The best home gym cable machines allow a smooth, even feel throughout the range of motion. The tension never drops off, it’s the same from start to finish.
Competitive bodybuilders need something like this to etch in the detail it takes to look great on stage.
Fitness trainers need the best cable machine to get the most out of their training.
A good cable machine also help beginners get off to a great start.
You should know that there’s more than one type of cable machine. There are functional trainers and cable crossover machines.
In this guide, we will review the best cable machines available. Let’s jump right in!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
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The 12 Best Cable Machines
- Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer & Smith Machine – Best Overall Cable Machine
- Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer – Best Budget Functional Trainer
- Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station – Best For Bodybuilding
- Valor Fitness BD-62 Wall Mount Cable Station – Best Compact
- XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine – Best For Fitness
- IRON COMPANY BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer – Best For Beginners
- HulkFit Cable Crossover – Best Power Cage-Style
- Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X – The Best Cable Crossover Machine
- Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine – Best Budget Cable Machine
- Body-Solid DPCC-SF Cable Column Machine – Best Single Column Cable Machine
- FreeMotion Dual Cable EXT Crossover – Best Versatility
- BowFlex Blaze – Best BowFlex-Style Machine
Reviews – The 12 Best Cable Machines
1. Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer – Best Overall
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The Inspire Fitness FT2 is a self-contained combination cable machine and a Smith machine.
The dual 165lb cable stacks feature 32 height adjustments. That’s a total 330 lb. weight capacity. The resistance ratio is 1:2, which means every lb. loaded equals 2 lbs. of weight.
This cable machine is made using steel construction for strength and durability.
It includes the FT2 unit, 6 pulleys, assorted cable handles, an ankle strap, and a Smith bar. With these accessories, you can do numerous floor row cable exercises and upper cable exercises.
Additional included accessories are an Olympic bar, an EZ style bar for pull-ups, 2 water bottles, an exercise book, and a tablet holder.
Additional extra-cost options include another 50lbs per stack, a bench, a preacher curl pad, and a leg extension unit.
There are also 2 weeks of free smartphone streaming workouts. All of these features combine to create a complete home gym.
Since this is one of the bigger cable machines in this guide, make sure you know what the assembled dimensions will be.
In this case, the FT2 is 85.5″ L x 61″ W x 88″ H. Measure and make sure you have enough room.
Note that the pull-up bar height is adjustable. This comes in handy if your ceiling is not quite high enough.
Finally, Inspire Fitness offers a limited lifetime warranty on the frame and parts.
- All-In-One Home Gym
- Dual 165lb Stacks With 1:2 Ratio For Double Resistance
- Pulleys Feature 32 Height Adjustments
- May Be Hard To Assemble
2. Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer – Best Budget Functional Trainer
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If the Inspire FT2 is a high-end functional trainer, the FTX is a budget version. Like the FT2, the FTX is a functional trainer cable machine.
There are two weight stacks and a dual-handle pulley system. There is a D-handle on each side of the cable machine, with a pull-up bar across the top.
Each weight stack holds 165 lbs. with a total of 30 swivel pulley positions. The resistance ratio is 1:2.
No-cost accessories include a triceps rope, EZ curl bar, the two D-handles, and a dip/chin belt. Extra-cost options are a bench and an Ab bar.
The Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer is a simpler cable machine when compared to the FT2. It’s also a more budget-friendly piece of home gym equipment.
While this is a little smaller than other cable machines in this guide, you should still know your available space and assembled dimensions.
In this case, the FTX is 40″ L x 54″ W x 85″ H. Make sure you measure!
Like the FT2, there is a limited lifetime warranty on the frame and parts.
- Two 165lb Weight Stacks
- Several Accessories Included
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- May Be Too Low For Taller Users
3. Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station – Best For Bodybuilding
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The Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station is manufactured using durable steel construction and can be floor-mounted for optimal stability.
Before you bolt it to your floor, know the size of your intended space and the assembled dimensions of your Valor Fitness BD-61. In terms of size, the BD-61 is 50″ L x 56″ W x 81″ H.
There are 16 adjustable pulley positions and two D-handles that attach to a single plate-loaded cable system.
