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Cable machines aren’t most people’s first choice when it comes to picking out equipment for their home gyms, but they are certainly a worthwhile investment for those who have the space and money for them. They’re a versatile piece of equipment, offer great strength training benefits, help you build muscle, and generally last a long time (assuming you take care of your machine).   

The best cable machine for home gym use is the one that fits your training needs, space, and budget. In this roundup, we’ll give you options from our favorite cable machine to one that can be taken on the road for a workout at anytime, anywhere. Cables may not be as effective or convenient as free weights, but that doesn’t mean you should discount them. 

Why You Should Trust Us

We put quite a bit of time and effort into our “best of” lists, from actually using the equipment to going back-and-forth with our team members on why we like one entry over the other. Sometimes that results in passionate debate, which in our eyes is actually a great thing.  

We know that our audience has different training preferences, space constraints, and budgets, and our team reflects that. We have people with large, small, and even mobile home gyms and we use that experience to give you options for everything from the best dumbbells to the cable machines you see here.   

6 Best Cable Machines for Home Gyms 

Best Cable Machine Overall: Tonal 

Good for: People who need an all-in-one home gym that can deliver a full-body workout 

Best Cable Machine
Tonal Smart Home Gym
Tonal Smart Home Gym

Looking for a complete home gym that fits in a compact space? The Tonal smart home gym offers 200 pounds of resistance, more than 170 moves, and a range of full-body exercises. Plus, the AI gets to know you as a lifter the more you use it, so the workouts will be customized to your needs.Tonal may be effective, but it's not budget-friendly. The machine sells for $3,495 (which does include professional installation), but you still have to pay a $50 monthly subscription fee on top of that.

My Favorite Things:

  • Resistance up to 200 lbs/side
  • Most complete smart home gym currently on the market  
  • AI-powered resistance is incredibly innovative
  • Removes the guesswork from strength training

My Callouts:

  • $49 monthly ongoing class membership fee 
  • Needs 7 feet of space around you to effectively use the machine
  • Included bench is low quality

Tonal isn’t what most people think of when they hear “cable machine,” but if you’re looking for a piece of equipment that can do it all you can’t do much better than this. The cable arms, attached to a wall-mounted touchscreen, can be adjusted to workout any muscle group and the digital resistance offers a unique stimulus that causes some lifelong trainees to quiver halfway through their set. 

Don’t stress too much about the weight, though. One of Tonal’s best features is the auto-powered weight suggestions, which are done through a full-body assessment you take when setting up your machine. This is great because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of resistance training, and customizes the experience to each user, though this feature can be disabled if you want to enter your own data. 

The customization doesn’t end there, as you can choose from different workout styles from strength training to kickboxing, and even yoga and meditation classes. A personal trainer will guide you through each workout and show you how moves are supposed to be performed. 

At close to $3,500, on top of a $49 monthly class membership fee (your first year is free), Tonal isn’t a piece of budget-friendly home gym equipment. That said, the fact that it’s wall-mounted means you’ll save a lot of space compared to other cable machines that don’t have nearly as much versatility. Plus, the cost includes delivery and professional setup (this isn’t a machine you can install on your own). 

Pssst: We have the best Tonal coupon!

Keep in mind you need at least 7 feet of space around your machine, and the resistance only goes up to 200 pounds. That might sound light, but the digital resistance feels much heavier than your standard loaded barbell (trust us). Not only that, but due to it using digital resistance, it can increase the load at various parts of the movement which is simply impossible to do with free weights.

To learn more, read my Tonal Smart Home Gym review

Best Cable Crossover Machine: REP Fitness FT-5000 

Good for: Trainees who want a durable and stable cable crossover machine. 

Best Cable Crossover
REP FT-5000 Functional Trainer
REP FT-5000 Functional Trainer

The REP FT-5000 is just like the functional trainer at your local commercial gym, and comes with dual 220 pound that have a 2:1 ratio, a frame constructed with 11-gauge steel, and three pull-up grip options (neutral, supinated grip, and wide-grip). Weighing in at 1,000 pounds, this is a heavy-duty functional trainer that doesn’t need to be bolted into the ground for stability. The powder coating is also chip-resistant, so it will perform well and look good for many years. At its highest point, the handle is only 52 inches off the ground and several reviewers stated this made it difficult for taller people to take full advantage of the machine. The only other major complaint was that the lowest weight, 13 pounds, was a bit too heavy for some isolation exercises.

