Welcome to the 2020 edition of our best home Smith machine UK roundup.
Buying a great Smith machine can easily be the difference between building muscle at home and getting trapped helplessly underneath a loaded barbell—or worse, causing yourself permanent, debilitating harm due to a punctured lung or crushed windpipe.
Unfortunately for us, the home fitness market is plagued with mediocre, mass-produced Smith machines. Oh sure, they work for a while (albeit, with a heavy dose of intra-workout friction). But they suddenly pack in when your growing training intensity exposes their flimsy construction—too bad the warranty was only 2 years. That's another £1,000 down the drain.
I'd estimate that I've wasted upwards of £7,000 on so-called "home gym equipment". The worst part? Some machines lasted for just 6 months. Others managed 2 years. And one even broke while I was using it.
Yes, that's right, a £1,000 Smith machine packed in during my workout. I was re-racking the bar when the lockouts failed unexpectedly, causing the bar to drop rapidly towards my neck like a guillotine. Had it not been a warm-up set, things could've been a lot worse. And maybe I wouldn't be writing this today (falling barbells take no prisoners).
Anyway. I decided to take matters into my own hands. After testing over 43 Smith machines, I started this website to help my fellow Brits who train at home find the safest and most effective Smith machine solution. Here's what I found...
Whether you're seeking a luxury Smith machine gym or operating on a shoestring budget, you'll find a personalised solution within my reviews of the top rated Smith machines. So let's get into it.
TuffStuff makes some of the UK's best Smith machines for home and commercial use. And their compact TuffStuff CXT-200 is no exception. This small but mighty home gym replaces a lat pulldown machine, a functional trainer, a low row station, a pull-up bar and of course, a Smith machine.
Their Smith machine system promotes heavy lifting by providing us with an incredible 245kg weight capacity, which comes courtesy of the CXT-200's damage-resistant 11 gauge steel frame.
TuffStuff's patented cable crossover Smith machine design enables their CXT-200 to remain compact while still allowing us to test our strength safely.
The angled weight prongs are perhaps the best example of this space-saving innovation. The prongs allow you to load more than six 20kg plates per side while taking up only marginally more space than a regular functional trainer.
How this benefits us is that we're able to enjoy Smith machine exercises and cable training in the same home gym. Naturally, this saves us a lot of money and space compared to individually buying the five gym machines that the CXT-200 replaces.
The Smith bar itself, which weighs 13.6kg, provides an incredibly smooth lifting motion and has several muscle-building and safety benefits.
It comes with 15 lockout points, for easy barbell re-racking while training alone; commercial-grade knurling, for a firmer grip, which enables us to generate more power and set new PRs. It also affords us a 7-degree slanted bar path, which reduces joint stress, improves our pump and enhances our mind-muscle connection, by providing a more natural range of motion.
Likewise, the three cable stations—lat pulldown, cable row, functional trainer—offer many benefits for those of us seeking new muscle growth. The versatile dual adjustable pulleys provide 68kg of resistance (90kg with the upgrade) and come with swivel handles that allow for an unrestricted range of motion, creating a deeper muscular stretch and a more potent peak contraction.
Obviously, the enhanced range of motion results in more rapid muscle gains for us because we can ensure that we're recruiting all of the small muscle fibres that need to be fatigued to stimulate maximum growth.
As with the functional trainer, the lat pulldown and low row station each have two pulleys, which enables us to increase our strength by using the full resistance of both weight stacks—in this case, 136kg.
I wish the pull-up bar had a neutral grip option. Nonetheless, the wide and close grips are more than sufficient for achieving full back development, especially since we can also perform lat pulldowns and cable rows.
The CXT-200 Smith machine cable crossover comes with seven accessories; lat bar, straight bar, squat bar, ankle strap, two pairs of nylon handles, a chin-up strap and a cable bridge bracket. The three bar attachments include knurling so that you can maintain a firm grip and avoid dropping the bar.
