For people who get in trouble with their significant others for having free weights and weight plates around the home, cable machines can be the ideal solution to maintain that peace.
As a certified personal trainer, I undertook a 37-hour research to compile the list of best cable machines currently on the market. I also considered different Reddit and Quora reviews while also factoring in my own personal experience and tests done by our team with this fitness equipment.
After reading the article, you will be able to pick the perfect cable machine that won't break the bank but will still provide a substantial amount of value to your workouts.
The Best Cable Machines
- Best Overall Cable Machine: Rogue SLM-6
- Cheapest Cable Machine: Mikolo LAT and Lift
- Best Cable Weight Capacity Machine: Rogue Monster
- Best Portable Cable Machine: Rogue Spud Inc
- Best Crossover Cable Machine: XMark Home Gym Cable Machine
- Most Versatile Cable System: SERTT Home Gym Cable System
- Most Durable Cable Machine: Rogue SLM-6
- Best Compact Cable System: GDLF Lat Pulldown
- Best Full Body Workout Cable Machine: Bowflex PR3000
Our Top Cable Machines for Home Gyms (December 2023)
1 - Rogue SLM-6 Monster Weight Stack Slinger (Best Overall & Most Durable)
At the top of our list of best cable machines is this power rack-based system from Rogue.
The reason we picked this is that Rogue has experience in creating commercial-grade equipment and then modifying those to be more affordable for home users.
What stood out the most during our testing is that it has one of the most solid and durable cable systems.
When these systems are not smooth and robust, they can lead to injuries .
And for the day that we were using it, we also loved that you could easily set it up for squats and bench presses.
“If you’re not careful, you can pinch your fingers or hands; plus the lever can fall on your hand or head. This has happened to me several times, leaving me with blood blisters and contusions.”
- Christina Jensen, Rumble Boxing Trainer
- Type: Full Rack Cable System
- Size: 7’L x 9.75’H
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Extremely durable steel construction with a commercial-grade pulley system
- Functions as a power rack as well for bench press and squat exercises
- Available in different height options to suit your needs
- Extended cable is available to allow you more flexibility to train in front of the rack
- You will have to order grips and handles as an extra
2 - XMark Home Gym Functional Trainer Cable Machine (Best Crossover)
XMark is a well-known brand in the home gym space, and this is one of those cable machines that wouldn’t look out of place in a commercial gym.
While it will require quite a bit of space, you receive everything you need to start training with your new cable machine.
Based on our testing, what we liked the most about this cable crossover machine is that it has dual-weight stacks and a load of grips from triceps rope to a lat-pull-down bar.
- Type: Full-Size Cable Pulley Machine
- Size: 65”W x 43.5”L x 83” H
- Weight Limit: 2 x 200 lbs
- Configured with two independent stacks for more training flexibility
- Comes with a great range of grips and handles
- Very durable 12-gauge steel
- The assembly process is a bit complicated and time-consuming
3 - Rogue Monster Lat Pulldown/Low Row (Best Cable Weight Capacity)
This home gym cable machine from Rogue attaches directly to the full power rack the company makes, and, from my experience with this machine, it’s an ideal way to expand your existing home gym setup.
One of my college friends has this at home and bought it because his bodybuilding routine required a heavy weight load. And you can set this one up with a maximum of 300 pounds all on one stack.
- Type: Rack-mounted cable system
- Size: 24.5”W x 57”L x 96” H
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Comes with a lat-pull-down seat integrated
- Has one of the largest max weight capacities available
- Very smooth cables for a better workout experience
- You will need the Rogue full-size rack to attach this to
4 - Rogue Spud Inc Cable Pulley Systems (Best Portable)
Rogue Fitness has also created what we would classify as the best portable cable machine.
What you receive is a 75-inch-long cable and two pulleys that you attach to a power rack.
Based on our tests, these pulleys are durable enough and will serve you for a long time.
You can then add your weight (as a usual plate-loaded cable machine) and start on a great upper-body workout.
- Type: Portable cable machine system
- Size: 75” cable length
- Weight Limit: 500 lbs
- Very simple and cheap portable cable system
- Allows you to use your existing weight plates
- Fast and easy installation using power or squat rack frames
- You will need a power rack for one of the cable attachments
5 - Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym (Best Full Body Workout)
This is probably the most unique home gym cable machine we were able to find. Unlike other cable machines, Bowflex has created a system based on resistance rods.
This makes it a lot more affordable and less bulky.
Our tests indicate that the cable pulleys are nice and smooth, and it has the added benefit of not being as noisy as most cable machines with weight stacks can be.
