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Wouldn't it be amazing if there was one multi-functional machine that will enable you to work almost every muscle in your body?
One machine that enables you to do full range motions work your muscles from all kinds of angles, switch between exercises with ease, and offers you whole new planes of motion to try...
Well, there is, It's called a Cable Machine.
And a good one can not only help you do all that, but it can also teach you proper form, help you isolate muscle groups, and a lot more.
So in this post, I'll help you find the best cable machine for home gym.
But first, we'll do a quick rundown on this unique fitness machine.
Last update on 2020-05-29 at 03:56 / Affiliate links = As Amazon Associates We Earn From Qualifying Purchases - Learn More
What Is A Cable Machine?
It's simply a fitness equipment utilizing the use of pulleys and cables to lift weight plates, which serve as the resistance.
The pulley allows for more weight to be lifted, which makes this machine an excellent choice for beginners.
But the ability to lift heavy weights, mix between exercises with ease and fast, and the ability to move in almost any direction make it an excellent choice for experienced gym-goers as well.
In fact, It's so versatile. You'll be able to do pretty much every type of exercise on a cable machine.
Let's Dive A Bit Deeper
The first thing that might catch your eye is their massive steel frame and large size.
Which might not make them the best addition to your home gym.
Unless, of course, you’ve got an extra space for one. (Don't worry though, I have included extremely compact one)
They often feature a weight stack that is connected to a routed system of cables by cams and pulley stations.
With one exception.
On other machines, you'll find a small version of a weight bar.
This helps reduce unit costs, weight, and even size.
But all the rest is the same.
As for the pulleys, well, in most machines, you'll find two independent pulley stations.
Some are adjustable, and some are not. As a general rule, adjustable = better.
And some machines will leave enough space for you to stand in the middle and do cable crossover exercises.
A cable crossover machine can really help you get a full and diverse workout.
That much-needed space will also allow you to add a weight bench if you like.
In most machines, the stack is placed inside a large metal frame that holds it together.
The overall weight load varies depending on the model.
Fortunately, there are a lot of models for you to choose from, depending on your budget, needs, and space available.
Side Note About Weight Stacks
In high-end machines, you'll usually see dual stacks, which is great.
Why? Because it guarantees you won't be splitting the weight load between your hands/legs when you're working both at the same time.
So, for example, if you set the weight to 50 lbs on each stack, you're actually lifting 50 lbs with each hand.
In contrast, when you lift 50lbs on a one stack machine, you're splitting the load between two hands/legs when you work both together.
How Does A Cable Machine Work?
Cable machines work in the same way as most heavy fitness equipment work, only with a couple of slight yet beneficial differences.
First, they provide constant resistance to your muscles.
There is no “resting point” when working out on one.
Sure, you can rest before you bring the cable slowly back to its pulley brace, but the cable is force teaching your muscles control.
That's because the tension is continuously applied on your muscles.
Thus it "teaches" you how to work your muscles throughout the lift.
And the ability to perform any type of controlled exercise, from pretty much any angle or plane of motion is a good method to isolate your muscles.
Which brings me to the next point.
It's a lot easier to do isolated exercises with a cable machine.
It basically means you can work on one muscle group or one part in your body that is slightly behind the rest of your body, strength-wise.
Furthermore, the fact that you can do a full-body workout is something worth noting.
Some would say It's the only gym equipment you'll need in your home.
But I'll leave that decision to you.
Why Cable Machines Are Good For You
The most important thing you should care about is the extra versatility it can add to your workouts.
But also, that in some ways, cables are better than dumbbells because they allow you to work your muscles from different angles.
That’s thanks to pulley stations that are adjustable.
They will allow you to change your starting position with every exercise, helping you “attack” your muscles from different angles.
Keep in mind, though, that the versatility of such a machine relies, partly, on the attachments you have for the machine.
You can hook a weight bar for biceps curls, or one hand handle to work one arm at a time.
And you can use the lower pulley stations with the same bar/handle/ rope attachment to work on your triceps.
Likewise, you can use the same rope to also work on your shoulders and back.
You can use a leg attachment to work on your calves, hamstrings, thighs, and more.
You get the idea, and the options are countless.
Another way cable machines have the edge over free weights is the fact that they provide constant resistance to your muscles.
Your muscles are under resistance when you pull down/backward and when you release up/forward.
Furthermore, they’re also great if you can’t just yet do any pull-ups.
For example, lat pull-downs allow you to work your back to a point where you’re able to do pull-ups on your own.
In short, you can get the max out of a suitable cable crossover machine.
Cable Machine - Pros And Cons
Despite the fact the movement stays the same, and the obvious bum that comes along when you see a high retail price on anything, there's a way to overcome the other two cons.
And that's by using a proper workout plan that covers all the major muscle groups in your body, and by combining free weights in your workouts.
Best Cable Machine For Home Gym
Looking for a cable machine for your home gym can be quite an exhausting task.