However, all of the attachments have a designated spot on the rotating accessory rack, which provides quick access to accessories during training, making the CXT-200 an excellent choice for supersets and fast-paced workouts. The convenient accessory rack also enables you to keep your workout space free from trip hazards because everything has its own off-the-floor position.
Costing less than a yearly health club membership, the Powerline Smith Machine is the cheapest Smith machine on our top rated list. But at first, I was sceptical. I thought that the marked down price tag was just too good to be true—and I had flashbacks to being ripped-off by unscrupulous home gym companies. However, once I took the PSM144X for a test drive, I realised that my suspicions were completely unfounded.
For example, even though the bushings are made from nylon, the resistance actually feels smooth because of the patented super glide technology. The bushings are located in the extra-long twin carriages, which protects the components from damage and simultaneously provides frictionless movement—a rarity for cheap Smith machines.
Naturally, this friction-free lifting motion is great for us because it enables us to generate a more intense pump and develop a stronger mind-muscle connection—two very important prerequisites for gaining size.
But the hidden benefit of this smooth bar path is that it contains no jarring sticking points, which are notorious for causing joint problems. As a result, we can recover quicker, and hence, gain muscle faster, while also significantly reducing our injury risk.
The Smith bar itself supports up to 181kg of resistance, has a 13.5kg starting weight and hooks onto any of the 14 crossmember lock-out points with a straightforward turn of the wrist. Clearly, the PSM144X is a brilliantly effective free weight replacement for training around injuries or lifting without a spotter because you can so easily re-rack the barbell.
Yet even if you push beyond muscular failure—and can't even muster up the energy to perform a 15-degree wrist turn—the dual lock safety catches have got you covered.
The safety stoppers are pop-pin adjustable, and they increase the size of their safety net by connecting to both the front and back of the frame via steel reinforcements. Therefore, you can push your body to the limit with the peace of mind that you won't get pinned under the barbell.
Overall, the PSM144x is a fantastic small Smith machine if you're on a budget, but still want to pick up a quality workout station. It's been on the market for 15 years now and comes with ten years warranty on the frame. Plus, at the current low price, you're getting a pretty unbeatable deal as far as home Smith machines go. It's definitely the best home smith machine gym under 500 quid (out of the 40+ that I tested).
Replacing 8+ common gym stations and offering a lifetime warranty, the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine is undoubtedly one of the best Smith machines on the UK market. The formidable Series 7 is constructed from heavy-duty 11 gauge steel and comes complete with a DuraFirm-padded bench that provides ample back support while simultaneously keeping your workouts safe with its 450kg capacity.
The Series 7 includes a squat rack and Smith machine for heavy lifting; a lat pulldown, cable row, pec deck and preacher curl station for upper body training; and a leg developer for quad extensions and hamstring curls. But since these are home Smith machine reviews, I'm focusing on just the Smith machine squat rack combo for now (full review is linked above).
The linear bearing Smith machine is rated for a hefty 272kg and keeps us out of harm's way with a combination of crossmember lock-out points (of which there are 20) and heavy-duty, adjustable safety catches. If you usually train alone like me, it's one of the best types of Smith machines to own because you can re-rack the barbell at any point during rep with a simple 15-degree wrist turn.
Also, the subtle yet effective 7-degree angle works wonders for smoothing out the lifting motion. How? Because it mimics the natural human bar path (nobody lifts completely vertically). As a result, you can feel your muscles working more intensely during each rep, which naturally produces a stronger pump and a deeper stretch—two critical factors for muscle growth itself.
As with the Olympic Smith machine package that I spoke about above (also called the GS348QP4), the squat rack keeps us out of trouble with it's heavy-duty 17" safety catches. These safety catches enable us to train to failure (and thus trigger faster muscle gains) because we know that if we fail on a rep, we can relieve the strain by simply dropping the bar on the stoppers.
Furthermore, with 14 adjustable positions, we can set the safety catches to the optimal height for our body shape and for the particular exercise that we're performing. This adjustability also applies to the bar hooks. And, most importantly, it affords us more comfortable lift-off and re-racking positions, which can actually make us stronger because we don't have to overstretch to get the barbell out of the J-Hooks.
