If you’re looking to build up your own bench press and upper body, there’s very little that compares to a home weight bench. However, the market is saturated, and some products are much better than others.
Today we’re going to discuss what separates these out and how you should shop smarter. We’re going to talk about what to look for, as well as some great (and not so great) examples.
Stick with us if you’re ready to get a great chest workout at home.
- Flat Bench OR Adjustable Bench?
- Top 5 Flat Benches
- Top 7 Adjustable Weight Benches
- Weight Bench Buying Advice
- Final Thoughts
Flat Bench OR Adjustable Bench?
The difference between a flat bench and one that is adjustable can make or break your choice. This is key because they allow for very different exercises.
The flat exercise bench is exactly what it sounds like: a flat, 180-degree bench that should sit parallel to the floor. This is used for the regular bench press, which is also known as ‘flat bench’. This brings a certain level of stability and markedly reduces the overall price of the flat weight bench compared to an adjustable bench.
On the other hand, an adjustable bench tends to be more versatile but less stable. These are a more multi-purpose workout bench – they offer versatility for incline bench presses and seated exercises. This obviously means adjustable weight benches are more expensive and less durable.
The kind of training you plan on doing is going to determine which of these suits your needs better.
However, whichever kind of weight bench you’re looking for, you want to get the best product for your cash – and as little cash as possible!
We’re going to break down our weight bench review into adjustable and flat benches. These different pieces of equipment are like apples and oranges: you can’t compare them directly. We’ll use a different set of criteria for each, since they have different goals and designs.
Top 5 Flat Benches
1. Rogue Flat Utility Bench
The Rogue flat weight bench follows the classic Rogue profile of a product combining economy and quality. It’s a high-quality bench at a price that you’re not going to regret.
There’s not much to say about this product aside from the basics, but it’s exactly this approach that makes it a great standard. The product is well-built and shows off some of the clear priorities that we have for a flat bench.
The pad is well-made, a decent 12” width, and the base is angled to reduce movement when bench pressing. This is also met with a solid joining process and generally well-finished to reduce the risk of joint-rusting or shearing.
Rogue ships this product fully-made, which is an attempt to reduce the risk of insecure production. There’s a clear market issue with this, and Rogue’s ready-to-use design is one of the reasons this flat weight bench already has a reputation for sturdiness and simple, brutal effectiveness.
The Rogue bench is a quality piece of equipment but doesn’t innovate much. However, the quality is undeniable, and the angle of the stand is a great little tweak, producing a solid and stable experience.
2. Rep Fitness Flat Weight Bench
The Rep Fitness flat bench is a good quality piece of equipment. It doesn’t have the same angled profile to the legs, which produces a slightly less reliable, stable experience.
The actual quality of the bench is pretty good, with a decent spec and a tolerable finish. The feet-caps are as unreliable as ever, but this is a really common part of using an economy bench press.
There’s also some rusting possible with this product that you’re less likely to run into with Rogue or other manufacturers. The pad itself is okay but the inner, wooden material is not as durable or study as the Rogue model, which may be an issue over time, as it can flex more easily.
We’d also like to see a D-handle and wheels on this frame, but that’s really not a necessity. The construction may also require some tweaks so keep a socket wrench or spanners nearby when sorting this product out (the ones that come with the bench are low-quality).
It’s a decent product, but marred by some issues here and there, so at the very least it’s got economy on its side.
3. Marcy Flat Utility Bench (600lbs rating)
This is another product that comes with a pretty standard size and spec, which is good to hear of.
The legs aren’t amazingly stable and can provide some serious wobble compared to the Rogue bench. Comparing it to the Rep Fitness product, it is clearly lower quality due to the material choices.
The foam of the bench is easily compressed and doesn’t wear as well as the Rep Fitness pad. This also makes the bench more difficult to use on a day-to-day basis with reduced stability. It will reshape if you’re using it regularly and is a clear ‘you get what you pay for’ situation.
Overall, this bench doesn’t fair amazingly well with others and the wobble, poor foam density, and questionable weight-rating all add up. It’s one of the cheapest benches we’re going to be discussing today but that’s clear from the construction!
4. Titan Fitness Flat Bench with Handle
Speaking of economy benches, the titan fitness flat bench is a welcome change of pace. While it’s still an economy choice, the construction and design are much better than the Marcy bench, and it has some convenience features that put it ahead of the Rep Fitness bench.
