.
I like the way I can work closer to muscle failure or push myself on the Smith machine and then twist my wrist and have it hook onto one of the catch positions. The motion is also super-smooth on these machines and there’s not much room for error.
Touch wood, I’ve not experienced any injuries using one of these machines and you can get a bloody good workout if you’ve got a decent set of Olympic plates too.
Smith Machines and injury
Why all the hate for these machines?
Smith machine use in home gyms or commercial ones is definitely not without it’s controversy and it would be remiss not to mention some of the issues people have with them.
Browse any reddit threads on Smith machines and you’ll find many people don’t like them and prefer to use a regular squat rack and barbell combo.
Why is that? Here are some common opinions on why some weight lifters and body builders prefer not to use the Smith Machine.
- You can work the wrong muscle groups – Because of the way the Smith machine works, on something like the squat, you can technically be in the wrong position and putting the weight where it shouldn’t be. Squatting without a Smith machine makes this harder to do.
- You’re robbing yourself of the stabilisation – There’s some benefit in your body doing those tiny corrective moves and learning to keep a free weight barbell stable. The Smith press’s strength can also be it’s weakness in this regard as it takes away any need for your muscles, bones and tendons to do any stabilizing work.
What’s the alternative to Smith machines?
So the main other thing that people get for their home gyms that are closest to a Smith press would be either a squat cage, or simply some barbell stands that you put the weigtht back onto at the end of your set.
Thanks for reading and we’ll keep our guide on the best home smith machines up to date as we find more products you might like. If you’ve got any tips on using these machines, or you’ve found a great bit of gear you want to share, please let us know in the comments!
Stay safe and happy training!