The BD-61 features a double bar track for smoother movement.
The stack takes Olympic weight plates. You can also use standard plates. The BD-61 has a maximum load capacity of 250lbs and allows users to perform a complete workout.
There is also a low-pulley, high-pulley, a lat bar, and a dual-handle pull-up station.
The Valor Fitness BD-61 has a 1:1 stack to user ratio, which means that you feel 1 lb. for every lb. lifted.
The downside is that lower body exercises are limited with this cable machine. Primarily, you can do single-leg cable pulls using an ankle strap. Yet, you could use the D-handles and do squats.
Still, the features and resistance ratio make this the best choice for bodybuilding.
- Features 16 Positions
- There Are 16 Pulley Positions
- 250lb Max Load – Uses Weight Plates
- Takes A Long Time To Assemble
4. Valor Fitness BD-62 Wall Mount Cable Station – Best Compact Cable Machine
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The Valor Fitness BD-62 Wall Mount Cable Station looks more like a lat machine than a functional trainer.
This is due to a design that saves space over other units. In fact, it’s our best compact cable machine.
Your biggest concern will be the height, so it’s a good idea to know what the assembled dimensions will be.
How much space does it take up? How’s 25.5″ L x 24.5″ W x 80″ H sound? That’s not much!
This is a wall-mounted cable machine that features two pulleys and 16 height positions. The dual pulleys swivel so you can perform unilateral and bilateral movements.
The Valor BD-62 features a plate-loaded carriage system and can hold Olympic plates. It will also take standard plates.
It has a double bar track for smoother movements and greater stability.
The total load capacity is 200 pounds with a 1:1 resistance ratio. You can exercise your upper body muscle groups with the Valor Fitness BD-62, as well as limited leg work.
There’s an extra-cost accessory bundle that adds a V-bar, triceps rope, and triangle bar for more versatility.
- Compact Design – Wall Mounted For Strength
- Features Dual Pulley System With A Double Bar Track For Stability
- Holds 200lbs Max Weight Load – Uses Weight Plates
- The Olympic Sleeve Is An Extra-Cost Option
5. XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine – Best For Fitness
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The XMark Cable Machine Functional Trainer is a versatile cable machine that’s manufactured using 11-gauge steel construction.
It comes with two weight stacks at 200 lbs. each and a 2:1 resistance ratio. This means that every 2 lbs. lifted will equal 1 lb. of weight. So, if the unit has 400 total lbs., the maximum weight load you’ll lift is 200 lbs.
That may be OK for fitness and general training, but bodybuilders and strength trainers will have a problem with the weight being cut in half.
Features include an adjustable bench and two pulleys with 19 height settings.
Two D-handles are standard. Included accessories include a triceps rope, long bar, short bar, and an ankle strap.
There’s also an attached split-grip pull-up bar. In fact, the pull-up rig and pulley system are smooth and commercial gym quality.
You can work your entire upper body and perform leg exercises such as squats. Additionally, it’s a big unit so your space should be big enough to hold it.
Know your assembled dimensions before you put it together.
In the case of the XMark, it’s 43.5″ L x 65″ W x 83″ H. As we have been noting, measure your exercise space before buying.
The versatility, even resistance, and the fact that the weight is lighter make this the best choice for fitness training.
- Includes An Adjustable Bench
- Features Two 200lb Weight Stacks
- There Are 19 Position Adjustments
- This Unit Takes Up A Lot Of Space
6. IRON COMPANY BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer – Best For Beginners
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If you’re a beginner and have decided to buy a compact cable machine, this is your best choice.
The BodyCraft HFT is manufactured using 11-gauge steel tubing. The two 150 lb. weight stacks can be upgraded to 200 lbs. each. That makes the weight capacity of this unit 400lbs.
The stacks use a 2:1 ratio which means that each stack provides a maximum weight load of 75 lbs.
This ratio is meant to provide smooth resistance and an improved range of motion. It’s also a proper amount of weight for beginners.
The dual pulley columns feature 31 height adjustments. Plus, the pulleys themselves rotate 180 degrees.
In terms of size, the HFT is 40″ L x 56″ W x 82″ H. We don’t need to remind you to measure.