The first place to look is the increased build quality and heavy-duty design. The steel gauge is better than we’ve seen with the Marcy bench, and the overall joining is hardier. It also comes with a handle and wheels, which is amazingly useful!
The “footprint” is larger than the Marcy bench and provides more stability, with significant foot-caps. These may provide some greater stability, though they’re still not as well-considered as the rogue angled legs.
Sadly, Titan’s notoriously hit and miss quality control is a concern here, as with other products we’ve reviewed. They’re marred with occasional welding issues and poor machining, which can make the product far more difficult to build/use than intender. It also lacks lateral support, which can make it less stable if you lose balance sideways or rest weights on the bench.
Cosmetic issues are also relatively common with scuffs and other issues when receiving the product. Overall, it’s a good product that could be much better if there was a little more care in the quality assurance and shipping methods.
A functional bench, but it’s always a little bit of a risk when dealing with this kind of quality assurance.
5. PowerBlock Travel Weight Bench
This product attempts to provide a lightweight and portable weight bench. This might be useful for some, but we’re not entirely sure what the point of it is. If you’re buying a weight bench for your home gym, why would you need to carry it around?
The construction is very light, and the lower foot is incredibly narrow. There are no foot-caps on this small area, and it is likely to provide very little actual support. The tripod build isn’t inherently bad, but this design is far too small and unstable to handle significant weight reliably over time.
This product is billed as a “travel workout bench” but we’re not sure who is using this or why. This seems to overlook the need for weight on a weight bench, which isn’t very easily transported.
Overall, this product seems to be filling a niche that is not really much use. It’s a small and unreliable product for a home gym. If you’re traveling around the country with your weights and weight bench in your car then perhaps this is the product for you.
The design is very shaky, too compact to provide the basic functionality of a bench press, and is rated at only 300lbs of weight. This means an average-sized man will be hanging over the top of the bench, wobbling around, and can’t lift more than 120lbs in the bench press on this weight bench.
This definitely isn’t the right choice for a home gym, and we’re perplexed as to what the intended purpose of this product is.
Top 7 Adjustable Weight Benches
1. Rep Fitness Adjustable Bench
It’s interesting to see that the Rep Fitness adjustable weight bench is a far more convincing product than their flat bench. Right from the start, it hits our criteria of looking great, performing well, and has a durable design.
From the initial impressions, we’re glad to see a minimalist adjustment system, even if it does reduce some of the overall stability. The locking-pin type of bench has more stability, but it also has a much greater risk of stupid damage/malfunction.
The Rep fitness model and it’s latch/peg design is more than good enough, and it looks/functions really well.
However, all of this only applies once it’s assembled, which can be tricky to say the least. There are some difficulties constructing this for most people, made worse by occasional machining errors. At the very least, it’s fair to say that they’re not generous to the customer!
Overall, a good quality product but seriously marred by the overall quality assurance issues. Overall, however, once it’s set up and assemble, the Rep Fitness bench is a great choice.
2. IronMaster Adjustable Weight Bench
The IronMaster is a decent adjustable weight bench, with a significant design and effective 1000lbs weight-rating. There are some cool quick-adjustment mechanisms and the overall design is quite aesthetic.
There’s a good selection of positions on this bench, even if the lock and pin design is combined with a relatively light design. The overall design is lighter-weight than we’d like and the seat itself is attached with a single arm around the bench itself.
These design choices may look cool, but they’re also relatively weak compared to stronger designs. The overall build quality is decent enough, but also struggles to provide the stability and strength that we’ve seen in Rep Fitness and many of the fixed weight benches.
There are also some issues with the height of this bench’s frame, which is oddly tall for such a small bench. Even customers that enjoyed this product report that this is often a concern and the ability to stabilize yourself against the floor is somewhat challenged as a result.
3. Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0
As before, the rogue design philosophy and habits produce a great product. There’s not much that’s truly revolutionary about this product, but it’s a significant step up from what we’ve seen so far.
The Design is a standard latch style, with a fantastic support arm that is designed to take the weight across the whole frame. This is great for the flat bench position, while the overall design is heavy duty and the supports are great.
We’d like to see more positions on the adjustable bench, but this allows for a stronger construction. It’s a trade-off but, for most people, this is not going to be a particularly significant problem. You’re probably not going to need twice as many positions, since there’s not that much specificity when it comes to bench presses, flyes, curls, or shoulder presses.
The overall design is good, but what we see here as issues are tied closely to being adjustable: a thinner pad, a narrower pad, and a reduced overall durability. This product is great, it compares well to other adjustable weight benches, but is lighter and less heavy-duty than Rogue’s own flat bench.
