The weightlifting bench is a foundational piece of a home gym. They can also be quite bulky and get in the way. What are the best weight benches that are compact and suitable for a home gym? Here’s what you want to know.
The 6 best compact benches for a small home gym;
- Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max
- Fitness Reality 2000
- Bowflex 5.1S
- Marcy Flat Utility Bench
- Steelbody Deluxe
- Titan Flat Bench
To know why these benches are the best options, keep reading down below.
These benches are the best for a compact home gym. If you’re interested in building a great home gym in a small space, check out my eBook. It tells you exactly how to do this. It’s completely focused on how to build an awesome home gym in a small space.
Types of weightlifting benches
There are different types of weightlifting benches. It’s important to know the difference before buying one.
The main types are;
Fixed benches are as the name suggests, fixed in one position. Most of the time that position is flat. Many exercises require a flat bench like the bench press. So with a flat bench, you can do plenty of exercises.
At the same time there are also tons of exercises that require a bench where the backrest isn’t flat. An adjustable bench has a backrest that is adjustable, usually from flat to upright. So for that reason, an adjustable bench is a great choice for most people. It just opens up so much more exercise options.
If you want to know more about how to select a weightlifting bench, check out this post.
Or check out my recommendations below.
Compact adjustable benches
Most people should go for an adjustable weightlifting bench in their home gym. Adjustable means you can change the angle of the backrest in steps from horizontal to upright. Some even provide the option to decline the backrest. This gives you tons more exercise options than a fixed bench. The downsides are that they are generally slightly larger and more expensive. But, with smart shopping, both those downsides are minimal.
Many of the smaller adjustable benches have a pretty low load limit. They might be small but the low load limit also indicates a lack of build quality. A 400 lbs. load limit might sound like a lot of weight but, that’s not only the weight you can lift. It also includes your bodyweight. You also want to be a little under the stated load limit. The manufacturer probably has a safety margin built in but do you really want to test that with heavy weights in your hands?
That’s why some benches might be smaller than the ones below but I can’t recommend them because I think they aren’t up to the job for most people.
1. Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max
My favorite compact weightlifting bench. It’s very affordable, versatile has a good load limit and on top of everything it’s foldable. A foldable bench is a massive benefit if you’re trying to save space. When you don’t need it, fold it up and lean it against a wall. That way it doesn’t take up much space.
- 59”L x 23.5” W
- 800 lbs.
- Adjustable in 12 angles
A cheap, dependable choice for a small home gym. Check it out on Amazon.
2. Fitness Reality 2000
The Fitness Reality 1000 is my favorite but the same brand (Fitness Reality) has another option. The 2000 is a good option for people that want an upgrade over the 1000.
The differences are small but you get a slightly shorter and better built bench with a few more options for a slightly higher price.
- 53.5” L x 24” w
- 850 lbs. load limit
- Detachable leg lock-down
You get a bit better build quality than the number one and a bit better looking piece of equipment. If you’re planning to keep your gym equipment for a long time, this upgrade is money well spent.
Take a look for yourself and pick the one that fits in your budget the best. Check the current price on Amazon.
3. Bowflex SelectTech 5.1S
Don’t care so much about load limit and care more about quality, a well know, reliable brand and looks? This Bowflex 5.1S bench is a great option. It’s foldable like the first two benches but the build quality is on another level. That doesn’t translate into load limit but that quality is immediately apparent when you look at this bench.
The fit and finish is much better and it just looks the part. It doesn’t fold up as compact as the other two benches but still small enough to get it out of the way pretty easily. The folding process is a bit easier as well with a simple push of a button.
- 49.5”L x 28” W
- 600 lbs. load limit
- Wheels for easy moving around
- Great fit and finish
The downside is the price but, it’s still pretty reasonably priced for what you get. And the quality is certainly a step above the other two options.
If you want something with a big load capacity like 1500 lbs., that’s possible but those benches are generally bigger. A bench like the XMark XM-7604 has a 1500 lbs. load capacity but is a bit larger.
Compact fixed benches
Fixed weightlifting benches are generally a bit more compact than adjustable benches by design. So if you’re really looking for the smallest weightlifting benches possible a fixed bench is an option. Just be aware that you’re leaving a lot of exercise options on the table and you don’t actually save that much money and space. But if every millimeter counts, here are the best.
1. Marcy Flat Utility Bench (SB-315)
Small, cheap and from a known brand. Looking for a small fixed bench? It’s hard to go wrong with this simple Marcy utility bench.
- 43”L x 14”W
- 600 lbs. load limit
- Powder coated black
- 2 Year Manufacturer warranty
- Comfortable padding
The construction is sturdy and will serve you well for a long time. It’s very affordable and for the price it’s hard to go wrong.
2. Steelbody Deluxe Flat Bench
If you want something a bit higher quality, the Steelbody Deluxe Flat bench is a good option. It’s not much bigger but the load limit is 200 lbs. higher than the Marcy. It looks a bit better and has a sturdier construction.
- 43.5” L x 26” W
- 800 lbs. load limit
- Wheels for easy transportation
- Thick vinyl upholstery
As you can see, it’s quite a bit wider than the Marcy although that’s only in one spot, the rear legs. This extra width does create a lot of extra stability though. I will be much harder to tip over than the Marcy bench. As a result you have a higher load limit of 800lbs. It does cost more than the Marcy but it’s much sturdier as well.
3. Doeplex Flat Bench
Need something that can handle everything you can throw at it? This bench is what you need. It costs a bit extra but you get something that will survive the apocalypse.
- 47.5″ L x 19″ W
- 1200 lbs. load limit
- Super heavy duty
- 3″ thick memory foam padding
It costs a bit extra but if you need the sturdiest bench possible, this is the one to go for.
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Why do you need a small bench?
You have a small home gym. That’s the biggest reason to get a small bench. You don’t use a weightlifting bench for every exercise so sometimes it’s just in the way. You want to be able to get your bench out of the way so you can perform exercises that don’t require one. A bigger bench is more difficult to get out of the way in a small gym.
There is a big catch with smaller benches though. If you’re a taller person, a shorter bench might just not be long enough for you. You want to fit on the bench from your behind to head. If the bench is too short either your head or posterior won’t be able to rest on the bench. That will severely impact your workouts.
That’s why you have to think carefully about getting the absolute smallest bench you can. Any bench is better than none at all but one your fit on is much better than one that’s too small.
The length is the most important part here. So if you want to know what’s suitable for you, sit up straight on a chair. Then measure the length from the seat to the top of your head. That’s the length of bench you need. For most people this isn’t going to be an issue but if you’re taller it can be.
Don’t forget to check out my eBook! It will help you immensely if you’re going to build a compact home gym.