When you’re building your own home gym, or you just want to pick up some essential equipment to lift weights in your basement, backyard, or garage, having a weight bench is one of the first pieces of equipment I’d recommend picking up.
I recently began taking my lifting a lot more seriously, so rather than spend the time driving to and from the gym everyday I began collecting all the gear and equipment I needed so I could get a good workout in at home.
The first thing I did was begin my journey by looking for the best weight bench, as the bench along with a dedicated power rack, was something I used nearly everyday for my routine.
These days, there are quite a few different workout benches to choose from, and I wanted to share with you some of my top recommendations after taking the time to do the research to determine which benches I found to be a great choice for a home gym or workout area.
For most people, I would actually recommend picking up an adjustable weight bench, because this really helps to add a lot of versatility to the different workouts that you can do.
Once you get into really heavy lifting you can look for a more serious flat bench, but beginner and intermediate level lifters are likely going to find that an adjustable one is a good idea to invest in from the beginning.
I want to start this post off by going over some of my recommendations, and feel free to scroll to the bottom part of the post for an in-depth buyer’s guide and some helpful tips on choosing the right bench for your home gym.
The Best Weight Benches
Bowflex SelectTech 3.1
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is definitely what I would recommend if you’re looking for the best adjustable weight bench, and it’s also my recommendation because I believe that it is the best fitness bench for most people.
I’m a huge fan of the adjustable benches because you can use them for a much wider variety of different workouts, rather than one that comes without any adjustment capability.
I find that the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is quite reasonably priced, making it a good choice if you’re on a tight budget and you still want to get a bench to use to workout at home.
With the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 you’re able to enjoy 4 different positions, including two incline positions, a flat position, and a decline position as well so you can still get some of your decline presses done without needing to rely on any other pieces of equipment.
I also really like this bench because it comes with a removable leg hold-down attachment that you can use for additional support when you’re lifting as well as for a few different workouts.
Since the attachment is removable, you can easily remove it if you have no use for it or if you find it’s getting in the way when you’re working on your exercise routine.
The maximum weight limit of this bench is 480 pounds, which is definitely high enough for most people and you really don’t need to worry about upgrading until you start lifting some really heavy weights.
One more feature I really like about the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is that it comes with a wheeled-end, making it really easy to move around your workout space or even slide into a squat rack for workouts like seated overhead press or barbell bench press.
With the frame, there is a 15 year warranty, and the upholstery comes with a 1 year warranty, just in case you run into any problems.
One drawback I would like to mention is that while the back-rest is completely adjustable, the seat remains in a fixed position, which some people might not prefer for working out.
I would definitely recommend the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 for most people, as I find it to be a well-built and good choice for anyone looking to add an exercise bench in their home gym for a reasonable price (I’m a huge fan of the Bowflex brand as well).
Marcy Flat Utility
The Marcy Flat Utility is what I stumbled onto during my own search for the best cheap weight bench, and it’s what I would recommend checking out if you’re on a tight budget but you still want to work on bench press and other upper body exercises at home.
This bench doesn’t come with any adjustments, so it lays completely flat in a fixed position, and it’s decent enough for workouts like bench press, flys, dumbell rows, and anything else where you just need a flat, sturdy surface.
It’s designed with a 14-gauge rectangular tubing, and it even comes with a powder coat finish that gives it a contemporary look.
On the top is some black padding that’s made from a high density upholstery and this offers a little bit more comfort and grip when you’re getting some workouts done.
Fast for the weight limit, there is a maximum weight capacity for an individual up to 300 lbs, with a total weight limit of 600 lbs, making it a suitable choice if you’re looking to lift some heavy weights.
Some of the drawbacks include the lack of adjustments, although given the price it’s quite reasonable that it doesn’t come with this feature, and there also aren’t any wheels for easier movement so you’re going to have to manhandle it into place wherever you want to use it.
For individuals on a budget, I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Marcy Flat Utility bench if you’re looking for flat bench to use at home and you don’t have any interest in something adjustable.
Bowflex SelectTech 5.1
The Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 is essentially the upgraded version of the 3.1 that I recommended as my top choice.
There are a few things that make the 5.1 a little bit different, and for some people that might be the better bench depending on your workout routine and what you’re looking for.
For starters, the Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 can be adjusted into 6 different positions, and this includes a 90-degree incline as well as a 17-degree decline, making it a suitable choice for a wide variety of different workouts.
Just like with the 3.1, this one comes with a removable leg hold-down attachment, a feature that I really like and that can be quite useful foremost routines.
One feature that helps it to stand apart, and why many people might prefer it, is that the seat can be adjusted as well for a more comfortable and practical placement depending on the workout that you’re doing.
It also comes with the wheels at one end so it can be easily moved into different places around your home or into storage.
With the frame, there is a 30 year warranty, and there’s a 1 year warranty on the upholstery, so you can contact Bowflex if you have any issues with the quality of the equipment.
You should definitely take a look at the Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 if you’re looking for a well-built, adjustable fitness bench that you can use at home.
The Marcy Competitor is a really versatile piece of home gym equipment that I would recommend if you’re looking for a weight bench that comes ready to use for a wide range of exercises without requiring too much additional equipment.
What I really like about this bench is that it comes attached to the adjustable bar catch so that you can use it right away for things like bench pressing, without having to rely on other equipment like a stand or power rack.
The bench itself features 5 back pad positions, allowing you to take advantage of a flat, incline, and even a decline position for your workouts.
