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The Very Best Weight Benches

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

A weight bench serves as the station to perform many basic weight-training exercises, like bench presses and dumbbell and core work, to name a few. Having a bench at home saves you from playing musical chairs (benches?) with ten other sweaty gym patrons, limiting your actual time spent working out. And owning the right home-gym equipment is crucial to making sure your routine is as safe and effective as possible — especially when weights are involved. A good weight bench should have a firm, supportive cushion — not a plush one that will sink in when you sit or lie down on your back. While ultimately it comes down to preference, we think the best weight benches offer a Goldilocks-type option: a pad that’s firm (but not so stiff that it feels like plywood), yet cushioned enough to provide comfort for longer sessions. Here, we’ve rounded up the best ones, according to weightlifting coaches, personal trainers, and other experts who practically spend just as much time on a weight bench as their own mattress.

Best overall | Best (less expensive) overall | Best incline-decline | Best flat bench

What we’re looking for

Weight: Much like how a good pair of weightlifting shoes provides a stable base to push from, a good weight bench functions as a kind of anchor. “Whether you’re using it for barbell work or dumbbell work, you want something stable enough to not move around or collapse on you while slinging weights,” says Paolo Galang, a certified Olympic weightlifting coach. That sturdiness comes partly from the construction of the bench, and partly from its own weight. Generally, the heavier the weight bench, the more stability it can provide — but more weight might make it harder to assemble. “For adjustable benches, you should look for one that is 50 pounds or heavier,” suggests Dean Pohlman, a yoga and fitness instructor. A bench’s weight capacity, or the maximum amount of weight (user plus weights) it can support, is not as crucial to look at. Most weight benches available for home use (including the ones in this list) have capacities from around 600 to 1,000 pounds, which is well above what the average person will be reaching with dumbbells or a barbell.

Angle adjustability: There are three main types of benches: flat, adjustable incline, and adjustable incline-decline. Flat benches have a single cushion and won’t have an adjustable back or seat, while the other two types will have one or both adjustments. If you’re wondering which kind of bench to get, consider the types of workouts you’ll be doing. “Some folks are looking to use it for just a bench press, in which case a flat bench is all you need, while other folks are looking for something with more versatility — then you might want to consider something with adjustments,” says Philip Doblosky, a sales representative at Johnson Fitness & Wellness.

Storage type: Weight benches can be permanent fixtures in your home gym setup, or they can be as portable and stowable as some gym mats. It depends what your priorities are. “For some customers whose main concern is space and storage, I’ll recommend one that can fold up and be put away easily,” explains Doblosky. There are weight benches that fold up like an ironing board, roll around on wheels, and have carrying handles like a hand truck, while others are not designed to be taken apart often.

Best overall weight bench

125 lbs | Steel frame | 10 back adjustments (0 to 85 degrees), 3 seat adjustments (0 to 30 degrees) | Two wheels and pull handle, stores upright

If you’re looking for a bench to invest in (and one that will surely be around by the time you’re gone), look no further than the Adjustable 3.0 from Rogue Fitness. It comes recommended by two of our experts, who both noted the bench’s outstanding quality and bombproof steel construction. “We’ve had Rogue Fitness benches for ten-plus years, and they’re never going to break,” says Colin Gray, the general manager and master trainer at EVF Performance. “The only wear we’ve seen is the upholstery might get scuffed with time, but otherwise they’re sturdy.” The Adjustable 3.0’s ten back-adjustment positions and three seat positions make it a versatile bench that can be used for multiple exercises. One standout feature is the less than one inch of gap between the seat and back pads, which provides more support for the user than benches with a wider gap between them. Rogue also offers an upgraded polyurethane pad (the vinyl one is standard), that is, according to customer reviews, supposedly grippier. The 3.0 has two wheels toward the headrest and a pull handle near your feet, so you can move it around your gym space like a dolly. It also stores upright, if you’re looking to get it out of the way. Rogue Fitness is a maker of top-quality workout equipment that we’ve written about, from trainer-favorite dumbbells, to jump ropes, to weightlifting belts, to squat racks. “Any equipment from Rogue Fitness is sure to be top quality,” Galang says.

Best (less expensive) overall

Deracy Adjustable Weight Bench

49 lbs | Steel frame | 7 back adjustments (including decline), 3 seat adjustments | Two wheels and grab handle, does not fold for storage

Consider this bench from Deracy if you’re seeking a more affordable bench that has both incline and decline adjustments. When we asked yoga and fitness instructor Dean Pohlman about what to look for in a good weight bench, he pointed to his Deracy model for three main criteria: “It’s adjustable, stays in place, and it’s well made.”

Best incline-decline weight bench

85 lbs | Steel frame | 7 back adjustments (-20 to 85 degrees), 4 seat adjustments (0 to 20 degrees) | Two wheels and grab handle, does not fold for storage

This is the model we’d recommend to most folks who are looking for a quality weight bench with a variety of features. Rep Fitness is also a well-known maker of high-quality gym equipment. “The Rep Fitness adjustable bench is a good sturdy alternative that’s about half the cost of the higher end brands,” says Galang. It comes with fewer back adjustments than the Rogue Fitness Adjustable Bench, but it does have one more seat adjustment, plus the ability to decline and two foam roller pads for securing your feet — features that the Rogue model doesn’t have.

Best flat bench

Marcy Flat Utility Weight Bench

18 lbs | Steel frame | Flat | No wheels, does not fold for storage

This no-frills weight bench is all you need for simple workouts like some dumbbell or core exercises. If you’re not planning on using any incline-decline adjustments, this is also a good bench to pair with a rack — like this one that contributor Jason Stewart incorporated into his home-gym setup — for barbell exercises. The Marcy bench doesn’t have any fancy storage features, but at 18 pounds, it’s relatively easy to pick up and move around.

Our experts

• Phillip Doblosky, sales representative at Johnson Fitness & Wellness
Paolo Galang, certified Olympic weightlifting coach
• Colin Gray, general manager and master trainer at EVF Performance
• Dean Pohlman, yoga instructor and founder of Man Flow Yoga
• Jeremy Rellosa, Strategist writer

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The Very Best Weight Benches