In this review feature, we check out the best weight benches — both adjustable and flat benches — on the market. Many people are interested in purchasing a weight bench for their own personal home gym. Indeed, a set of adjustable dumbbells and an adjustable weight bench are two excellent beginning purchases to setting up a home gym. You’ll be able to do a wide range of exercises and make quick progress all without making a trip to the busy gym. While many people assume the best weight benches are hundreds of dollars, that is no longer the case, they have come way down in price.
Most weight benches are a pretty straightforward design, especially flat benches. Their purpose is simple: to allow you to perform exercises on a stable surface. Nevertheless, there’s a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the right bench. First we are going to take a look at the features of weight benches and the various types. Then, we will discuss the best weight bench for home gym purposes. In our review section we will review the best weight benches of this year.
Best Weight Benches of 2016: Flat, Adjustable, and Other Options
So you’ve made it this far, now its decision making time. Of course, you could simply peruse the options and sleep on it. No pressure! In this section, we provide readers with weight bench reviews and the most popular benches on the market.
At the very least, you’ve probably seen an advertisement featuring a Bowflex home gym product with the attractive man and woman working out nearing scantily clad territory. As a matter of fact, Bowflex also makes some great exercise equipment, including some of the top adjustable dumbbells as well as this adjustable bench. This is probably the best all around adjustable bench for the price. It looks and feels like a commercial quality bench, backed by a 30 year warranty on the steel frame. The red and black upholstery is durable and sharp looking. You have six different angle adjustment positions with the 5.1 adjustable weight bench (17 to 90 degrees).
It has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, so unless you’re benching 150 pound dumbbells like a boss, you should be good to go. The cool thing about this adjustable bench is that it takes it up a notch by including a foot roller to hold your legs in place when doing ab workouts or decline bench press. Though if you don’t plan on using it, the foot roller can be easily removed. It is about 60 pounds, and has wheels on the back side so you can easily wheel it away into storage after completing your workouts if necessary.
If you’re looking for a flat bench, look no further. The Marcy Deluxe Flat Bench is a premium quality weight bench with a max weight capacity of 600 pounds. Probably our favorite thing about this flat weight bench is the oversized, extra wide feet. Not only does this make the bench extra durable, it gives you flawless stability when working out with weights. Even if you’re doing an exercise that would typically cause a flat bench like this to wobble such as leg raises to work the lower abdominal muscles, this weight bench stays put — it isn’t going anywhere. This weight bench also sports a red and black design, and the black powder coated finish on the steel parts is a nice touch. Lastly, the pad on this bench is actually 2.5 inches thick, a high density foam that is comfortable and durable.
Other Top Picks
Check out the other top weight bench picks of this year.
Types of Weight Benches: The Four Main Categories of Exercise Benches
If you’ve been to a gym or workout facility, you probably recall seeing a number of different exercise benches. No doubt, if you don’t go to the gym often they can look like some very odd looking contraptions. There are four main categories of exercise benches: flat bench, adjustable bench, multi-purpose bench (with weight racks), and utility benches such as the abdominal bench. If you’re looking for a bench for at home use, a lot of it is going to depend on your primary purpose and budget. Sure, we’d all like a multi-purpose bench with a set of weight plates, but we can’t all be Donald Trump rich. In most cases, a sturdy adjustable bench will do just fine.
#1 Flat Weight Benches
These are about as simple as you can get. It provides you with a raised surface up off the floor. Users may sit or lie supine on this type of bench. From there, you can execute standard bench press and use it for other exercises such as dips, one arm rows, skullcrushers, and seated bicep curls. Unfortunately, decline or incline press won’t be in the cards with flat benches. Military also known as shoulder press may additionally be difficult with lack of back support. Nevertheless, you can get pretty creative and still hit all the major muscle groups with a flat bench. Plus, flat weight benches are very inexpensive due to their simple design.
#2 Adjustable Weight Benches
- Moderate Cost
- Portability Dependent on the Unit’s Design
- Wide Range of Exercises
The adjustable weight bench is probably one of the best values right now. It is versatile enough to vary your exercises, yet not super expensive or heavy like a multi-purpose weight bench. Also, if you add a squat rack or power rack to an adjustable bench you’ve got yourself a solid set up. Most adjustable benches allow you to tune the degree of incline to the desired level. These used to be upwards of two to three hundred dollars, but they have come way down in recent years. Some people refer to them as dumbbell benches. Manufacturers have found ways to construct solid adjustable weight benches at a fraction of the previous cost. That’s great for those who are trying to create their own home gym without emptying their wallet. The downside is for those of you who get overwhelmed by too many choices you may get a little anxious when looking over all the choices. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back, and so do the weight benches that made our best weight bench list.
