Cable machines help you target those muscles that often get ignored while working out with free weights. Since you will be moving the cables in non-standard directions and angles, you will be able to isolate those muscles that do not get to work while doing weighted squats or dumbbell flys.
Cable machine workouts are beginner-friendly and safer for joints than free weights. Since the weights aren’t really free and are anyways to your sides, you don’t need to worry about them falling on your feet or chest. Cable workouts require less coordination and balance than free weights. You don’t need to worry about practicing with the wrong form. There is absolutely less chance of you injuring yourself.
No wonder why cable machines have slowly made their way to home gyms.
In this article, we will be reviewing some of the best cable machines for home gyms that have received thousands of awesome reviews from buyers. These are full-fledged machines; which is why they are expensive.
If you have a limited budget, you can go with cable pulley systems instead. They are simple setups that you can hang on your pullup bar or squat rack or maybe a ceiling hook. They come with only a loading pin and you need to use your own cast-iron weight plates. While these are excellent options for small gyms, they do limit the variety of workouts you can do.
Cable machines are better. If you have the space and budget, you should go with them instead. Here are some of our best recommendations.
Top-rated cable machines for your home gym
|Product name||Dimensions||Weight capacity||Our Rating||Price|
|Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station||56” X 50” X 81”||250lbs||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer with Bench||83” X 55” X 54”||500lbs||4.6/5||Check Price|
|Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine||42 in. x 63 in. x 83 in.||476lbs||4.6/5||Check Price|
|FT-3000 Compact Functional Trainer by REP Fitness||78″x53″x34″||770lbs||4.4/5||Check Price|
|XMARK Functional Trainer Cable Machine||65”W x 43.5”L x 83” H||800lbs||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Titan Fitness Functional Trainer||82″ X 64″ X 49″||672lbs||4.4/5||Check Price|
This is probably the only good-quality cable crossover machine available for under $1000. But, don’t underestimate it because of its low price. It is cheaper because it doesn’t come with weights like other standard cable machines. You need to use your own weights.
Features and specifications of Valor BD 61 cable crossover station
- Dimensions: 56” X 50” X 81”
- Weight capacity: 250lbs
- Compatible with 1” plates but there are attachments that you can use to add 2” Olympic plates
- Can be bolted to the floor for extra stability
- Has a high pulley and a low pulley and a multi-grip pull-up station for doing a wide variety of workouts
- Resistance ratio- 1:1
- Warranty- 3 years on frame and 1 year on cable
Comes with a Lat bar, curl bar, and 16 adjustable positions for adding maximum possible versatility to your workouts
With dual pulley systems and lots of adjustments to make, the Valor BD 61 cable machine is one of the most versatile machines. There is a 3.5” space between each adjustment position. You can position yourself accordingly and target very specific muscle groups.
There are dual pullup bars for your comfort. They aren’t the best but they are still the best you can get from an inexpensive machine like this. The pulley systems can swivel independently and in all directions, giving you the flexibility to exercise with your partner.
Compact footprint makes it suitable for small homes with low ceilings
With a triangular frame, the BD 61 cable machine can be kept in a corner of your small home gym. It has a max height of 81”. The overall footprint is also small. A lot of buyers have agreed that it actually has a space-saving design as compared to numerous other competitive products.
Another thing that we like about it is that it doesn’t come with weights. You can use your own weight plates and save a lot of money. You can also save a lot of floor space. Perfect for people on a budget.
Please note that due to its low height, we wouldn’t recommend it for people taller than 5.10’. The short height is definitely a selling point but it could also mean doing some compromise with your comfort.
Assembly instructions aren’t that great
Numerous buyers have stated that the assembly manual leaves a lot to be desired. They are poorly written. Plus the parts aren’t labeled. If you aren’t good at assembly or if you are a novice, you will have to do a lot of brainstorming to figure out which nut needs to go where. Valor Fitness could have just labeled the parts to eliminate guesswork. Thankfully, some YouTube videos can help you with that.