There’s also a complete accessory package that includes long and short bars, straps, D-handles, and an exercise book.
Finally, there’s an attached multi-grip pull-up bar shaped like an EZ curl bar. This machine allows beginners to work different muscle groups for a complete workout.
The exercise book gets them off to a good start by showing how the exercises are done.
- Heavy-Duty Steel Construction
- Dual Upgradeable Stacks With 31 Height Adjustments
- Includes A Complete Accessory Package
- Assembly May Be Difficult
7. HulkFit Cable Crossover – Best Power Rack-Style
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The HulkFit Cable Crossover unit is an extra-cost option for any HulkFit Power Rack.
This is a dual plate-loaded cable crossover machine that opens wide enough to not interfere with the power rack. The suggested load capacity of this unit is 1000 pounds.
It features a height-adjustable, pivoting pulley system, which makes this a good option for multiple upper body exercises.
The downside is it requires 10 feet of open space to open up completely. That’s on top of the space needed by your existing power rack.
As you can see, you need to know how much space you have available.
Besides the power rack itself, it’s 31.2″ L x 29″ W x 81″ H. That’s for one side. Remember this is a plate-loaded cable machine that attaches to each side of your power rack.
Additionally, there’s no listing of the total number of height adjustments.
Still, the features and ease of use make this the best power rack-based home cable machine.
- Convenient Power Rack Attachment
- Dual Plated Loaded Pulleys – Holds 500lbs
- The Cables Are Tested For 1000lbs
- You’ll Need Enough Space To Spread Out Each Side
- No Option For Standard Plates
8. Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X – The Best Cable Crossover Machine
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The Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X is a great cable crossover machine for your home gym.
Powerline is the economy brand made by Body-Solid. That doesn’t mean this is not a well-built unit.
It features sturdy steel construction and patented nylon bushing technology. It also has 8 sealed ball bearings for smooth movement.
There are two plate-loaded pulley stacks with high and low pulleys on each stack. It can take up to 190 lbs. of standard or Olympic plates.
In terms of size, the PCCO90X is 39″ L x 112″ W x 82″ H. That’s a lot of width. Not all home gyms will be able to accommodate even the best cable crossover machines with that kind of width. As always, measure first!
The Olympic sleeves are an extra-cost option. Another extra-cost option is a pull-up bar that attaches to the top beam.
Even though this plate-loaded cable machine was designed for cable crossovers, you can use it for 37 exercises.
These features make the Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X the best cable crossover machine for your home gym.
- Features Two 190lb Plate-Loaded Stacks
- Takes Standard Or Olympic Plates
- There Are 37 Available Exercises
- This Takes Up A Lot Of Room – Make Sure You Measure!
9. Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine – Best Budget Cable Machine
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Here’s a cable machine that features two 160 lb. weight stacks that can be upgraded to 210 lbs.
The Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer has two pivoting cables with D-handles included.
There’s also a straight bar across the top for pull-ups. The cables are height adjustable with 20 total positions.
How much space will you need? The PFT100 is 42″ L x 63″ W x 83″ H. With a typical home cable machine, and certainly all but a couple of the cable machines in this guide, height is the primary concern. Not every home gym has 7 or 8-foot ceilings.
As with all cable machines, you can effectively work your entire upper body. You can also perform numerous lower body exercises.
If there’s a downside to the Body-Solid Powerline PFT100, it’s that there are no accessories included. An adjustable bench or other bar attachments are extra-cost options.
Still, the quality, features, and price point make the Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer the best budget cable machine for your home gym.
- Includes Two 160lbs Stacks – You Can Upgrade Each Stack To 210lbs
- There Are 20 cable Height Adjustments
- Good Price Point
- No Accessories Included
10. Body-Solid DPCC-SF Cable Column Machine – Best Single Column Machine
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Here’s a single-column cable machine with dual D-handles for iso-lateral exercises. The quad pulley pivots for a good range of motion. The DPCC-SF uses fiberglass reinforced nylon pulleys for smooth movement and strength.
There are 18 position adjustments. You can do 100 exercises with this machine.