#3 Multi-Purpose Weight Benches and Olympic Benches
- Higher Cost
- Not Portable
- Usually requires additional purchases such as weight plates and bars
Multi-purposed weight benches are the most varied in design and encompass a broad category. These are the transformers of weight benches, morphing to whatever purpose you require. Most have multiple ways to adjust them, have built in squat racks, and some even come with a lat pulldown tower too! Gyms usually have rows of fancy multi-purpose weight benches with full racks. These “stations” pretty much set up a weight trainer to do any exercise under the sun. However, there are some multi-purpose benches not quite so extensive that are great for home use. For example, the one featured in the image would be ideal for a home gym. As illustrated, it has a place for a barbell and weight plates. Keep in mind, those don’t come with many of these types of benches, and are expensive additions. Many also allow you to execute ab exercises, decline press, and incline press.
#4 Utility Weight Benches
- Higher Cost
- Not Portable
- Only Designed for 1-3 Specific Exercises
Utility benches are another broad category of weight benches. Examples include ab workout benches with foot rollers (a place to put your feet behind to lock you in), short back rest benches designed for shoulder press, benches where you can perform back hyper-extensions, and many more. Abdominal benches alone have three variations such as flat, adjustable, and decline. Typically utility type benches are used for one or two specific workouts. These aren’t very common in non-commercial settings as each piece of equipment has a moderately high price tag. This makes them unfeasible for all but the most extravagant home gyms.
Benefits of Owning Your Own Weight Bench & Weights
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, purchasing your own weight bench and adjustable dumbbells is an efficient and relatively low cost way to start working out at home. These have small footprints comparative to some gym equipment, so even if you only have a corner of a room/garage of open space you’ll probably be okay.
- Save Time. All those trips to and from the gym add up. If you’ve got to store stuff in a locker, remember to bring a water bottle, and use the facilities showers that’s even more time. You’ve only got 24 hours in a day, use them wisely right!?
- Reduce Costs. There are more individuals than ever before cancelling their gym memberships and setting up a simple garage gym or workout room. The average gym membership is about $40-$60 a month. At $50/month that’s $600 annually. You can buy your own adjustable dumbbell set and adjustable weight bench for less than that!
- Flexible Schedule. Another reason people are switching to home gyms is so they have the freedom to train whenever they want. We’ve known individuals that build up to benching sets of 90 pound dumbbells just because they were working in sets whenever they had a little downtime. Sure, you may want to get a gym membership at that point, but it is going to take awhile to get to that level. Plus you’ll get pretty ripped in the process. Another option is to add a squat rack to an adjustable weight bench after you start plateauing, which will enable you to keep lifting heavier weights at home.
- Avoid Crowds. Most people like to work out after work and before dinner, but that means you go straight from traffic rush hour to gym rush hour. Leave those grunting lunks and exercise machine campers behind!
Best Weight Gym for Home Gyms and Workout Areas
The “best” weight bench really all depends on what your purposes for having it are. If you’re an experienced lifter and know your way around a gym, you probably already have an idea of what you want. If you intend on doing some casual bench press here and there, a flat bench will do fine. If you want to get full body workouts in you may want to shell out the cash for a multi-purpose weight bench. In our opinion, the best all around weight bench for the money is probably those that fall into the adjustable weight bench category. They don’t take up too much room, allow you to do plenty of exercises when paired with some dumbbells, and as mentioned don’t cost an insane amount of money. However, if you’ve got some money to spend and have a generous amount of room you may want to check out some of the multi-purpose benches — there are some pretty awesome designs in that category. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re very limited on space, you may want to consider buying a folding weight bench. This makes it nice as you can store it in a closet, underneath something, or against the wall when your finished with your workout.
Other Things to Consider:
- Dimensions of the bench, do you have enough space available? You don’t want to have to ship it back because you might get charged for how heavy it is. Also, always factor in shipping costs when your making a price comparison between two benches.
- If you have very detailed questions, the review sections and Q & A on the sales page are a great resource. Don’t forget to check them out, just click through the links on our page for more info if you find something you like.
- Check the maximum weight capacity, especially for those Arnold Schwarzeneggers out there planning to lift heavy. You’ll need a sturdy bench and may have to spend a bit more on one that can handle heavier loads.
- Keep the long term game in mind. Some of the upfront costs may seem staggering at first for some of these benches and other related equipment. The best thing is that these are one time costs with no ongoing fees or monthly payments. You’re going to get a lot of variety with a simple dumbbell set and weight bench and after that you could add in things like a pull up bar overtime to create an awesome home gym setup.