4. Bowflex Adjustable Weight Bench
We don’t particularly enjoy this product: it’s not horrible, but it does miss out on some of the most important aspects of the adjustable bench. Things like build quality, design, and the experience of use are all somewhat compromised.
The actual design is very thing and the head portion of the weight bench is sculpted separately. This occasionally produces breaks, where the head pad becomes detached or useless. Equally, the narrow design and the cut-out at the bottom make it a less effective flat weight bench.
The attachment for the feet is designed to support a decline bench press position – or for abdominal work – but the overall design is a little insecure. This can be a significant problem since you’re loading yourself with a barbell and relying on an unstable piece of equipment to carry you.
Problems with this product are relatively common, though not always in the same way. There are factory defects that appear relatively often, serious quality assurance problems, occasional cosmetic damage, and even issues of damage to the head pad (which may also shear off).
5. Xmark Adjustable Weight Bench
this is the closest thing we can see to an entirely standard weight bench. This is exactly the kind of product you’ll see in gyms all over the world and – on balance – it’s a pretty reliable and effective adjustable weight bench.
Is this the best adjustable bench for your home gym? Maybe. There’s a quality price tag with this product, which is nice, and the overall construction and joinery are great for the price. You may have to tweak the fastenings, but the overall product is a good place to start.
There are some standard functional issues with this product compared to others. As with other products we’ve mentioned, the height is a little mismatched to the overall size of the product. The foot support is also oddly placed and not adjustable, so it can easily get in the way of your benching.
There are also some mild cosmetic issues and the attachment of the pad to the frame itself may need adjustments. You can tweak this bench to make the most of it but, as a pretty standard piece of kit, it may need adjustments and replacement bolts/screws over time since they wear rapidly.
Overall, a good product but not the perfect finish or construction. It’s good, but it’s wearing its price tag on its sleeve, despite being a good adjustable workout bench.
6. Powerblock Sport Bench
This product has a very odd little profile, with a very low-slung frame. This is an interesting choice and it makes for a very easily-stored product. This doesn’t necessarily make it a problem, but it does come paired with a reduced overall stability.
The footprint of the product itself is a mild concern since the tripod is a significantly smaller frame than you’d get on a flat bench. It’s also smaller than many others on this list, which tend to produce a significantly different experience.
The light-duty design is also a clear indication of what to expect. This product has a significantly lower weight-rating than we’d like, at only 550lbs. This is an average-sized man with 300lbs – which is pretty low considering that there are decades of use ahead of this product, if you’re using it for your home gym.
The movement of the bench along the floor is a significant problem due to this small footprint and lacking effective foot caps. The padding itself isn’t amazing quality due to a lower density than a lot of other benches.
The finish of the bench itself and the quality of the bench pad are issues. They’re not amazing but they’re also met with a poor-quality customer service department that makes returns and reporting problems oddly difficult.
7. Reebok Professional Aerobic Deck
The Aerobic deck is a very odd choice for use as a weight bench. It’s not only a significantly smaller, weaker construction, but also not designed for the use of significant weight.
The weight rating is 330lbs which, depending on your size, is less than a human could reasonably weigh. This doesn’t even begin to count the weight you’d need to use to get significant benefits – which would also be over 300lbs within the reasonable lifetime of a weight bench.
This clearly can’t keep pace with the other products on this list at any area. This involves a weak latch system, an insecure foot setup, and the overall structure is not ready for significant weight.
This product may be able to double up as a weight bench, but it doesn’t set itself apart as an adjustable weight bench. It’s a tolerable multi-use product but if you have any ambitions for actually getting good on the weight bench, this isn’t the product for you.
Even at this cost, this isn’t the best economy product: it’s hard to establish any real value for money when there are such serious limitations. You can’t build a quality product on just a low price tag, which is how we’d consider this as a weight bench. It’s cheap and versatile, but very ineffective as a bench.
Weight Bench Buying Advice
What separates the best weight bench from the rest? You’re always going to need to look at the key characteristics when making a choice on where to spend your money.
There are a few areas you need to check on whether you’re buying a flat or adjustable bench press. These cover things like durability for the long term, the comfort of use, and their ability to improve your training experience.
Obviously, you want a product that lasts and works. But beyond these fundamentals, what should you look for in specific?
The material with which the bench is made and finished are absolutely crucial. They contribute to almost every aspect of your use of the bench.