My Favorite Things:

  • Dual 220 lb. weight stacks
  • Multi-grip pull-up/chin-up grip options
  • Ships partially assembled
  • Lifetime frame warranty 

My Callouts:

  • There have been some complaints of less than stellar craftsmanship  
  • Handle only goes up to 52 inches at highest point 
  • Starting weight may be too heavy for some isolation exercises

The REP Fitness FT-5000 is just like the functional trainer at your local commercial gym, just without the line of people hogging it while staring at their smartphone. It has dual 220-pound weight stacks with a 2:1 ratio, which should still be enough to give experienced lifters a challenge, and three pull-up grip options (neutral, supinated grip, and wide-grip). 

Weighing in at 1,000 pounds, and a frame constructed with 11-gauge steel, this is a heavy-duty functional trainer that doesn’t need to be bolted into the ground for stability. The powder coating is also chip-resistant, so it will perform well and look good for many years. 

Functional trainers aren’t necessarily the easiest things to assemble, but luckily this piece comes partially put together and should take two people only about two hours to finish. That’s always a win in our book. 

At its highest point, the handle is only 52 inches off the ground, and several reviewers stated this made it difficult for taller people to take full advantage of the machine. The only other major complaint was that the lowest weight, 13 pounds, was a bit too heavy for some isolation exercises.

The trainer comes with two d-handle attachments, which is a great start, but you can always buy different cable attachments from REP’s website to get even more out of your machine. 

Most Versatile Cable Machine: Force USA MyRack

Good for: People who want the functionality of both a power rack and a cable machine 

4.00
Most Versatile
Force USA MyRack Modular Power Rack
Force USA MyRack Modular Power Rack

Use code GGR5 at checkout to save 5% on all Force USA orders above $250! The Force USA MyRack is the most versatile power rack ever designed and can either be used freestanding* or when bolted-in to the floor to perform squats, bench presses, overhead presses, deadlifts, and more.Whether you train weightlifting, powerlifting, Crossfit®, Olympic lifting, calisthenics, gymnastics or just want to build muscle or burn fat, the MyRack is 100% customizable so you can take your workout to the next level.Start with the bulletproof MyRack base unit forged with precision welded, laser cut 12 gauge steel.The MyRack features westside spacing with 54 different numbered adjustment points to perfectly position any size user for bench press, squats and more. The lower bench level heights have 1-inch spacing while the squat height levels have 2-inch spacing.Next customize your MyRack with 20 different optional attachments including chin-up bars, pull-up bars, dip handles, landmine rows, lat-pulldowns, J-hooks, safeties, cable crossovers, and even a monolift attachment to unlock 100's of different configurations!Complete your power rack system with the versatile MyBench. Each MyBench features flat, incline and decline settings and comes complete with removable preacher curl attachment and separate leg developer.The MyRack has been engineered and tested to meet our rigorous safety standards and weight ratings. So you’re guaranteed the safest, highest quality power rack available.And, we stand behind every MyRack Power Rack we sell with our ironclad lifetime structural warranty. BASE RACK SPECIFICATIONS:Laser cut steel construction Height – 87″ Width – 47″ Depth – 55″ Interior Depth – 29" Extra-sturdy Steel Construction 12 GA Steel Uprights Westside spacing 54 adjustment points front and back 5/8" accessory holes 2.4" x 2.4" uprights Freestanding and bolt-in options Lifetime structural warranty Product Weight – 176 lbs. Arrives in 3 separate boxes

Pros

  • Large array of attachments to choose from
  • Get the added utility of a power rack
  • Affordable 

Cons

  • Adding the cable crossover attachment makes the footprint large
  • Cable crossover attachment only comes with one stirrup handle 

OK, hear us out: Although the MyRack is not a traditional cable machine—it’s actually a power rack—you’re able to purchase a wide array of attachments to use with it, transforming it into one of the most versatile, unconventional cable machines on the market. To put it bluntly, I love this rack—I think it provides tremendous value for anyone who wants a highly versatile, affordable piece of equipment.

MyRack’s fully customizable setup allows you to add a cable crossover, which offers 28 cable pulley adjustments and a 1,000-pound weight rating, for an additional $430, plus a myriad of other attachments like a chin-up bar, dip handles, and more. You can use standard or Olympic-sized weight plates on the cable crossover attachment, but beware that it’s only compatible with the MyRack power rack. 