This is why I went ahead and picked the absolute best ones that will fit your home gym in 2019.
Besides picking them based on obvious factors like price and size, I took into consideration the following:
- Ease of use
- Included weight
- Weight ratio
- Number of pulley stations
- How many height levels do the pulleys have
I aimed for these requirements simply because these are the main points a solid cable machine should address.
But as someone who used his share of cable machines, you can rest assure I checked all the above, and then some.
However, like with any other fitness equipment out there, it's all up to you, your budget, and your goal.
1. Valor Fitness BD-62 Wall Mount Cable Station
If you're short on funds, or space, then the Valor BD-62 is an item you should consider.
Its small and compact design will fit most rooms. But don't let its size fool you.
The BD-62 is a well-built machine that can provide a solid workout session.
There are two pulley stations you can use with 2 single-hand straps.
BTW, there are 5 adjustable spots for the hand straps.
Furthermore, there are 17 adjustable positions for the pulley station you can choose from.
Adjusting the pulleys is also easy since you don't have to pull the pin out every time you want to change the height.
You just have to slightly pull the hedge pin while you slide the pulleys up or down the rail.
Another cool feature is the pivoting pulley brace that allows you to change the direction of your motion.
A nice feature to find on such an affordable machine.
Another thing that helps keep this model "budget-friendly" is the fact that it has a weight bar instead of a stack.
It's also what makes it a space saver.
Anyway, there's a dual-bar track on which the weight bar glides on.
This is to ensure the weight bar is stable and gliding smoothly on the tracks.
And finally, since we want to make sure it's stable, make sure you anchor your unit to the wall.
Bottom line, if you don't want to go crazy spending, you might want to consider this one.
2. XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine - XM-7626
If you're in for a top of the line machine, then I want to introduce you to the XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine, the XM-7626.
It sits and fits well in the high-end category of cable machines.
This massive piece of equipment can fill almost your entire home gym needs. First of all, its got dual 200 lbs stacks, which comes to a total of 400 lbs.
But the weight ratio is 2:1, which means that you're always lifting only half of the weight.
Nevertheless, lifting 100 lbs in one arm is not something everyone can do.
Anyway, the thing I love the most about this machine is its functionality.
Its got 19 pulley positions with 3.5" increments between each.
This assures you can exercise your muscles from pretty much every possible angle and direction.
And you won't have any trouble diversifying your workouts, because XMark has included a lot of attachments.
Furthermore, adjusting this machine to fit your workout and exercise is also fast and easy.
You just pull the safety pin a bit and slide it up or down the pulleys rail, and you're good to go.
Bottom line is, this is a top-notch, high end build, monster of a machine that can fulfill all your strength training goals.
It's expensive as heck, heavy, and takes quite some time to assemble.
3. PowerLine PCCO90X Cable Crossover
One of my favorite cable cross machines is the PCC090X from PowerLine.
First of all, it's a great choice if you're looking for one that will allow you to do cable crossover exercises.
There's just the right amount of space for you to perform any type of cable exercise you can think of.
However, that also means that this sweet piece of equipment takes up quite some room.
It's over 9ft in length!
But, It also means you can add a weight bench and diversify your workouts even further.
The PCCO90X Cable Crossover uses a plate load to create the resistance. It helps keep the machine's weight and price low.
Don't worry, though, even if you'll have to buy weight plates; the total is still less than most cable machines on the market.
The sliding rail is smooth, but there's some maintenance needed on your side.
A simple oil lubricate will do the job.
And as for the pulleys, well, you only get four fixed pulley stations.
Two upper and two lower.
All four located in the four corners of the machine.
And though having only 4 fixed pulley stations may sound a little, all the four swivel at-least 180 degrees, which is great!
So you can work your muscles from different angles.
Overall this is an affordable machine that can provide excellent cable cross workouts.
4. Body Solid Functional cable machine
So this one is not the most affordable piece on our list.
Nevertheless, it is one of the best. It might even be too much for some users.
This solid looking monster packs dual 310 lbs stacks that are connected to two pulley stations.
It's an upgrade from the old version that only had dual 160lbs stacks.
Anyway, you can adjust the two pulley stations vertically in 20 different height adjustments.
Furthermore, the cables, which are 4.8 mm in diameter, are connected to handles that can swivel at 180°.
This assures you can change the direction of the movement without any difficulty.
Another great thing about this machine is that there's enough space in the middle for you to add a weight bench.
Although it could get quite narrow when doing chest fly.
The resistance ratio is 2:1, which means that on the heaviest load, you'll actually be lifting 155 lbs.
Which is more than decent if you'll ask me.
And last but not least, there's a pull-up bar right in the middle.
As for the downsides, well, this is not a cheap cable machine.
And it's size might not suit your place.
Though when compared to other similar models, it's actually smaller.
So if you've got the space and the budget, this machine might be a smart choice.