The quality and density of the materials used is essential for the inside of the bench pad, the metal structure, and the material on the outside of the pad. These determine how long the bench will work as intended, but also how useful it will be for bench pressing, flyes, and beyond.
The internal padding/build of the bench pad is important. Some economy options use a cheap padding inside the bench, which can lead to deep depressions in the material.
Poor build also reduces the overall stability of the bench over time. We recommend getting the highest density finish possible – or even a hard core with a high-density filling. These offer stability and durability, which are always big benefits.
The choice of metal and the quality of joinery makes a huge difference. You’ll find that a better product is coated to prevent rust, which is useful if you’re running a garage gym. Equally, joint integrity is key for long-term use and the last thing you want is for your bench to break during a set!
The finish of the bench pad (the bit you lay on) is also important. You want to get something grippy – a slick bench finish will really reduce stability. You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe and, equally, you can’t reliably bench huge weights on a slippery bench.
The right choice of materials thus makes the best weight bench – or at least it’s necessary for the best bench. Picking the best within your price range is often a good choice as an investment and keeps you safe while supporting performance (and stopping you buying twice!).
The bench pad width is absolutely key to getting a better bench experience.
This is one of the factors affecting how stable you are on the bench and there are very few experiences less fun than benching without proper pad width. This can lead to sliding and a feeling of extreme instability.
When you’re lowering 100s of pounds of weight to your chest and locking it out above your face, this can be daunting. You don’t want to be worrying about losing position on the bench during this process – proper pad width is a key player here.
The width of a flat bench tends to be pretty good, while adjustable benches are generally narrower. This is a trade-off for versatility, of course. When shopping, try and get the best pad width possible to support the shoulders and offer more stability.
This is one aspect that will show up in how it feels to use a weight bench, so be diligent!
Durability and adjustments/mechanisms
Whether you’re using an adjustable bench or a flat bench, there are going to be joints and moving parts. These are a common area where economy versions can scrimp and save, but it also makes for a more problematic product.
If you’re getting an adjustable bench, it’s going to be key to look at the build quality and durability of the mechanism. This is the first place that most adjustable benches will break, so you need to be careful and choose accordingly.
On a flat bench, this is less of a problem since there are less moving parts. However, you should still be concerned about the wheels and any areas where the pad joins the frame. As ever, these areas are the most problematic that may cause you to retire the weight bench someday.
Consistent issues with sheared bolts, poor levers, etc. should raise red flags on any adjustable bench. Fortunately, we’ve highlighted where to look for these and which products to aim for/avoid.
Use and reviews
The obvious starting point for a lot of the experience of using a product comes from the features and how existing customers have found them. On top of the things that are clear from the specifications, we’ve also collated key review points.
This is something we always recommend when you’re looking for a product: consider how it has been received. If there are specifics that you’re concerned about, it makes total sense to refer to those who have a similar experience with the product.
The feeling of using a product is key and more so if you’re using it for a significant amount of work. With a weight bench, if you’re using it 2-4 times a week for years to come, the experience of using it is going to be key.
This is something you’ll have to compare to benches you’ve used or read reviews. Of course, we’ve outlined what you can expect in some regards.
When it comes to the flat bench, we love the Rogue product. It offers a quality and design-thoughtfulness that you can’t beat. From the finish of the product to the angling of the legs, this product produces the most stable and secure platform from which to press or flye.
We already expect amazing quality from Rogue, and it’s seen here, too, with a product that provides amazing quality at a decent price. However, the Rep Fitness bench provides a great product at a great price. The economy really does weigh in Rep Fitness’ favor.
If you’re looking for a product that you’re going to hammer with use all the time, benching 2-4 times a week for the rest of your life, the Rogue choice is best. There are dozens of exercises you’re going to perform on this product and the additional support arm makes it the clear best choice for flat benching as well as various incline/seated movements.
However, if you’re not benching with such huge frequency, or if you’re not going to be punishing your bench with tons of use, the Rep Fitness bench may be a better choice. If you’re trying to save on an adjustable weight bench, it’s definitely our favorite.
Both of these products are amazing for their combination of economy and quality. If you’re leaning towards quality, go Rogue, and if you’re more focused on economy then Rep Fitness is the winner.
Getting the best weight bench just requires you to ask yourself what you want from it, whether you’re more focused on economy or quality, and how much use it will see. These simple factors, combined with the buying advice we’ve put together above, are all the guidance you need.
We’ve done what we can to demystify the market, and we hope that whichever product you end up with helps you reach – and surpass – your goals!