What Type of Cable to Use for Your Home Gym? (Revealed)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 27, 2023
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Having worked in a gym for over ten years, I know how much effort goes into maintaining all the equipment. And one area that gym owners pay careful attention to is the cable pulley systems in certain gym equipment.

These do eventually wear down, so replacing them with the right type and quality is vital. And to help our readers find the right type of cable for their cable machines, we spent some time with manufacturers to research the ideal replacements.

Not only will you need the right length, but there are different thicknesses and materials to consider as well.

Quick Summary

  • Cable pulley machines are an excellent investment for home gyms, but you have to be careful when the cables start to wear down.
  • High-quality cables are a must for your initial investment, but it’s just as important to find the right replacement types.
  • You have to focus on the quality of the steel and thickness, but you also need to be careful with the connection hooks.
  • Make sure that you only invest in top-quality machines from the start. We have spent months researching and testing the top Smith Machines that meet our standards and are suitable for use in home gyms.

Which Type of Wire Is Used in Gym Equipment?

A woman doing workouts on a cable gym machine

Steel wire is the type of material used for cables in gym equipment.

Not only is this extremely hard-wearing, but considering the humidity in a commercial or home gym during training, steel will also not rust or corrode [1].

The other thing to consider with cable pulley systems is that you don’t want to have steel wire cables rubbing directly against other steel components.

That’s why you’ll typically see that these cables have a tough plastic covering.

In most cases, they tend to be black, but you’ll also find transparent plastic on some machines and replacement cables.

It’s vital that when you shop for a new cable machine or replacement wires, you only consider the highest-quality steel and plastic covering.

When Do You Need to Replace Home Gym Cables?

A woman working out on a cable machine in a home gym

A cable machine is a must-have home gym equipment.

You need to replace home gym cables in machines when they show signs of wear and tear or when they have reached their recommended lifetime.

If you check the instructions and product details for any cable gym machine, you should find instructions about how long the cables are expected to last.

This time can vary for different thicknesses of cable, but there should be an indication in the documentation.

The good news is that a home gym won’t get anywhere near as much use as commercial equipment, and the cables should last you for well over ten years.

The other thing you should do is regularly check for signs of damage. 

Let me show you how to do that.

3 Safety Tips for Cable Machines

A man doing workouts on a cable machine in a home gym

Here are three things you should do if you have a cable machine in your garage gym.

1. Regularly Check the Cables for Damage

As mentioned above, the steel wire cables in these machines typically have a black or transparent plastic covering.

You need to regularly check the entire cable for signs of damage, as you want to avoid constant steel-on-steel contact.

Also, check the hooks at the ends of the cables. There is a lot of strain and pressure on these sections, and you don’t want them to snap in the middle of a rep.

2. Pay Attention to Smooth Movements

A great cable machine should give you a very smooth movement for an entire rep and no matter what exercise you have it set up for.

If you start to feel a jolt or snag in the movement, it could be an indication of some damage to the cables. 

Anything but a smooth mechanism could become a safety risk resulting in injuries [2].

3. Don’t Ignore Strange Noises

One thing you should notice when a cable is damaged is that it will make a strange noise when it moves through the pulley systems. It might be a screeching or clanking sound, and this is something you definitely shouldn’t ignore.

“The cable machine is going to force you to stay in much better control than a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell would.”

- Lindsay Bennet, Certified Personal Trainer


Is a Cable Machine Good for a Home Gym?

Yes, a cable machine is good for a home gym. It will give athletes a lot of different options to target all muscle groups with a relatively small piece of equipment.

How Can I Do Cable Workouts at Home?

You can do cable workouts at home with a cable or Smith machine. These types of gym machines combine free weight and cable pulley features, allowing you to do exercises that might normally require three or four different machines at a gym.


  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-doesnt-stainless-stee/
  2. https://www.thehealthy.com/exercise/secret-dangers-of-popular-gym-machines/
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