Related: Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym 2023 Review
- Type: Multi Gym Cable Machine
- Size: 64”L x 41”W x 83”H
- Weight Limit: 210 lbs
- Unique pulley setup based on resistance rods
- Allows you to get set up for over 50 different configurations
- Comes with a leg exercise attachment for a full-body workout
- The weight-equivalent limit for the resistance rods only goes up to 210 pounds
6 - MAXPRO Fitness: Cable Home Gym
This is a truly unique cable home gym machine that you might have seen on Shark Tank.
It’s extremely portable and folds up into a very convenient package that you can store under a bed.
What I loved about it the most during my testing was how easy it was to adjust the resistance to very precise levels.
And when you look at the Bluetooth app, you get to see exactly what your progress is.
- Type: Portable Pulley Machine
- Size: 19.2”L x 15.7”W x 5.9”H
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Allows for over 150 different resistance exercises
- The cable is 9 feet long to give you great flexibility for training
- Bluetooth-connected portable machine to keep track of training data
- Additional bench and grips can work out quite expensive
7 - GDLF Lat Pulldown Cable Machine (Best Compact)
Here is another simple and compact home gym cable system from GDLF.
While it’s mainly designed for lat pulldowns, it’s quite easy to adjust it for other cable exercises, including seated rows.
According to the article titled "Stay injury-free: The lat pulldown" found on Piedmont, a lat pulldown bar allows for both a wide and closed grip exercise that can significantly promote better posture .
I enjoyed my vertical pull workouts during the initial testing of this machine. It was smooth. I didn't notice any particular problems with cables and attachments.
- Type: Lat Pulldown Pulley Machine
- Size: 59”L x 26”W x 77”H
- Weight Limit: 350 lbs
- Simple frame design for lat pulldowns and cable rows
- Easy to set up and assemble without the help of a second person
- Great adjustments to the seat for taller athletes
- You’ll need to invest in weight plates if you don’t already have some
8 - TRENDBOX Pulley System
Here is one of the best home gym pulley systems for the money while being compact enough to save you a load of space.
The company Trendbox has created a simple system that mounts to a wall, and then you simply attach some Olympic plates to the included pin.
This compact cable machine also includes a few bars and ropes that give you lots of different exercise routines to get started with.
During our testing, we came up with dozens of different workouts that only took a few seconds to set up.
- Type: Wall-mounted cable pulley machine
- Size: 18.31”L x 9.09”H x 5”W
- Weight Limit: 160 lbs
- Comes with a great range of grips, including tricep rope and lat pull bar
- Attaches to your wall at a height that suits you best
- Cheap and space-saving design is also ideal for outdoor setup
- The weight limit will be a bit low for many athletes
9 - SERTT Home Gym Cable System (Most Versatile)
Here is another highly affordable at-home pulley system that will easily attach to an existing rack or other solid workout equipment frame.
SERTT has also created it in a way that allows attachment to a ceiling beam, but you’ll need some extra hardware for that.
What’s impressive is that you can lift up to 330 pounds with such a cheap piece of equipment. Our tests also showed that the budget side of things doesn't come at the cost of durability or anything else in particular. Definitely worth a try if you have a tight budget.
- Type: Rack-mounted cable pulley
- Size: 2 x 70” cables
- Weight Limit: 330 lbs
- Very cheap cable setup allows attachments to all types of racks and steel frames
- Comes with great handles and ropes for a wide range of exercises
- Has a good weight limit for such a cheap option
- You’ll need extra parts to attach this to a ceiling beam
10 - Mikolo LAT and Lift (Cheapest Option)
And the final product on our best cable machine list is this one from Mikolo. I was very surprised at how easy it is to set up and attach to a rack frame.
During my testing, I also noticed that the whole system runs very smoothly with almost no noise, which is always a good indication of quality design.
The only thing I wish the company had done is adding some more, and better quality handles.
- Type: Rack-mounted pulley machine
- Size: 2 x 78” cables
- Weight Limit: 330 lbs
- Easy to set up by attaching to solid exercise equipment frames
- Has very smooth cables that doesn’t make much noise
- Comes with multiple cables to set up for different types of exercises
- It doesn’t have the best selection of handles and grips
How We Tested Best Cable Machines
Below are the factors we considered during the testing phase of selected cable machines.
One of the primary factors we considered was the durability of each machine. We wanted to ensure that the cable machines could withstand regular and intense use over time.
From the sturdiness of the frame to the wear and tear on the cables, we put each machine through its paces.
My personal experience with the Rogue SLM-6 Monster highlighted its robust build, showing no signs of strain even after weeks of heavy workouts.