The DPCC-SF frame is constructed of 11-gauge 2. 375 in. x 4. 625 in. tubing. This is a compact unit, measuring 43″L x 34″W x 83″H. As usual, the height will be your main concern.
The stack comes with 210lbs, and it’s upgradeable to 310lbs. at extra cost.
Finally, the DPCC-SF can be a standalone cable machine or combined with other home gym machines from the Pro Clubline.
- 100 Available Exercises
- Comes With 210lb Weight Stack – 310lbs Available
- Can Be Combined With Other Pro Clubline Machines
- Some Users Feel There’s A Seesaw Effect When Using Both Handles
11. FreeMotion Dual Cable EXT Crossover – Best Versatility
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Here’s a unique cable machine if there ever was one. It’s one of the best cable crossover machines reviewed in this guide.
It features rotating arms with D-handles. Each arm is designed to imitate virtually any movement pattern.
The EXT is constructed out of durable 7 and 11-gauge steel tubing. It can support a weight capacity of 350 lbs.
Plus, it measures 60″ L x 113″ W x 84″ H and weighs 925 pounds. The imposing width comes from the rotating arms being fully extended. Here again, you’ll need to make sure your home gym can handle it.
You can perform a wide range of exercises with this machine. There are two independent 210 lb. weight stacks. This means two people can work out at once.
For reference, there are 16 exercises displayed on the front of the machine.
The only included accessory is an ankle strap. There are no other accessories included. If you need a bench, it costs extra.
- Two People Can Exercise At Once
- The Cable Arms Imitate Any Movement Pattern
- There Are Two 210lb Stacks
- There Are No Real Options
12. BowFlex Blaze – Best BowFlex-Style Machine
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One of the best cable machines currently available is BowFlex. These popular machines come in a variety of designs that meet the needs of any home gym.
In this case, the BowFlex Blaze provides multiple cable and pulley positions. This means you can do up to 60 exercises.
The Blaze comes with 210 lbs. of exclusive power rod resistance. It’s upgradable to 310 and 410 lbs. at extra cost.
There is a sliding seat so you can do cardio and leg presses. Also included are a lat bar and a squat bar. All of these features provide good versatility.
In terms of space, this is a little more compact than some of the other cable machines in this guide. It measures 90″ L x 38″ W x 83″ H. The main concerns are length when in use, and height.
Finally, the bench folds for storage and has wheels for easy transport.
- Up To 410lbs of Power Rod Resistance
- Multiple Cable And Pulley System Allows 60 Exercises
- The Bench Folds For Storage
- Some Users Feel The Cable Length Is Not Well-Suited To Certain Exercises
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Cable Machine
What Is A Cable Machine?
It’s an exercise machine that uses a cable and pulley system for resistance.
There are two main types of cable machines. They are:
This is typically a dual weight stack machine. A functional trainer provides quite a bit of exercise versatility. The best example is the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer & Smith Machine.
The pulleys are height adjustable and pivot, so you can perform exercises for the entire body.
However, leg exercises are limited to primarily isolation movements.
Still, you can effectively work your upper body with a variety of exercises.
Cable Crossover Machines
Cable crossover machines are designed to perform cable crossovers but can be used for other exercises.
A cable crossover machine will not be as compact or as versatile as a functional trainer. A good example is the Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X.
Types Of Resistance
There are two types:
Plate-Loaded – Most plate-loaded cable machines use standard or Olympic weight plates. For value-conscious users, standard weight plates are the best choice.
Weight Stack – Most of the cable machines of this type use dual weight stacks. Only a few use a single-weight stack.
What Does Ratio Mean?
As noted, cables provide even resistance throughout the range of motion, unlike free weights.
Secondly, there’s a predetermined ratio with cable machines. Here’s how it looks:
1:1 Ratio – Every lb. you lift will equal one lb.
2:1 Ratio – Every two lbs. you lift will equal one lb.
1:2 Ratio – Every lb. you lift will equal two lbs.
This helps explain why one machine may feel different than another, even when using the same weight.
Most cable machines have a maximum load capacity of 200-220 lbs. Many of the weight stack-style units come with dual weight stacks of 150-165 lbs. each and are upgradeable to 200-210 lbs.