Read our in-depth review of the ForceUSA MyRack to understand why we recommend it as a great value option.

Best Portable Cable Machine: MAXPRO SmartConnect Cable Machine 

Good for: People who need a cable machine that can be taken anywhere  

Best for Travel
MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine

The MAXPRO isn't some rubber band tied to a door. It is a serious compact cable machine that replaces numerous bulky cable machines found in your typical gym. MAXPRO brings you the latest revolutionary fitness technology with adjustable resistance from 5 to 300 pounds with a simple turn of the dial.Take your workout to the max with MAXPRO Fitness!

Pros:

  • Resistance up to 300 pounds
  • Lightweight and small footprint makes it extremely portable   
  • Can get a total-body workout with just one machine 
  • Various resistance settings
  • Free workout library

Cons:

  • Pricey for a small piece of equipment  
  • Clunky app  
  • Accessories and wall mounting system sold separately

The MAXPRO Smart Connect Cable Machine is great for people on the go, or even those in apartments who want the benefits of a cable machine. At 10 inches long, 16 inches in height, 4 inches in width, and weighing only 9 pounds it’s easy to bring it with you wherever you want to workout. 

Although small, this machine is capable of going up to 300 pounds in resistance with just a turn of a dial. Trust us, you’ll be feeling the burn on this one. 

While there’s quite a bit you can do with just the MAXPRO Smart Connect, you’ll need a wall mount or certain accessories that aren’t included in the purchase price but are necessary for lower body and some upper body movements. 

I’m a fan of smart home gym equipment, and though it’s great you can sync the MAXPRO via Bluetooth to an app that tracks your workouts, I found myself not using it too much. The app was too clunky during use, and sometimes it didn’t connect to my machine. Hopefully MAXPRO fixes this issue in the future. I do appreciate that the app comes with a free workout library, but again some of the moves are dependent on purchasing accessories not included with the machine. 

The cables do have a break-in period, but once you’ve used the machine for a while, you’ll see that they’re buttery smooth. 

Read our full MaxPro Smart Connect Cable Machine review to learn more. 

Best Compact Cable Machine: Vitruvian Trainer+

Good for: People who live in a small space and want a cable machine  

Compact
Vitruvian Form Trainer+
Vitruvian Form Trainer+

The Australian-made Vitruvian Trainer+ is a machine that only takes up 46.06 inches by 20.47 inches by 4.52 inches of space. This makes it easy to store wherever you have a few square feet of floor space.This machine allows you to complete over 200 different exercise movements and the weights intelligently adapt to you and your strength. These weights resistances range from 0 to 440 pounds, which means it can accommodate the vast majority of people with varying fitness levels.During your workout, the weights will adjust 50 times per second, so it’s like you have a real-life, personal spotter at all times.This product is quite expensive and is newer to the market. A lot of the reviews state that Vitruvian has a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to the app. As usual, it takes fitness tech companies a while to work out all of the kinks in these computer-controlled products.You are able to connect the Trainer+ to Bluetooth and the machine itself is very quiet. You are also able to purchase different add-ons such as a bench, handles, and straps.

Pros  

  • 30 pulley positions provide versatility  
  • Comes with a pull-up bar
  • Adjustable bench included with purchase 
  • Arrives partly assembled 

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly
  • May not be tall enough for some users 
  • Extra accessories sold separately

The Virtruvian Trainer + is one of the latest in the line of smart gym equipment taking the industry by storm. This unassuming machine—which is basically just a 44-inch-long-by-20-inch-wide-by-5-inch-high platform—is actually packed with technology, using computer algorithms to adjust and adapt the resistance as you work out. Weighing only 65 pounds itself and equipped with transport wheels, the Vitruvian Trainer+ is easily movable to allow you plenty of options.  

To use the machine, you’ll attach one of the handles—which are sold separately, by the way, and add a minimum of $300 to the cost of the machine—to the platform, stand on it, and perform a variety of movements, from deadlifts to upright rows to even bench press (utilizing a bench, of course). The technology senses your form, and will adjust the resistance as you follow along to the workout at hand. The monthly subscription is also an additional fee, but it’s really needed to get the most out of the Vitruvian Trainer +.

Read our full Vitruvian Trainer + review to learn more about this unique machine. 