Part of the bench is covered with high density foam pads, that come in at around 2 inches of thickness, giving you a lot more comfort and support when you’re lifting heavy weights.
With the adjustable bar catch you can adjust the position of the bar depending on the height you want for your specific workout, and it really makes it easy to do things bench pressing as well as incline presses without having to rely on other pieces of equipment.
Along with the bar catch, there’s also a leg station built into this bench system that allow you to do even more workouts.
You can use the leg station for support for upper body workouts, or you can use it to develop your lower body leg muscles, with workouts like leg raises and other leg exercises.
Thanks to the sturdy design, this French system is able to hold up to 600 lbs of weight, so even if you’re a bigger guy you can still get some heavy lifts in.
I believe that the Marcy Competitor is a really nifty piece of home gym equipment, and I would recommend checking it out if you’re looking for something that you can use for a wide range of different exercises as well as for basic workouts for your chest and upper body.
Rep Fitness Flat Bench
It’s the Rep Fitness Flat Bench that I would recommend taking a look at if you’re a professional level weightlifter and you’re planning on lifting a lot of heavy weights in your own home gym.
The reason it’s such a good choice for professional lifters is because it’s tested at 1000 lbs of weight capacity, so even if you’re a bigger individual you can still lift heavy without having to worry about your equipment collapsing beneath you.
The frame is designed using a heavy duty thick steel, and it’s covered with a 2.5 inch thick foam pad to help keep you comfortable and offer support when you’re getting those heavy lifts in.
The pad is also covered with a textured non-slip vinyl to help keep you in place and to prevent you from sliding around when you’ve got a lot of weight above you.
At the bottom are these grooved rubber feet that help to keep the bench in place, so even if you’re kicking or squirming a little trying to get that extra rep in you don’t have to worry about the frame sliding out from underneath you.
The frame itself comes with a 10-year warranty, although you only get a 30 day warranty on the pad.
I would recommend the Rep Fitness Flat Bench if you’re a professional level lifter and you’re going to be lifting a lot of very heavy weights in the future.
Choosing the Best Workout Bench
When you’re in the market for an exercise bench to use for different upper body workouts like, bench presses and dumbbell rows, there are a few different features that you want to keep an eye out for.
Like I mentioned in my introduction, I recommend going with an adjustable weight bench so that you’re able to take advantage of a wide variety of different positions.
This allows you to do flat workouts, as well as incorporate incline (and possible decline) lifts into your routine without needing additional equipment.
When you’re looking at the different benches, check to see how many positions you can adjust a specific model into.
Some of the more affordable models come with just a few positions, with the higher-end models offering you a lot more variety when it comes to the different positions that you can set your bench up in.
Keep in mind that if you don’t currently do any decline workouts, you might be fine just going with something that adjusts from flat into an incline/upright position.
Check out the specifications to see the different positions that you can utilize and think of whether or not you’re going to need them all during your workouts.
Is a Decline Bench Necessary?
I found that not every fitness bench comes with a decline position adjustment.
For many people, myself included, this isn’t going to be a problem as decline workouts aren’t something I do very often.
Anybody that is focusing on a lot of decline exercises is definitely going to want to consider a bench that comes with this feature, otherwise you can avoid it altogether and just look for the models that come with the flat and upright positions.
Consider the Weight Limit
Beginner and intermediate lifters might not have to worry about this feature so much, but if you’re lifting really heavy weights then you’re going to want to keep an eye on the total weight capacity of any bench that you’re interested in.
Once you combine your body weight with the total weight of the barbell and plates, you can easily start to exceed 400 lbs depending on your weightlifting progression, so always check the total capacity to avoid any problems with damaging the equipment or having it collapse beneath you accidentally.
It’s always a good idea to go with a bench that has a higher weight capacity, especially if you’re planning on lifting heavy for the long term, just so that it’s able to safely support you during your workouts.
Beginners are going to be able to get away with an entry-level model that doesn’t have as high of a capacity, with the option to upgrade further on down the road.
Is it Long Enough?
Depending on how tall you are, you could be fine with a standard size bench or you might need something a little bit longer if you happen to be taller than 6-feet.
Some of the benches can be pretty short, especially if you’re a tall individual, so make sure to check out the dimensions of the flat bench part to see if it’s going to be long enough for your torso so that you’re not hanging off the end.
Is it Going to be Stationary?
Are you going to be setting up the bench in a permanent position in your home or garage?
Or are you going to be moving it around your house, in and out of storage whenever you need it?
Is being able to roll your fitness bench into different places and positions something you’re interested in?
With so many different models to choose from, you have a lot of options when it comes to whether or not you need something portable or if you are okay with having one that stays in a fixed position somewhere in your home.
I like using the ones that can be rolled around, especially if I’m going to be moving it into different positions in my home gym, but the stationary ones are just as good and a little more reasonably priced if you don’t need to move the bench anywhere else.
What’s Your Budget?
One of the main factors that you need to consider is what your budget is and how much you’re comfortable with spending on a weight lifting bench.
Beginners and individuals that don’t plan on lifting too heavy weights in the near future can definitely get away with spending less, though if you’re planning on lifting heavy weights and using the bench a lot, then you might want to consider a shelling out a bit more for something better quality.
It really depends on whether or not you’re spending a lot of time working out or lifting weights is just something you do occasionally when it comes to deciding how much you should spend on this piece of equipment.
Regardless of your budget, there is likely going to be something suitable for you in your spending range with some great entry-level options starting at around $100 and ranging up to more than $1,000 for some of the professional level models.