The light commercial TuffStuff CSM-725WS is by far the most pricey product featured in this Smith machine review. However, if you're seeking a luxury Smith machine multi gym that rivals the quality of commercial products, then you may have just found your match.
For the price of an entry-level automobile with road tax and insurance, the TuffStuff CSM-725WS gets you seven workout stations: a Smith machine with weight stack, squat rack, lat pulldown, cable row, functional trainer, pull up station and an adjustable bench. However, unlike a reasonably-priced car, it requires only minimal maintenance, comes with a lifetime warranty and will probably make your friends jealous.
TuffStuff equips the CSM-725WS with self-aligning linear bearings to keep the Olympic-sized barbell straight and to ensure that both sides of your body receive equal work. As a result, the bar path feels incredibly fluid—a lot like lifting free weights— and your chance of developing unsightly muscle imbalances is greatly reduced.
Because the barbell is Olympic-sized, it's much sturdier and is also far easier to grip than a regular counterbalanced Smith machine bar. Obviously, a firmer grip enables you to produce more pressing power, which is one of the key drivers behind strength (and thereby muscle) development.
As with the more affordable Body Solid Series 7, the CSM-725WS has a subtle 7-degree slant built into its frame to provide a natural range of motion. What this means to you is that you're able to recruit more muscle fibres and stimulate faster hypertrophy because your joints are already aligned in their biomechanically-optimal positions.
Of course, this also reduces your injury risk since you're not forced into any unnatural movement patterns.
Yet you can also take the concept of natural movement patterns a step further by lifting free weights in the half rack station, whose safety catches are rated to a hefty 362kg. Ironically, this whopping weight capacity makes the CSM-725WS sturdier and stabler than most self-styled commercial-grade Smith machines (and much more so than the BodyMax CF380).
That said, the most striking feature of the squat rack station for any strength training-enthusiast is undoubtedly the wing-lock J-Hooks. Unlike regular bar holders, you don't need to detach the wing-lock J-Hooks from the frame to reposition them. Instead, you simply pull a small adjustment tab and—as if by magic—the J-Hooks glide up and down the rack like a cable column.
Clearly, this ease of adjustment makes the CSM-725WS an excellent choice for performing supersets and high-intensity weight lifting. Albeit, a fairly expensive one.
The three cable stations—lat pulldown, functional trainer, cable row—come equipped with dual 90kg weight stacks that, like the Smith machine, provide an irresistibly smooth lifting motion that's reflective of the CSM-725WS's light commercial profile.
If you want a workout system that's easy to install but which doesn't compromise on versatility, then the Body Power Smith machine is a fantastic homegrown choice for UK lifters.
The knurled Smith machine bar enables you to maintain a secure grip—at all times—and generate maximum barbell velocity. This weight lifter-focused design naturally makes the Smith Half-Rack the ideal machine for maxing out.
Yet if you fail on that new 1RM attempt, then you needn't panic. The Smith Half-Rack provides 12 steel lockout points so that you can re-rack the heavy-duty barbell—at any point during a rep—with a simple flick of the wrist.
Unlike standard Smith machines, the Smith Half Rack also includes an integrated squat rack for barbell training. Besides adding variety to your exercise regime, this setup lets you achieve optimal hypertrophy since you can now work your muscles with both free weights and machines—without the need for a spotter.
The squat rack comes complete with textured J-hooks and impact-resistant barbell catches, both of which are height adjustable. Therefore, even if you can't drum up the energy to re-rack the barbell, you're still safe because the shock-absorbing barbell catches will always have your back.
But Body Power doesn't stop there. They've equipped the Smith Half Rack with built-in pull-up and dip stations to improve your bodyweight strength, effectively turning it into a multi gym Smith machine.
I particularly like the pull-up station because it offers close, medium, wide, neutral and underhand grip options. Add in the landmine attachment, which you can use for t-bar rows, and you can see why the Smith Half Rack is so effective for building a big back at home.