Pulleys are made of plastic, not metal
That’s a major concern we have about the Valor Fitness BD 61 cable crossover machine. The pulleys are made of strong plastic and no buyer has reported breakages and failures. However, the plastic pulley makes the overall machine look low-quality and unreliable.
Well, this isn't commercial-grade equipment. It is designed for home use and fitness enthusiasts like us. Athletes and bodybuilders, anyways need something better.
Our Rating: 4.5/5
The FTX version is the smaller, more affordable version of Inspire Fitness FT1 functional trainer, which is a top-rated commercial-grade product. It is a full-fledged machine and even comes with a workout bench and complimentary subscription to Inspire Fitness app. The whole unit is pretty heavy and stable weighing 544lbs. So, if you are planning to keep it on the second floor of your home, keep in mind that it is extremely heavy to carry. Plus, if you have an old construction, it might not be safe to have it there. Read our article on ‘Can You Put a Home Gym on the Second Floor?’ to find out what equipment you can have in your upstairs gym.
Features and specifications of Inspire Fitness FTX functional trainer
- Dimensions: 83” X 55” X 54”
- Weight: 554lbs
- Weight capacity: 500lbs
- Comes with a folding adjustable bench, tricep rope, a pair of deluxe D handles, a dip belt, and a curl bar
- As mentioned above, it comes with a year of free access to Inspire Fitness app that further eliminates any guesswork, helping you work effortlessly
- The pulley can be adjusted at 30 positions
- Offers 1:2 resistance ratio
- Warranty- lifetime for residential warranty
Assembly is easier than it seems
It usually arrives in a large wooden pallet, which is really heavy. If you want to take it down to the basement, you will most likely need help. The weight stacks arrive fully assembled in separate sets. The cross-supports also come assembled separately. All you need to do is to position the two towers correctly and then add the cross supports. Finally, when everything seems to be aligned well, you need to connect them with nuts and bolts. The process could take some time but it is fairly easy.
It is a heavy-duty machine meant for serious fitness trainers
Unlike Valor Fitness BD 61 cable crossover machine, this one is a top-notch product with perfect welds and powder coat finish. Despite having a compact footprint, the manufacturer hasn’t made any compromise in designing and functional aspects.
The parts and pulley have a very smooth and almost silent movement. The pulleys are made of steel, so they won’t show any wear and tear any time soon. The weights are as well-balanced as a commercial-grade cable machine available in your nearby gym.
Overall, it is structurally and aesthetically pleasing. No wonder why it has received a 4.7-star rating from thousands of buyers.
The app is not really worth the hype
Numerous buyers have complained that the app doesn’t provide exclusive videos relevant to the use of the machine or related to the exercises that you can do with it. It provides mixed videos of all the machines that Inspire Fitness sells. Plus, the app has lots of glitches.
Buyers have stated that YouTube has better content than what is available on the manufacturer’s app.
You can expect missing parts and shipping issues
Some buyers have reported that their package had missing parts such as missing weight plates, carabiners, etc. Some of them have stated that the package was totally beaten up. The product inside was still unaffected but poorly packaged delivery shook their confidence and trust in the company.
Thankfully, Inspire Fitness has an amazing customer service team that goes above and beyond to ensure their customers’ satisfaction. They are pretty easy to reach out and buyers never had any issues with returns and exchanges.
Our rating: 4.6/5
Body-Solid manufactures quite a few home strength training equipment including several functional trainers. Its products are well-built and designed for serious training sessions. They are often backed with a decent warranty and an excellent customer support team.
The PFT 100 functional trainer is one of its most popular and affordable products. It uses the same weight resistance system and same adjustments that are used in its high-end models. The only difference is its simpler frame and lack of a few accessories.
Features of Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 functional trainer
- Dimensions: 42 in. x 63 in. x 83 in.
