A great weight bench is arguably the most vital piece of equipment in any home gym—so much so, that when we help clients design a home or commercial gym, it’s often the first place we start. But what makes a weight bench worthy of such high honor? Here’s what to look for when making your first weight bench purchase.
First, a better bench will have less bolts and more welds. Simply put, a welded frame means fewer flaws—whereas putting separate components together with bolts means more opportunities for weakness. As any mechanic will tell you, bolts aren’t perfect—and 2 bolts can never handle as much weight as a solid steel weld.
Second, the gauge of the steel—and the pure mass of the bench itself—are two factors that contribute to bench stability and support heavier loads. Shop for benches in person (as opposed to online), and don’t be afraid to compare benches around you. Take a look at the frame, and ask the sales representative directly what the steel gauge and total weight of the bench is. The heavier the bench, the more weight it can support.
Third, consider the real differences between a residential bench and a commercial bench. Even if you’re an avid lifter, don’t assume that a commercial bench is the right choice for your home gym. A popular style of residential bench that’s not found at many commercial gyms is an FID bench, which stands for flat, incline, decline. An FID bench enables you to perform a variety of exercises in a compact space. Very few commercial style benches have this feature, which may be important given your own space needs.
That said, also be sure to look closely at bench upholstery. While residential benches tend to be more soft and “squishy” than their commercial counterparts (and thus more comfortable), commercial benches favor stability over comfort. Too much cushioning means less stability, so try out a number of benches to determine what’s right for you.
Finally, when trying out different weight benches, be sure to check the bench’s seat adjustments—not just its back adjustments—to make sure it’s comfortable for you.
Still not sure where to begin? Here are our top picks for superior weight benches:
- FID Bench (Flat/Incline/Decline)
- Very versatile
- Extremely sturdy
- Firm upholstery for ideal stability and support
- Completely adjustable
- Highly durable
- Ideal for tall users
- Wide base for complete support
- Completely adjustable
- FID Bench
- Fully adjustable
- Flawless stability