As if that wasn't enough, Body Power also includes band pegs so that you can perform variable resistance training (great for increasing lockout strength).
And on the storage side of things, we're treated to 4 solid weight plate pegs, completely negating the need for weight disc trees.
The Powertec Roller Smith Machine is a best-seller here in the UK and has been on the market for over ten years, benefiting from several major upgrades along the way. One such update is the addition of the eight bearing-driven wheels, which provide more precise tracking for the barbell by enabling it to glide up and down the guide rods without any friction.
This new design results in a whisper-quiet, and hence, a remarkably smooth lifting motion that's symbolic of Powertec's commitment to providing commercial-quality workouts at home.
As a strength-training-focused company, it wasn't surprising to see that Powetec opted to equip their Roller Smith Machine with a solid 20kg Olympic barbell. Unlike the flimsy bars that you find on the typical counter balance Smith machine, Powertec's knurled Olympic barbell is much easier to grip—enabling you to generate more pressing power—and offers a considerably higher weight capacity. In this case, an impressive 204kg.
Of course, this inherent sturdiness makes the Roller Smith Machine a brilliant investment for advanced lifters who want to test the limits of their strength. However, it's an equally reliable choice for beginners who want to enjoy the benefits of barbell training, but who also demand a high degree of safety.
And with 12 steel lockout points that enable you to re-rack the barbell at any time during a set, it's clear to see that Powertec is serious about user safety.
Yet even if the unthinkable happens—the one-in-a-million mistake—and you accidentally drop the barbell, then you don't have to panic. Because you know that Powertec's adjustable spring-loaded safety catches will always have your back. Consequently, you obtain that priceless peace of mind that everybody craves: you can push to failure and aim for new PRs without worrying about getting pinned underneath the barbell.
The Roller Smith's heavy-duty 12 gauge steel construction is another reliable indication that Powertec is in the business of creating only the best Smith machines. How this benefits us is that the frame doesn't wobble around while we're working out, thereby enabling us to lift harder and heavier (hence Powertec's willingness to give us a lifetime frame warranty).
On the storage side of things, Powertec includes two angled weight pegs that allow us to keep our workout area tidy and, as a result, free from potential trip hazards. Also, since the weight prongs are angled, the plates can't slide off, which again helps us to avoid injury.
If you're at all familiar with Powertec, you'll know that they specialise in customisable leverage gyms, where you can essentially create your own plate loaded home gym by choosing from a selection of attachments. Well, their Roller Smith machine is no different.
With some creativity and a bit of budget behind you, you can pick and mix over 10 attachments (including a Smith machine lat pulldown) and transform your machine into a fully-fledged home gym. I won't spoil the fun, but basically, if you're remotely into strength training, you'll feel like a kid in a candy shop when you're effectively watching your dream home gym take shape before your eyes.
If you're wondering which Smith machine to buy for your fitness facility, then the Life Fitness Smith Machine might just make your decision that bit easier.
This linear Smith machine has a built-in 7-degree frame angle to mimic the human body's natural movement patterns. What this means for you and your members is that you're able to achieve better muscle stimulation and a more effective workout because your joints are already aligned in their optimal position .
The benefits of this are especially noticeable during the bench press, where having a slight angle to your lockout makes you significantly stronger by better activating your triceps.
Also, with a 20kg starting weight, this isn't your typical flimsy Smith bar (which you often find on lower quality counter balanced Smith machine systems). Instead, it makes training more enjoyable by providing users with a familiar free weight feeling. And when combined with the 220kg weight capacity, it supplies up to 240kg of resistance  .
As one of the biggest fitness companies in the world, it's no surprise that Life Fitness is big on safety—and their Smith machine gets the full treatment. It has 11 steel bar hooks so that users can re-rack the barbell at virtually any point during their set with a simple forward wrist turn.