The weight capacity of each machine was crucial, especially for those looking to push their limits. We tested machines with varying weight limits to cater to both beginners and advanced users.
I remember maxing out on some machines, emphasizing the importance of a higher weight capacity for seasoned lifters.
Price played a significant role in our evaluations. We aimed to find machines that offered the best value for money.
While testing, I often reflected on my early days of fitness, recalling the importance of finding affordable yet reliable equipment.
A machine's ability to cater to various exercises and muscle groups was essential. We looked for machines that offered a range of attachments and configurations.
During one session, I switched between lat pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, and cable crossovers, emphasizing the need for a versatile machine.
Ease of Setup
Nobody wants to spend hours setting up their equipment. We evaluated how straightforward the assembly and disassembly processes were for each machine.
I recall the frustration with one particular model that had a complex setup, reinforcing the importance of user-friendly designs.
Let me now give you a few things to consider before making a final decision.
The overall user experience is paramount. From the machine's ergonomics to the smoothness of the pulley system, you want to ensure a comfortable and efficient workout session.
Look For Multiple Handles
From my own workouts, I've noticed how simply adjusting hand positions on cable machine handles and ropes can drastically shift the muscle focus.
Using a wide straight bar has always been my go-to for lat pulldowns, while a rope has consistently delivered results for my triceps. And a tip from my gym days: always check if full-size machines have a pull-up bar—it's a game-changer for diversifying your routines.
Measure Out The Dimensions
And finally, check how much space you have for a cable machine, and then allow yourself some room around the machine to do your exercises without bumping into things.
If you’re very limited with available space, then consider a wall-mounted cable machine or one that you can attach to a half rack.
Based on my experience, those tend to work best for small garage gyms while still giving you plenty of workout options.
Related: Best Functional Trainer for Home Gym: Reviews
Who Should Invest In A Cable Machine For Home Use?
People who want to maximize strength training flexibility outside a commercial gym should consider investing in a fitness cable machine.
In my training sessions, I've found that cable exercises are unparalleled when it comes to isolating specific muscles and engaging entire muscle groups.
One of the studies found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, titled "Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises," showed that doing compound exercises can trigger much more efficient muscle growth .
“The biggest benefit of compound exercises may be that they are an efficient use of your time. If you only have a limited amount of time to exercise, you’ll work more muscles and build more strength by focusing on compound exercises.”
- Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT
And if you find one that also has a pull-up bar on the frame, you can give yourself even more options for working out.
Cable Machine vs. Free Weights
Here are the main things to consider when comparing cable machines and free weights:
- Cable Machines: Offer consistent resistance throughout the movement, allowing for targeted muscle engagement. They're also versatile, enabling a wide range of exercises.
- Free Weights: Provide variable resistance and engage stabilizing muscles, offering a more holistic workout. They're also portable and can be used for compound exercises.
Is An At Home Cable Machine Worth It?
Yes, a cable machine is definitely worth it for a home gym. While these full-size pieces of equipment can be expensive, we’ve listed a good few cheaper options that you can mount on a wall or rack frame.
Which Brand Is Best For Cable Machines Equipment?
Rogue Fitness is the best brand for cable machines. The company has a lot of experience with commercial-grade machines and has been able to bring that level of quality to equipment for home gyms.
Are There Any Safety Tips I Should Consider When Using a Cable Machine?
There are a couple of safety tips you should consider when using a cable machine. The first one is always to ensure the weight pins are securely in place before starting an exercise to prevent accidental drops. Also, maintain a stable stance during workouts and avoid making sudden or jerky movements to reduce the risk of injury.
How Do You Maintain a Cable Machine at a Home Gym?
You maintain a cable machine at a home gym by regularly inspecting and tightening any loose bolts or parts to ensure the machine's stability. Clean the machine after each use to prevent sweat corrosion and periodically lubricate the pulleys and cables for smooth operation.
What Are the Best Cable Machine Exercises for Beginners?
The best cable machine exercises for beginners are seated rows and face pulls. These are targeting the back and shoulder muscles, respectively. Tricep pushdowns and cable chest flys are also beginner-friendly, focusing on the arms and chest.
Our Verdict on Best Cable Machines
Out of all the best home gym cable machines we tested, the one we all agreed on as the most effective and durable is the Rogue SLM-6 Monster.
Based on our tests, it’s a versatile piece of home gym equipment that will allow you to pile on the weight loads while still having a very smooth mechanism.
I’ve even seen these in a few commercial gyms, which says a lot about how durable and effective they can be.
About The Author
You May Also Like