- Weight: 476lbs
- Comes with two weight stacks of 160lbs that can be upgraded to 210lbs
- Pulleys can be adjusted to 20 different positions with a 3.2” gap in between
- Resistance Ration: ½ : 1
- Comes with a pair of D handles
- Warranty: 10 years on frame and 1 year on parts
It is a superb piece of home gym equipment
The frame is made of 11 gauge steel. The pulleys are well-built, smooth, and can swivel 180 degrees. It is much heavier than other cable machines in this price range. You don’t need to bolt it down. The pullup bar is high-quality, not some cheap accessory.
The Body-Solid PFT100 cable crossover machine requires some basic assembly, which is pretty straightforward.
Overall, we found it to be a good product.
Comes with very few accessories
The only accessory that you get with the Body-Solid PFT100 cable machine is a pair of adjustable length nylon handles. These are standard products available with all functional trainers, even the low-cost ones. Body-Solid cable machines are mid to high price machines, so we had expected some more attachments such as a tricep rope, a dip bar, a curl bar, etc.
It seems as if the manufacturer skimped on attachments and accessories to reduce the overall cost of the machine. You can buy these accessories additionally though.
Unlike the Inspire Fitness FTX functional trainer, it doesn’t come with a bench. You will have to buy your own either from the manufacturer or you can choose any of the best adjustable benches or best flat benches we have selected for you.
Our rating: 4.6/5
If you are looking for a commercial-grade, high-end cable machine for your home gym with plenty of attachments, XMARK deserves a special mention. With more than 20 years of experience, XMARK is a household name, known for manufacturing some of the best home gym products.
XMark XM-7626 cable crossover machine is a fully equipped, ergonomically designed, well-engineered machine. It is more expensive than the above-mentioned products but, you obviously get what you pay for.
Features of XMARK XM-7626 functional trainer
- Dimensions: 65”W x 43.5”L x 83” H
- Weight: comes with two weight stacks of 200lbs each
- Resistance ratio: 2:1
- Accessories included: a pair of 8” hand straps, a pair of long strap handles, tricep rope, short bar, long bar, leg extension strap, ankle strap
- Pulley can be adjusted to 19 different positions with a 3.5” gap in between
- Warranty: limited lifetime warranty for residential use
The high price tag of XMARK Fitness XM7626 cable machine is justified by an 11-gauge heavy-duty 2″ x 3″ steel frame and aircraft-grade steel cables with PVC coating that is tested for 2000lbs weight. The machine weighs around 800lbs, making it one of the heaviest cable machines you can buy for home use. Despite that, it doesn’t have a huge footprint, so you can accommodate it in any decent-sized home or garage gym.
The pulleys are made of industrial-grade steel. They have sealed ball bearings that provide the smoothest possible motion, so even your hardest training sessions do not take a toll on your joints.
Installation requires some brainstorming
The instructions are poorly written. This is a major problem that buyers have had with the XMARK cable crossover station. And, for years, the manufacturer hasn’t bothered about addressing it.
A few buyers have stated that the cables need to be installed in opposite directions of what is shown in the brochure. A few others have stated that they received incorrectly labeled parts and that's why they had to redo things a couple of times before figuring out what needs to go where and how.
Numerous buyers have stated that the instruction guide doesn’t tell you that you need to run the cable as you install each pulley. If you follow the process mentioned in the guide, you will have to take off all the pulleys and the nuts and redo everything.
Our Rating: 4.5/5 (due to poor assembly instruction)
At just 78” tall and 53” wide, the FT-3000 is one of the most compact cable machines for basements and other low ceiling areas. The compact footprint also means that it is suitable only for people who are less than 5.8’ tall. Others may not be able to use the pullup bar comfortably.
They can go with the full-size FT-5000 model that is 85” tall and 72” wide. This advanced model has heavier weight stacks and a better-designed pullup bar. But, all these additional features come at a significantly high price tag and that’s why buyers usually prefer to go with the REP Fitness FT-3000 functional trainer.