Best Cable Machine for Home Gym on Amazon: Inspire Fitness FTX

Good for: Anyone who wants to buy a cable machine on Amazon  

Available on Amazon
Inspire FTX Functional Trainer
Inspire FTX Functional Trainer

The Inspire FTX is the little brother to the FT2. This cable machine comes equipped with dual 165-pound weight stacks at a 2:1 ratio, so you’ll expect to feel 82.5 pounds of resistance on each stack. This is more than enough for a beginner or even intermediate exerciser. This machine does have a large footprint at 54 inches long, 40 inches wide, and 82 inches high so you’ll need a dedicated space for it, but the versatility it provides could be more than enough to warrant the space (and financial) investment. The FTX comes with a tricep rope, two D-handles, a dual hook curl bar, and a chin-dip belt. You can also purchase these attachments separately: bench, ab bar, straight bar, ankle strap, 5-pound add-on weights, and rubber D-handles. 

Pros

  • Dual pulley system weighing 165 lbs each  
  • 30 pulley positions provide versatility  
  • Comes with a pull-up bar
  • Adjustable bench included with purchase 
  • Arrives partly assembled 

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly
  • May not be tall enough for some users 
  • Extra accessories sold separately 

While we haven’t tested the FTX, we have firsthand experience with the Inspire FT2, the bigger brother of this machine. While the FT2 has a smith machine included as well, the construction and quality of these two trainers is much the same. 

The FTX has dual weight stacks of 165 pounds each, and with a 2:1 resistance ratio, that means you’ll expect to feel 82.5 pounds of resistance on each pulley. It has a space-saving design and a smaller footprint, plus it comes partly assembled, which is a huge plus. 

With a 4.7-out-of-5 star rating on Amazon, reviewers have a lot of good things to say about this functional trainer, citing that it feels durable, smooth, and versatile. One downside is that a few taller users said that even with the cable at the highest setting, it was still too short for them to achieve a full range of motion, so be aware of this if you’re vertically gifted.

Best Cable Machine Attachments

Some cable machines may only come with a standard handle, while others may come with every attachment you can think of. 

Here are some cable attachment packages we recommend:. 

REP Fitness Pro Series Cable Attachments: We love this series because it comes with five high-quality attachments capable of targeting most of your muscle groups, and it’s a great value for the price of about $250. 

BalanceFrom Cable Attachments: You can’t do much better, in terms of value, than this set of five cable attachments for about $130 (excluding shipping). These pieces, though, aren’t the most durable but they’ll serve most home gym owners well. 

Spud Inc. Pulley System: The Spud Inc pulley system has a weight capacity of 550 pounds, and is also lightweight and compatible with most cable machines. 

Looking to buy a la carte? These are some attachments we heavily recommend you purchase along with, or shortly after your cable machine. 

  • Triceps Rope: Despite its name, a triceps rope can be used for more than just your triceps. It’s also capable of performing biceps, shoulder, back, and abs exercises. 
  • Lat Pulldown Bar: Not all cable machines can be used to do lat pulldowns but for those that can, a lat pulldown is a necessary investment.  
  • Ankle Strap: This is simply a strap you attach to your ankle so you can perform moves like leg extensions with your cable machine.   
  • Double D-row Handle: Great for seated rows, and can also be used with barbells and dumbbells to target different areas of the biceps and back. 

Multi-grip Curl Bar: A multi-grip curl bar allows you to target different areas of your chest, triceps, and biceps all with one handle. 

Other Cable Machines We Researched

We’ve only been able to try out some of these home gym cable machines, but they just didn’t beat out our top picks. 

Bodysolid Powerline Cable Crossover Machine PCCO90X: This cable crossover station is highly recommended by many, but nobody on our team has been able to try it out yet. 

Valor Fitness BD-62: Similarly, this isn’t a machine we have any familiarity with. 

Titan Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown: This is a great machine that uses standard Olympic plates to provide the resistance, and it comes with a low row handle and lat pulldown bar. But other than that, you can’t do much with this machine, though it is great for heavy lifters looking for a challenge. 

NordicTrack Fusion CST: We love the iFIT programming available with this machine and have used it on other products, but we haven’t used this specific one before. 

Fray Fitness Functional Trainer: I used to be a fan of this functional trainer, but feel as though its performance has declined in recent months. 