Plate-loaded versions can usually take Olympic or standard weight plates up to 200-220 lbs. per side.
Most of the movements you will be doing are mainly isolation exercises, so using heavy weight is not as important.
Still, regardless of intended use, you should always have a machine that provides a buffer. This means buying a machine with 50-75 lbs. more per side than you plan to use.
The actual assembly of cable machines may not be hard, but you might find you need another pair of hands.
If you have the room, lay out your functional trainer or cable crossover machine and make sure you have all the pieces. Also, make sure you have the required tools.
Since you probably won’t be moving it anytime soon, assemble it where you plan to use it.
To that end, check the assembled dimensions before you put it together. Nothing is worse than finding you don’t have the room you thought you had.
What Muscles Does A Cable Machine Work?
It should be noted that a cable machine is not intended for powerlifting or pure strength training. It’s better suited for bodybuilding, fitness, sport-specific training, and general conditioning.
As noted, you can work your entire upper body with a cable pulley system. For example, you can perform exercises such as cable crossovers, cable flies, and cable presses for the chest.
For the back, note that most cable machines include an attached pull-up bar. You can also do high or low cable rows.
Some cable machines include a lat pulldown bar, so you can also do lat pulldowns for the back. Also, you can use the lat pulldown bar for triceps work. The best example of this is the Valor Fitness BD-61 Cable Crossover Station.
For shoulders, you can do any type of lateral and front raises.
Biceps work includes close-grip chins, cable curls, and cable versions of bicep dumbbell exercises.
Other triceps exercises include overhead extensions. You can also perform ab work.
This is by no means a complete list but is instead meant to give users an idea of what can be done using the best cable machine.
A bench and additional bars add more exercise variety.
For beginners, many of the machines in this guide include an exercise book.
Intended Use & Budget
If you intend this unit to be your main machine, you will want to make sure it has everything you are looking for at a good price point.
Certainly, you can spend a lot on the best cable machine. You will also need a bench and a good assortment of attachments.
Do you plan to use it for specific exercises? You will need to pay attention to the available features. For example, if you want to do lat work, does it come with a lat bar?
You may also want to buy one that attaches to your current power rack, such as the HulkFit Cable Crossover for example. A unit like this will be more budget-friendly than a stand-alone cable machine.
Everyone has unique available space for home gyms.
Do you have limited space and are thinking in terms of portable exercise equipment? Then the best cable machine is not the right choice for you.
Even the most compact units are designed to stay in one place. Indeed, the most compact cable machine in this guide, the Valor Fitness BD-62, mounts to the wall.
If you have space, the Valor Fitness BD-62 and a power rack is a great place to start.
As noted, if you have reasonable space for a home gym, measure and make sure you have the room, especially height.
When you measure, make sure you measure L x W x H because while every unit is around 7′ tall, some are over 9′ wide.
While most cable machines come with two D-handles, some of them will also include several types of bars.
This may include a lat bar, a short bar, a V-handle, a triceps rope, and an ankle cuff.
Still, others include a bench and even a preacher curl pad along with a leg extension/curl unit.
However, even the best cable crossover machines will not offer as many accessories.
A cable machine is one of the best investments you can make for your home gym. The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer & Smith Machine is our best overall.
It’s specifically designed for smaller home gyms. This is because the FT2 is a self-contained Smith and cable machine plus a functional trainer in one unit.
This includes a bench, two 165lb stacks, an attached Smith bar, and assorted attachments. The ratio is 1:2, which means every lb. you lift equals two lbs.
If you’re a beginner, the IRON COMPANY BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer is the best choice. There are two 150lb weight stacks but it’s a ratio of 2:1, so the actual resistance is 75lbs for each stack. That makes it the perfect place for a beginner to start.
If fitness training is your priority, the XMark Cable Machine Functional Trainer is the best choice. It features two 200lb stacks with a 2:1 ratio along with various attachments.
The features make it a good choice for fitness training because you have the versatility and do not have a weight that may be too heavy. At the same time, the feel is smooth and even.
Whether you’re looking for your next piece of equipment or your first, a cable machine is a great way to go. Use this guide and choose the best one for your needs!