When looking for home or garage gym equipment, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the potential options. It's an even bigger problem when you are on a strict budget with limited options.
For some people, a Smith machine might be the a good addition because of its versatility. Below, you can find what we choose as the best Smith Machine for sale.
Our picks for the best Smith machine for sale
Smith Machines 101
A Smith machine is similar to a squat rack, but the barbell is on a vertical rail. This allows the barbell to only go in a straight up-and-down motion. There are also safety measures in place to ensure that nobody will get harmed.
This setup allows a Smith machine to utilize most of the same exercises as can be done with free weights with or without a squat rack. While this limits it to only vertical movements, that still allows for plenty of variety.
What to look for
If you are looking for a Smith machine, you have a lot of options to consider. You don't want to rush into a decision. There are several important topics that you will need to take into consideration when making a buying decision.
- Versatility / Add-ons
Smith machines are hardly the cheapest piece of exercise equipment. You might need to be prepared to spend $1,000 or more, depending on the model you are at. This doesn't change much. The lowest end options are still over $600 and they may not have the features that you need.
The weight capacity refers to the amount of total weight that can be lifted using the machine. Most machines come with an unloaded bar that weighs between 30 and 50 pounds. You can add weight plates to that up to the maximum capacity.
For safety reasons, you really shouldn't try to test the maximum capacity of a machine. You'll want to get a machine that is well over your heaviest squatting weight to make sure you don't over stress the machine.
If you buy a Smith machine, it will most likely be the biggest piece of equipment in your garage or home gym. You absolutely have to take that into consideration before you make a purchase. Make sure to measure out the open space you have available. You will need extra space on top of that to safely move around the machine as well as adding/reducing resistance.
Versatily / Add-ons
A default Smith machine is a versatile in its own right, but that can really increase when add-ons are included. Many models include some kind of attachment, such as cables, that increase the value of the machine.
This could be very valuable or totally useless to you, depending on your needs. You have to know what you actually want and need out of the machine. Be careful when looking at machines with too many attachments. These are sometimes more poorly made and have a limited weight capacity.
With a big investment in the equipment, you'll want to be able to trust that it will last for awhile. With prices that near $1,000 or more, Smith machines can be pricey. Luckily, most machines carry some kind of warranty. Make sure to read the details.
What exercises use the vertical plane? Because that's the group of exercises you have to choose from and its a lot.
A Smith machine will allow you to perform most of the standard bodybuilding exercises. Front and back squats, bench press, shoulder press, upright rows and plenty more can be done with these.
To take advantage of this machine, you need to use its build to your advantage. 2 of the best ways to do this are jump squats and bench press throws. You can see what both look like in the video below. These should only be done by experienced lifters who have taken the proper safety and spotter precautions.
The name pretty much says it all here. Load up the bar, squat down, and then explosively jump in the air. You will want to start with a light weight if this is a new exercise for you. Once experienced, you can vary the resistance to get a different training stimuli.
Bench Press Throws
This exercise is also explained by the name. You lower the barbell down to your chest, press up explosively and release the bar. Having 1 or 2 spotters who you trust is absolutely crucial for this lift, or you could have a speeding barbell land right on your chest. Again, start with a light weight when first doing these.
Because a Smith machine requires less effort to stabilize and balance, you should be able to lift the same weight or more than you could with a free weight option.
This can be fun, but it could also be considered a negative. Heavy free weight lifting is one of the best ways to build core strength in the abs, obliques, and lower back. Because of this, it's not recommended that you only do Smith machine work if core strength is a priority.
The majority of Smith machine exercises that you can do can also be done with free weights. Squats, bench press, shoulder press, upright rows, and more can be done with a variety of different tools.
- Bodyweight or resistance bands
- Leg Machines
While free weights absolutely have their benefits, you do lose something by never using a Smith machine. The setup allows you to fully isolate muscle groups, without taxing your core too much. Experienced lifters are also able to take advantage of Smith machines with ballistic exercises. Some of these include bench press throws and jump squats.
Our Final Recommendation
The Valor Athletics Smith Machine
The Valor Athletics model is one of the best Smith machines for sale today. It is a simple design, with no fancy attachments. But what it does, it does well.
This model has a massive 1,000 pound capacity that should be more than enough for all but the most extreme lifters.
The bar weight is 30 pounds when unloaded as is built for 2" Olympic weight plates.
It is a very solidly built machine that should have no trouble letting you perform all of your favorite exercises.