The Best Weight Benches for Home Gyms 2018
Weight Bench Buying Guide & FAQ
What is a weight bench/workout bench?
A weight bench is a kind of fitness equipment used in gyms and health clubs. It is used almost exclusively for strength training. As you probably know already, strength training is synonymous with weight training, or in other words, lifting of free weights.
Do I need a weight bench for my home gym?
Do you use a lot of dumbbells and heavier barbells during your home workout routines? If you do or plan to do so in future, you definitely need to have a weight bench as one of the basic pieces of equipment in your home gym. They offer several advantages that are too good to ignore.
- They increase the range of different workout routines and exercises that you can perform.
- They offer a much safer alternative to lifting weights while lying on the floor.
- Workout benches offer superior support to your core and lumbar regions.
- With these benches, you can focus on developing specific muscle groups.
- They significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Our Top Weight Benches for Home Gyms
5.1 Adjustable Bench
Best Premium Weight Bench
- 6 possible positions
- 51 inches long, 10 inches high
- Weighs about 33.6 kilograms
- Includes wheels so it's easy to move around
#1 Rated in Premium Weight Benches
Best Flat Weight Bench
- Can handle up to 300 pounds
- About 43 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 17 inches high
- Weighs about 21.8 pounds
- Steel frame
#1 Rated in Flat Weight Benches
UB300 Adjustable Bench
Best 5-Position Weight Bench
- About 51 inches long, 25 inches high, and 17 inches wide
- Can handle 430 pounds
- Foam rollers are 5 inches thick
- Steel frame
#1 Rated in 5-Position Weight Benches
Flat / Incline / Decline Bench
Best 4-Position Weight Bench
- Can handle up to 300 pounds
- Weighs about 26 pounds
- About 50 inches long, 41 inches high, and 25 inches wide
- Includes dumbbell hooks
#1 Rated in 4-Position Weight Benches
Pro 255 L Slant Board/Ab Bench
Best Budget Weight Bench
- About 33 inches long, 17 inches tall, and 18 inches long
- Seats made of vinyl
- Weighs about 12 kg
- Can handle up to 430 pounds
#1 Rated in Best Budget Weight Bench
Different Types of Weight Bench for Your Home Gym
What are the different types of benches? How are they different from each other?
When most people think about a workout bench, the first image that usually comes to their mind is that of an Olympic bench. These are a classic design which is most commonly found in your local gym or fitness club. But with the constant evolution of fitness equipment technology in the last century, other newer designs have also become quite popular.
Let's take a look at them all and try to explain how they differ from each other:
1. Olympic bench
This is a combination of a simple weight bench and a racking system or squat rack stand. They are a firm favorite among fitness professionals and athletes. Convenience is the main advantage with these benches. They combine the effects of both a simple bench and squat rack into a single solid frame. The only downside is that they usually have a fixed angle, which reduces the range of exercises that you can perform.
Check out the Gold's Gym XRS20 Olympic Bench, for example:
2. Flat Bench
If you remove a rack from a standard Olympic bench, you will get a flat bench. They are the most uncomplicated design of a weight bench. There are few (if any) moving parts, and they have a fixed height and superior stability. They lack the versatility offered by other advanced bench designs though. But you can still use them for a whole range of basic weight training exercises. You can do some heavy lifting with these benches.
3. Adjustable Weight Benches
These benches allow you to tweak the angle at which they and in turn, your torso rests. You can adjust these benches to have a decline, flat, or incline angle. Some benches use a steps mechanism for this. While others rely on something called a “pop in” system. The different angle options allow you to focus on different muscle groups. While these benches are very effective overall, they are not built for heavy lifting.
4. Specialist Weight Benches
As their name suggests, these benches are used to focus on specific areas and muscle groups almost exclusively. They lose out on versatility but provide improved focus to critical areas. Some notable examples of specialist varieties include a preacher curl seat and an abdominal bench.