5. Valor Fitness - BD-61 - Cable Crossover Station
Being one of the more affordable options on the market, the Valor BD-61, can be the right choice for you if you're on the budget.
There are better machines out there, but this one certainly gets the job done.
First of all, it's got two bars for you to load weights on.
The weight bars glide on a track, but you'll have to put weights on both sides for them to glide smoothly.
This doesn't affect you if you want to work on one arm at a time, though.
It's got two individual pulley stations that you can adjust in 17 different height levels.
Furthermore, they swivel, so you can be sure you can work your muscles from pretty much any angle.
And there's also a lower rowing station that will help you diversify your workouts even further.
Even more, it's got a chin-up bar so that you can work your lats, back, and arms.
No space in the middle to add a weight bench and this might turn you off.
But this cable machine can provide an excellent full-body workout.
On the downside, the BD-61 does not use high-end materials.
And you can feel it when you touch the pulley braces and the handlebars.
And like other machines out there, it can take you a while to assemble.
Especially if you're not handy.
6. Body-Solid - BFFT10R Functional Trainer
Another somewhat affordable cable machine on the market is the BFFT10 from Body-Solid.
It's got 19 height adjustments for its two pulley stations.
Both of them can swivel in 180 degrees, assuring you can attack your muscles from a variety of angles.
And Also, there's a chin-up bar for you to put extra care on your lats.
My major dislike, though, is that it only packs a 190 lbs stack.
And its 2:1 ratio means that you are only getting half of the resistance.
So, for example, when you set the resistance to its heaviest weight, which is 190 lbs, the resistance weight is 95 lbs.
And keep in mind that when you use both hands, the weight is even less, cause there's only one stack.
Oh, and because the weight resistance is too low, this model would not fit anyone who can handle big weights.
So would you benefit from this machine?
Well, yes, if you just want to blend a few cable exercises here and there, and not make it your center of workout.
On the good side, this is a sturdy and well-built cable machine that does what it supposed to do.
And maybe even more important, you can add a weight bench to take your workout up a notch.
7. BodyCraft - HFT - Functional cable machine
Another beast on the list is the HFT from BodyCraft.
Not sure if it can win the title of "the best," but it sure is a strong contender.
First of all, you can see right on the start that this is one solid looking beast.
It seems that every little detail has been thought of twice, from the smallest bolt to the cables.
It has two variations.
The only difference between the two is the weight stack provided. The first is a dual 150 lbs, and the second is a dual 200 lbs.
There are 31(!) height positions for you to choose from.
If that's not enough, the cables, which are nylon coated ("just in case"), swivel at 180°.
So you can be sure you can attack your muscles from almost every possible angle.
The ratio here is also 2:1, which means that you always get half of the resistance.
But on the other hand, the plates increments is 5 lbs, which is great.
This baby is not only rock-solid, but it seems that the people behind it knew what they were doing.
Everything is in place, no squeaking or creaking. It's all very smooth.
You can exercise your entire body with this one cable machine, and you can even add a weight bench.
Keep in mind that this is one pricey equipment, and it's probably the most difficult one to assemble on this list.
8. Inspire Fitness -FT1 - Functional cable Trainer
The FT1 stores inside more than the eye can see.
It certainly is one of the more beautiful machines on this list.
But let's start with the essentials.
First of all, its got dual 160 lbs stacks with a ratio of 2:1.
In essence, a dual weight stack forces you to stabilize yourself when you're working both arms at the same time.
But if that's not enough for you, you can upgrade your unit with an extra 50 lbs.
As for the pulleys, well, there are two independent stations, with 30 height positions.
Which is more than enough.
And the handle to adjust the pulleys makes the whole thing a lot easier.
I must say that this is the essayist pulley adjusting system I have ever seen.
In general, it seems that this cable machine is well designed.
It even has a built-in rotating shelf that holds all the accessories this machine comes with.
And it comes with a bundle.
Its footprint is a bit smaller than other machines, and its V shape form makes it easy to place in the corner of the room.
So it doesn't take the primary focus in the room if that's your goal.
The major problem I have with the FT1 is its price, which is slightly higher than similar machines at the same level.
I don't think having a rotating accessories holder, and a smaller footprint justifies the jump in the price.
Nevertheless, it's a great piece of equipment.
So What Is The Best Cable Machine For Home Gym?
Hopefully, I helped you a bit in your search after a cable machine for your home gym.
Different people have different goals, needs, and, obviously, budget.
Therefore, our top 3 picks, though based on a price level, also feature the most basic, yet actionable features a great cable machine should have.
So take all the information present in this post, and make an educated decision based on your goals, needs, room available, and budget.
To recap, our top 3 are:
On The Budget
Valor Fitness BD-62
Check it out here.
Best Runner Up
PowerLine PCCO90X Cable Crossover
Check it out here.
Top Of The Line Cable Machine
XMark - XM -7626
Check It Out here.