Features of REP Fitness FT-3000 compact functional trainer
- Dimensions: 78″x53″x34″
- Weight: 770lbs
- Has two 180lbs weight stack
- Resistance ratio: 2:1
- Has 15 cable pulley positions
- There are pegs at the back of the frame to hang additional accessories
- Accessories included: a pair of strap handles
- Warranty: lifetime on frame and 10 years on hardware for residential use
You need to buy the accessories and attachments separately
As we mentioned above, all you get with this REP Fitness FT-3000 cable machine is a pair of D-handles, which is the very basic thing you can expect from even a low-cost cable pulley system. It doesn’t come with any other attachments such as tricep ropes, curl bars, sports bar, etc. Even the pullup bar is just a pullup handle. This is the biggest disadvantage of this machine. The money you will save buying the FT-3000 model will be spent on accessorizing it.
It is probably the only one that offers a 10-year warranty on parts
The lifetime warranty that it offers on the frame is understandable because it is anyways a very sturdy machine, manufactured by a renowned brand like REP Fitness.
But, most of the brands that we have come across provide just 1 or 2 years warranty on the parts. A very few high-end brands may offer 5 years coverage on parts but absolutely none of those we have come across provide 10 years coverage on the parts including pulleys, pins, hardware, and cables.
REP Fitness does an excellent job here.
Our Rating: 4.4/5
If you are looking for an all-in-one, commercial-grade functional trainer that you can keep in one corner of your home or garage gym, Titan Fitness has a good option to consider. It has fully enclosed weight stacks and fiberglass-reinforced pulley, so you get absolutely smooth workouts. It comes with a bunch of accessories and attachments, so you don’t have to buy anything separately.
Features of Titan Fitness functional trainer
- Dimensions: 82″ X 64″ X 49″
- Weight: 672lbs
- Has two fully-enclosed 200lbs weight stacks
- Resistance Ratio: 2:1
- Accessories included: a short and long bar, ankle straps, rope handles, dual stirrup handles, single and double D-handles
- Comes with 1 year limited warranty
A complete setup with almost every accessory you may need
As always, this Cable machine from Titan Fitness provides the best value for money. It comes with a short bar, a long bar, tricep rope handles, ankle straps, stirrup handles, D-handles. You can use these for targeting every major and minor muscle group of your body. Since it comes with every possible attachment, you don’t have to worry about buying things separately and bother about compatibility.
Affordable than most other competitive products
A good-quality cable machine with all these attachments, a heavy-duty 11 gauge frame, fiberglass reinforced pulleys, and concealed weight stacks can cost you about $4000-$5000. But, just like all Titan Fitness products, this cable machine beats most competitors in terms of price. We agree that it isn’t the best of its kind but it works as expected and that’s all that matters.
You can expect standard shipping and packaging issues
Titan Fitness is known for this. The products are often poorly packed and sometimes you get incomplete kits with missing parts or misaligned parts. Thankfully, the company is very buyer-friendly and doesn't hesitate to send replacements whenever needed. Regarding scratches and dents; this is a home gym equipment and not a centerpiece. These things will get scratches and dents and even rust. So, don’t consider the shipping issue as a dealbreaker.
Standard 1 year warranty
It’s a standard warranty but a few buyers might not feel confident enough to spend $2500 on a home gym product that comes with just a year of warranty. Other competitive products often come with a 5 or 10 years warranty and even a lifetime warranty on frame. Maybe Titan Fitness should start giving different warranty periods for different products.
Our Rating: 4.4/5
In our list of best cable machines for home gyms we have selected affordable and compact options because we believe that's what most of us need. Unless you are lucky enough to have a lot of space in your home gym or you have a $4000-$5000 budget, these products should serve your purpose.
If you have a space-crunched workout space for home and a cable machine seems just too big, you can go with the LAT pulldown machines that we have selected for you. If you have a squat rack, you can add a pulley system and the DYNASQUARE LAT Pulldown Bar to create an upper body workout setup. For specifically targeting your arm muscles, you can go with some of the best affordable forearm wrist rollers that we have reviewed for you.
Before you go, do check out our detailed article on ‘What Temperature is Too Cold to Workout in Your Garage or Outside Gym?’ because we can feel that many of you might be skipping your workouts during this cold season citing harsh weather as an obvious reason.
Do get in touch with us for queries and suggestions.