Take a look at this preacher curl bench as an example:
How to Choose a Weight Bench for Your Home Gym
What are some factors to consider when buying a workout bench?
Most adjustable benches are versatile platforms that can be used to perform a wide range of different exercises. But if you want to focus on specific muscle groups, you should consider buying something like a curler seat or an abdominal bench. They offer a cheaper alternative to expensive workout machines.
Adjustable Back Pads
In general, though, workout benches are the workhorses in your home gym. To gain maximum utility from any weight bench, look for models that have angle adjustments on the back pads. The best workout bench for home gyms will have options for incline, flat, decline, and even a 90-degree military press.
If you are on a budget, a simple flat bench or adjustable bench is a sensible option. But the best workout bench for home gyms should ideally come with optional attachments that convert them into full-blown workout stations. For example, benches mainly allow you to focus on your upper body. But with a leg developer, you can also work on your hamstrings and quadriceps. Pulley stations are another attachment that packs a lot of punch, perfect for those tricep pushdowns or single arm cable crossovers.
Check out the insanely ripped Lee Priest taking advantage of the leg curl attachment on this Ironmaster bench:
Buying an affordable bench is all good, but you have to keep an eye on the overall build quality. Afterall, you will be dealing with heavy dumbbells and barbells when working out on these benches. Cheap benches often tend to lack in stability and are prone to wobbles. These can affect your form and increase the risk of injuries.
You don’t need the plushness of a comfy chair or couch, but a little bit of padding goes a long way. A hard surface can be unpleasant on your back, especially when it is being pressed down by a raised barbell. At the bare minimum, you should have an inch of padding on a bench, with good quality stitching to keep it together.
There is always an element of risk involved in weight training. You need spotters or safety catchers around, just in case you end up biting off more than you can chew. If you are planning to buy a bench with a rack, ensure that it has spotter catchers below the weight rests. If by any chance you are unable to lift a weight back to the regular rest, you can use these catchers instead and avoid potential strains or injuries. This is an essential feature on the best workout bench for home gyms if you are into heavy lifting.
Even without weights, you can easily do some kickass workouts using a simple workout bench. Check out this video from Mens Health to learn how:
Quick Review of the 5 Best Weight Benches for Home Gyms
Best Premium Adjustable Bench
Bowflex 5.1 Adjustable Weight Bench
If you don't want to risk injury by buying low-end workout benches on the cheap, you should take a look at Bowflex products. The 5.1 is the latest upgraded version of their workout bench designed for home gyms. This is a premium quality piece of equipment, loaded with a lot of outstanding features.
Overall versatility is one of the highlights of the 5.1. It supports six unique positions, including a 90-degree upright angle. Removable leg braces further increase the available angles in the decline position. The base has extremely wide stabilizers that make this bench rock solid in all positions.
Another excellent feature in the massive 30-year warranty that Bowflex provides on the frame. That is a testament to their faith in the durability of this heavy duty bench. The upholstery has an adequate thickness and provides enough comfort and support for your back. The compact dimensions on this bench allow you to stow it away after use if you are short on space in your home gym.
The weight capacity is also quite good, with 300lbs user weight and 180lbs lift weight supported. You will be probably be restricted to dumbbells on this bench, but that is acceptable for a home gym equipment like this one.
Best Flat Bench
Marcy Utility Flat Bench
Simplicity and reliability are the highlights of this flat bench from Marcy. It provides a basic platform for your home weight training needs. The bench looks exceptionally rugged and well built, with a heavy duty steel frame and black powder coating all around. Stability is also guaranteed thanks to a robust tubular steel frame and wide feet.
The surface has thick home padding, which offers adequate support for your back. The entire upholstery feels quite durable with good quality materials and stitching. The bench has a very compact and space saving design, which should make it right at home even in smaller houses and apartments.
Assembly is required for this product before use, but the whole process is straightforward and quick. The stated weight capacity is 300lbs max, but that is just for the bodyweight. The combined weight capacity is 600lbs (with weights), which is not too shabby for a compact and lightweight bench.