Naturally, this user-friendly design makes the Life Fitness Optima one of the top choices for commercial gym owners because it allows their members to train safely without a partner. Also check out their Hammer Strength Smith Machine if you're wanting to buy Smith machine systems for a commercial facility.
But since the Optima also has a built-in squat rack, it's an excellent investment for smaller commercial gyms who're working with limited space and/or budget. The squat rack has 14 lockout points and as such, enables users to perform a variety of different exercises without needing to make any adjustments.
On the theme of saving space, Life Fitness also equips their Optima Smith machine with eight storage pegs and a barbell holder. With this built-in storage, you won't need to clutter up your facility with cumbersome weight disc tress, meaning that you'll have more space for equipment (and an all-around less claustrophobic training environment for members). Overall, it's a fantastic commercial grade Smith machine.
Based on my testing of over 40 different Smith machines, the best Smith machine for home use is the TuffStuff CXT-200.
When you want to buy a Smith machine cheap, the cost is undoubtedly an important consideration. So how much is a Smith machine? On average, a Smith machine in the UK costs £1500 without weights or a bench.
You can save a nominal amount of money by getting a used Smith machine. However, second hand Smith machines are notoriously poor quality in the UK (and sometimes even downright dangerous).
If we're talking about buying a 3D Smith machine, then the prices are even higher—usually around £2500-£4500. But in my opinion, they've not worth the money. In fact, I think they're a gimmick.
You can click the link shop for discount Smith machines and get the lowest price in the UK (sorry, America).
I recommend the Powerline PSM144X because it has the lowest Smith machine price tag in the UK. Yes, it's only a basic model. But it's more than sufficient for home workouts. Plus, it has a variety of upgrades than you can buy at a later date (or as part of a package deal) to create your own Smith machine with pulley system.
If you want a sturdy bench, then I recommend investing in the TuffStuff CXT-200 because the optional bench has 7 adjustable angles, a 272kg weight capacity and also comes with a lifetime warranty—hence why it's widely considered the top Smith machine for home gym and light commercial use.
At a minimum, you'll need weights and a bench. But if you enjoy free weight training, then it might be worth picking up an Olympic barbell and some dumbbells. However, some of the products mentioned in my Smith machine review already come with a bench—cables too—so it's a good idea to double-check the product description before you place your order for any Smith machine attachments.
Based on more than 40 home gym Smith machine reviews, the best Smith machine for the money is the TuffStuff CXT-200.
Besides boasting the most fluid Smith weight machine on the UK market, this luxury workout system has cables galore. In fact, this isn't even a Smith machine, because you're effectively getting a fully-fledged home gym.
Here's what I mean.
For less than the cost of a crap used car, you get a lat pulldown, a low row, a functional trainer, a pull-up station and of course, the 245kg-strong Smith machine.
And that doesn't even include the 7 training accessories or the amazing (and surprisingly affordable) upgrades.
The icing on the cake?
Because these 5 sturdy training stations are all commercial-grade, the CXT-200 comes with an ironclad lifetime warranty on everything—you'll never need to buy gym equipment again. Plus, at the current UK sale price during October 2020, you're getting a bargain if you're based in Britain.
Similarly, the Body Power Smith Half Rack is a great mid-range option if you don't need cables. It's an affordable, UK-exclusive Smith machine that comes with a squat rack, pull-up station, landmine station, dipping handles, a suspension trainer attachment and, of course, a heavy-duty Smith machine.
But if you're on a budget, and still want to get your hands on one of the best Smith machine home gym systems, then I recommend picking up the inexpensive Powerline PSM144X.
It's a fantastic replacement for barbell training because it has a 181kg weight rating and provides a really smooth lifting motion. You don't get all the bells and whistles of some of the other products that you saw in these Smith machines reviews, but it has everything that you need for an intense home workout. And word has it that the PSM144X is on sale until the end of October 2020, so it looks like you could grab yourself a bargain if you act fast.
Thanks for reading my Smith machine review post! I hope that you enjoyed my countdown of the seven best Smith machines UK edition. And hopefully, you can decide which piece of equipment is right for you.