Looking for a good leg press machine for your home gym? It can be difficult to figure out which type you need and what is the best for you. I’ll help you with both those problems in this post. Here are the best leg press models for your home gym.
#1: Overall Best
The BodyCraft F660 is the best leg press machine you’re going to find for a home gym. This is a super solid machine that isn’t out of place in a commercial gym. It’s a very sturdy machine that can handle pretty much everything you want to throw at it. The official load limit is 1000 lbs. which is the limit of the amount of plates you can put on the pegs. For residential use it comes with a life-time warranty so you won’t have to worry about anything.
The frame is made from heavy gauge 2” x 3” steel tubing which is then powder coated for corrosion protection and of course to make it look better. The pads are all made from a foam that doesn’t flatten over time and hard wearing vinyl so even the parts that aren’t steel will last a very long time.
It doubles as a hack squat machine which is a big plus. Since it’s a big and expensive piece of equipment, it’s pretty good to have more than one exercise option. The hack squat is another lower body developing exercise which is similar to the leg press but slightly different.
There is adjustability in the angles of both the backrest and the press plate for the leg press as well as the hack squat so you can always find a position that works for you. Many other leg press machines don’t offer this amount of adjustability.
#2: Affordable + High load limit
The Powertec Leg press has the same 1000 lbs. load limit as the BodyCraft but is a bit more compact. It’s also quite a bit cheaper but you do give up some things.
The PowerTec leg press is only a leg press and doesn’t double as a hack squat machine. If you’re looking for a leg press machine this probably isn’t the end of the world but more exercise options are always good. It’s quite compact although only about 3″ narrower than the BodyCraft above which is not going to be enough to sway a decision for most people.
The frame and rails the carriage slides on are slightly less bulky than the BodyCraft machine but are still up to the task. If you’re not pushing the weight limits of the machine, you won’t have an issue with either machine.
There isn’t too much adjustability. The backrest is adjustable but the press plate is not. While this probably isn’t an issue, it could be that you can’t find the perfect position like you could with the BodyCraft.
Of course we are comparing two machines in different price ranges. In the end the BodyCraft is a better machine overall but you have to decide if you want to pay the extra money for it. Both the BodyCraft and the PowerTec are a good buy for their price. You pay more, you get more. If just a leg press is enough and aren’t expecting to push the weight limits of the machine, the PowerTec will serve you well.
#3: Compact + High load limit
Need something a lot smaller? The TDS Premier leg press is the best vertical leg press you’re going to find. Vertical leg presses are more compact and cheaper than 45 degree or horizontal machines but they are a compromise.
Vertical leg press machines tend to be a bit wobbly under higher loads but this machine is absolutely not. The bar that you push up with the legs is supported the whole way by a metal frame. So it slides inside the frame instead of having a telescopic movement like most other vertical leg press machines. This has a much sturdier feeling machine as a result. This is also reflected in the 800 lbs. load limit which is much higher than most other vertical leg presses.
#4: Seated + Weight Stack
Allmost all other machines in this list are plate loaded. But what if you don’t have a set of weight plates and don’t want to buy one? A machine with built in weight stack is the answer. This Body-solid SLP500G2 machine comes with a 210 lbs. weight stack built in. No need to buy weight plates and changing the resistance is a whole lot easier too.
The weight stack can be upgraded to 310 lbs. if necessary. Keep in mind, because of the pulley system, the ratio is 1:1.5. That means the resistance at the press plate is 1.5x the selected weight. This means the 210 lbs. stack can provides 315 lbs. of resistance while the 310 lbs. stack provides up to 465 lbs. That is plenty for the majority of people.
What is a really cool function of this machine is that the angle of the press plate changes throughout the range of motion. This creates a more natural movement pattern that is better for the joints and lower back and can give better muscles activation as well.
Body solid always makes really high quality machines. They might not look the coolest but they work very well and last a long time. This leg press comes with a lifetime warranty on all the parts.
#5 Seated + Plate loaded
Want an upright (almost) seating position, plate loaded machine with a great movement pattern, the Body-Solid LVLP is an awesome choice. Yes, another Body-solid machine, what can I say? They make great equipment.
Just like the one above it’s a machine that is rated to be used in commercial gyms where they see heavy use day in day out. But if you use them at home you get a really good piece of equipment with a lifetime warranty. It’s very big and expensive though which is why it’s not higher on the list.