OYO NOVA Gym: This is a tiny functional trainer that can provide up to 40 pounds of resistance, and perform 200 exercises. The technology behind it is inspired by the way NASA astronauts train in space, but our reviewer Amanda Capritto says it lacks durability and is more geared toward beginners due to its low level of resistance. 

How We Picked and Tested the Best Cable Machines for Home Gyms

Besides workout experience and price, we looked at a variety of factors when constructing our best cable machine list. 

Weight Stacks 

We wanted to make sure the cable machines we recommended were light enough for isolation exercises, but challenging enough for any compound movements you wish to do with them. Similarly, we looked at whether the weight capacity could work for people of all fitness levels.  

Versatility  

A cable machine should perform a variety of exercises, allowing you to target upper body and lower body muscles. There are some, though, that only target one specific muscle group until you buy additional equipment, like a low pulley for lower body movements. 

Adjustments

Adjustment here not only refers to changing the weight between moves, but how many height positions the machine has and if it can work for multiple users. 

Benefits of Cable Machines

Because cable machines come in all shapes and sizes, we’re instead going to concentrate on the benefits of using cables. And unlike your television habits, there’s a lot of reasons why you should never cut the cord. 

Faster Muscle Fatigue 

Unlike free weights or even resistance bands, cables work your muscles at all times during the lift. This means your muscles will get fatigued quicker, which results in muscle growth. 

Safer

Dexter Jackson, one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, has credited cable machines as part of the reason why he was able to compete past 50. Cables don’t put as much stress on your joints and stabilizer muscles, and while nothing in life is risk-free it’s much harder to hurt yourself with them than a barbell or dumbbell. 

Versatile 

We’ve talked about the fact that cable machines can hit all muscle groups, but you can also hit those areas from angles that are more difficult to reach using free weights. “Free weight resistance provides a force vector straight down towards the ground,” personal trainer and strength and sports doctor Mike Masi says. “If you want a different angle to hit a different body part, you’ll have to manipulate your body around that force vector. But with a cable machine you can just slide the handle higher or lower to get the desired effect.”

He adds, “All in all, cable machines are not necessary but provide more flexibility and variety that can keep your gym routine from getting stale.”

All in all, cable machines are not necessary but provide more flexibility and variety that can keep your gym routine from getting stale.

Mike Masi, strength and sports doctor

What to Look for in a Cable Machine 

Ready to find the best cable machine for your home gym? Here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Space 

A cable machine is probably going to be one of the largest purchases you make for your home gym in terms of space, next to a power rack. You can certainly get a good cable machine that won’t take up much space, but if you’re looking for the best of the best you’ll want to make sure you have a good amount of space to dedicate to it. 

A good guide would be to have at least 7 feet of vertical space, and 6 feet of horizontal space dedicated to your cable machine. This will ensure you can get enough range of motion during each exercise. There are some space-saving ones that are mountable, or come with just one weight stack. 

Adjustments 

One of the benefits of cable machines is the multiple pulley positions that allow you to get a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment. But some machines have more adjustment positions than others, either due to their size or construction. 

Although not technically an adjustment, you’ll want to try to get a pulley machine that can swivel so you can engage more muscle groups in different lifts. 

Cable Handle Attachments 

Most cable machines will come with single handles, which you can do flys and other moves with but if you’re looking to increase the versatility you might want to invest in a curl bar or triceps rope at the very least. 

You’ll also want to check to see if your cable machine comes with pegs for you to hang your attachments on, or figure out another way to keep them secure when they’re not in use. 

Price Point 

This one’s pretty self explanatory, but we’ll also add that it might be worth spending a little more for a high quality machine rather than saving by buying a cheap (I mean that in terms of price and craftsmanship) one. 

FAQs About Best Cable Machines for Home Gyms

Can you build muscle with cable machines? 

Due to the fact that cable machines put constant tension on the muscle tissue, they’re a great way to build muscle mass. 

Are cable machines as good as free weights?  

It depends on what you’re training for. Free weights are the better choice for those looking to focus on strength training, but cable machines are just as good for those looking to focus on hypertrophy (building muscle) or conditioning. 

Are cable machine weights accurate? 

Yes, and no. Cable machine weights are accurate but you’re not always pulling 20 pounds due to something called the pulley ratio, which is how much force it takes to lift a certain amount of weight. So a cable machine with a 2:1 ratio only takes 10 pounds of force to move 20, and only 5 pounds of force to move the same weight on a machine with a 4:1 pulley ratio. 

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