There are no attachments or extensions, but that is okay since this is intended to be a simple and reliable flat platform. For the asking price, Marcy delivers enough quality and reliability. In its category and price range, it is probably the best weight bench for home gyms available online. The bench is available in two color options: white and black.
Best 5-Position Adjustable Bench
Universal UB300 Adjustable Bench
The UB300 is a reasonably priced adjustable bench that has quite a few positive features that work in its favor. To start with, you get five different positions, including both flat and decline as well as incline angles. If you are a beginner to weight training, you will find enough positions on this bench to keep you occupied for a good while.
The padding is on the harder side, but there is plenty of it, and that too in a soft, contoured shape. It gets the job done, without causing too much discomfort to your back or butt. Foam rollers add to the overall comfort level on this bench.
The base is rock solid, thanks to the design of the feet. Regardless of the type of flooring in your home gym, the faceted covers on the feet ensure a firm grip. Overall fit and finish are acceptable, though not premium level.
The weight limit is on the lower side, with 250lbs of max bodyweight and 430lbs with lift load supported. If you are an expert lifter, this bench will probably not be able to support you. Another thing we sorely missed was a 90-degree angle position. You cannot do a military press on this bench.
But on the whole, UB300 provides enough value for the userbase that it is targeting, mainly for beginners and smaller individuals. This is an excellent choice for a first adjustable bench for your home gym. It doesn't come with any accessories or extensions.
Best 4-Position Adjustable Bench
CAP Barbell Flat/Incline/Decline Bench
The CAP has fewer positions than the Universal UB300 with just four on offer. But it more than makes up for that with the inclusion of a 90 degree upright position. Along with that, you get the usual assortment of flat, incline and decline options, making this a very versatile workout bench indeed.
Affordable pricing is the prime attraction of this product from CAP. It even costs less than some of the flat benches out there. But as can be expected, corners have been cut, and this bench does have a few reported flaws. But on the bright side, it is lightweight, compact, and looks reasonably sturdy for a beginner workout bench.
The upholstery is generously padded and offers adequate amounts of support. The rollers and handgrips also get the same leather treatment. Dumbbell holders near the base of the stand are a neat feature that provides convenient access to your weights mid-workout.
But that is where the good things end. At 300lbs max capacity, this bench is only suitable for folks who are just starting out in strength training. And it cannot realistically support the weight of heavier individuals over 200lbs. But the single main issue with this bench that has frequently been reported is the poor quality of the welds. You'll want to think carefully about the safety factor for this bench if you're planning on using it for a long time.
On the balance of things, the CAP bench is only recommended for smaller individuals who plan to do some light duty strength training. The construction quality of the bench might make some people reconsider using it for any serious lifting.
Best Budget Adjustable Bench
Weider Pro 255 L Slant Board/Ab Bench
This a budget-oriented adjustable bench, with six angled positions, offer. You get the usual flat, decline, and incline angles to work with. Given the limited feature list, this one has an understandably low asking price. The durability is pretty decent, and you get a machine fitted with steel, vinyl, and a generous dose of powder coating.
The leg lockdown feature on the bench is quite impressive and provide a balance of comfort and support during your lifts. The vinyl upholstery has enough padding for your back and butt. The bench is relatively easy to assemble but suffers a lot from poor quality control.
Some parts do not work, and there are frequent complaints about the adjustable pivot malfunctioning. This is a fatal flaw on an adjustable workout bench. The weight capacity is adequate at 300lbs user limit and 110lbs lift capacity. This is definitely not a bench designed for heavy lifting.
Reliability and durability are massive concerns when it comes to home gym equipment available on a budget. That is why we loved the Bowflex 5.1 Adjustable Bench. It offers the perfect balance of quality, features, and reliability. There are numerous positions to pick, and the weight capacity is also good enough for the average user/beginner. Add to that comfortable ergonomics, a rock solid base, and 30-year manufacturer warranty, and you have a winner. This is the best weight bench for home gyms, period.