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Smith Machine Buying Guide

The smith machine originated in the 1950’s and was designed to be a safe sliding barbell alternative to be used in conjunction with free weights. They operate from two vertical steel rods that a fixed bar glides up and down using either bearings or bushings, the sliding bar can be locked into a series of many locking slots from a parallel frame allowing you to lock the smith bar at almost any point through the exercise your performing.

Smith machines are the perfect partner if your weight training at home without a spotter, the option to return the bar at any point makes them substantially safer than a normal barbell. They also feature a pair of back up bar catchers that provide a stopping point for the bar preventing it from sliding any further down than you would like in case you struggle to lock it into place.

Key Features

Press Bar

The pressing bar is the focal point of the smith machine; the components that construct this one part can be the difference between a smooth motion and a juddering one that would ruin your workouts. It all comes down to the quality of the bushings in the press arm, most of our models are brought in from Marcy because they use fine Ultra Glide Bushings to ensure a great feel, some of the top specification models go one further and use linear ball bearings for a supreme feel like that of a commercial standard.

Weight Bench

All of our models come with a weight bench of some form, in some cases it is pre-fixed to the rest of the frame which can limit your workout options. The vast majority have a removable one that you can slide out to perform squats in the cage and dumbells with the bench or combine together for bench press and shoulder press exercises.

Build Quality

Safety is a major factor for anyone lifting weights so you need to be sure the machine you’re using can withstand the weights you want to be lifting. A weight capacity rating should be clearly noted in the features that can give you an easy reference on the limits, if it doesn’t then stay clear, it may look durable but it can be a whole different story when you get to use it. Quality smith machines use heavy gauge framework that is constructed with steel, it is robust, durable and long lasting and will provide the years of use that you want to get out of it.

Workout Stations

A lot of our models nowadays are more versatile then any multi gym you could hope to come across, this is because they combine the cable design with the smith to create almost a hybrid of the two offering high pulley stations and low pulley stations for lat pulldowns and seated rows to combine with your smith bar workouts. This provides a perfect blend of heavy weight movements to combine with isolation moves for definition and is well worth their weight in gold.


  • Allow you to train at home without a spotter in complete safety so you can lift heavier and push yourself further without risk
  • They provide a superb range of effective exercises especially with cable stations built into them 
  • Perfect for starters as they have a fixed path of motion to keep your form solid
  • Allow you to train most of your major muscle groups with compound movements for muscular development

We hope that you have found this buying guide a helpful read, please feel free to view our range of smith machines.