If space and money are not a problem for you, congratulations! You get a super sturdy machine that is comfortable to use, has a 1000 lbs. load limit and has a press plate that corrects the foot position throughout the range of motion. This is a function you’ll only find on the high end machines because it adds quite a bit of complexity to the machine. This function means the pressing motion feels more natural and puts less stress on your joints and lower back, all of which are really good things.
Also, this machine has sealed pivot bearing and no slide rails which means it barely requires any maintenance unlike other machines in this list.
If you don’t only want a leg press machine but also many of the other machines you can find in a commercial gym, finding a multi-gym with leg press attachment is a great choice.
A multi-gym is a single piece of equipment that combines a lot of different machine into one. These machines often have 50+ exercise options that can provide a full body workout. Some of these machines also have the option to add a leg press.
Often it’s an add-on because it’s a pretty big piece of equipment and not everyone wants the leg press functionality.
People that don’t want a home gym with free weights and prefer the safety of working out on machines, this is the perfect choice.
If you are interested in this type of machine and leg press, check out this post: 6 Best multi-gyms with leg press. There is a lot of information there that will help you make a decision.
#7 Basic + Cheap
OK, cheap in the world of leg presses. The Body-Solid PVLP156X is not free but much cheaper than anything else in this list. It’s a very compact vertical leg press with a load limit of 400 lbs. For most people this will be enough resistance.
The frame is solid and there is a comfortable back and head pad which makes lying down on this no punishment. The bar you push away doesn’t have a big press plate so only a part of your foot makes contact with it which can be a problem on heavy loads.
Another issue is the range of motion. Because there are no carriage stops that are releasable by hand, you’re stuck with the starting setting. This means you have to set the bar to the lowest part of the range of motion you want to get to during the exercise which means getting your legs in the starting position is a bit more challenging although certainly not impossible.
If you have the extra money, I would recommend going for the TDS machine mentioned above. That’s an all-round better designed machine but it is a bit bigger and more expensive.
What kind of leg press machine is good for a home gym?
There are leg press machine in many different shapes, sizes and price ranges. What is best for your home gym? Above you can already see a few of the different types. What is best for you depends on your specific situation but let’s go into what the differences are and what’s best for you.
- Seated/horizontal: Most comfortable but also largest and most expensive
- 45 degree: Sturdy, average price, average size and highest load limits. Little harder to get on/off.
- Vertical: Cheapest and most compact. Lower load limits and hard to get on/off.
- Multi-gym add-on: usually a seated leg press. Best choice if you have/want a multi-gym.
- Weight Stack: If you don’t have a large set of weight plates and don’t want to invest in getting them, a leg press with weight stack is good choice. The weight stack machines tend to cost more but it’s usually cheaper than a good plate loaded machine + enough plates. The resistance of weight stack leg presses is usually limited at 400 lbs. so much lower than the 1000 lbs. that’s standard on 45 degree machines.
- Plate loaded: For most home gym owners, a plate loaded machine is a good option, especially if you already have weight plates. It saves money and most leg presses that are suitable for a home gym (small and cheap enough) only come as a plate loaded option anyways.
If you have a compact home gym and not enough floor space to fit a full sized seated or 45 degree leg press machine, a vertical leg press is the best option. Vertical leg press machines are by far the smallest and cheapest leg presses on the market. However, they are also a bit uncomfortable to get on and off since your back is almost parallel to the floor. The load limit of these machines is also quite a bit lower than the other types and they don’t feel quite as solid although that depends on the specific models you’re comparing.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more money and have enough space, a 45 degree or horizontal leg press machines are a better choice. For most people the 45 degree leg press is the best choice since it offers the best compromise between load limit, sturdiness, comfort and price. Yes, they are still a little difficult to get on and off but not as bad as the vertical leg presses. The 45 degree leg press is a much more substantial machine than the vertical press and you’ll see these in many serious weightlifting gyms. The 45 degree leg press machines are virtually always plate loaded so you should have a large set of weight plates if you want to push heavy weights.
The horizontal/seated leg press is good for people that find the vertical and 45 degree machines a bit too difficult to get in and out of or too intimidating. The movement pattern is the same, just rotated so you push the weights away while sitting upright. This means getting on is as easy as sitting on a chair. These seated leg presses are often loaded with a weight stack. Seated leg press machines are the largest and most expensive but they’re usually very high quality machines.
For people that want all the machines a normal gym has but in a smaller package, the multi-gym with leg press is a great choice. You’ll get all the popular gym machines in one relatively compact package.
Favorite home gym tools
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.