Are Functional Trainers Worth It?

Looking at functional trainers and are you wondering if they’re worth the price? Here’s what you want to know.

Functional trainers are expensive but worth it because they provide all the exercise options you need in a single machine. They provide the benefits of both free weights and fixed machines without most of the drawbacks of either of them.

Read more about the details of cost and how functional trainers compare to other types of workout equipment below.

Is a Functional Trainer Worth The Investment?

Of course a piece of gym equipment isn’t an investment in the traditional sense where you put in a certain amount of money and expect/hope to get back more in the future. However, you can see it as an investment in your health and well-being. Working out can help you stay healthy and out of the hospital for longer.

How Much Do Functional Trainers Cost?

Of course the most important deciding factor if something is worth the money is how much something costs.

Luckily I’ve already done the research for that for another post. Here is the summary;

Functional trainers can cost anywhere from $1100 to $7000+. The average price of a functional trainer is about $3750. It’s possible to buy a high quality but basic functional trainer that can provide a great workout with plenty of resistance for $2000 – $3000

So you can expect to pay about $2000 to $3000 for a good functional trainer without any special features. Want to find a good functional trainer in that price range that’s in this price range, is high quality, made by a good brand and backed up by a lifetime warranty? Click here to find it.

Are Functional Trainers Worth The Money?

In my opinion, while functional trainers are expensive, they are absolutely worth the money, especially if you’re getting a good one that costs around $2500. They just have so much functionality that is very hard to beat in one single piece of equipment.

Sure for the same money you can buy a very nice power rack, barbell and weights but while that setup is great for people that want to get really strong and big, most people just want to get in shape and are a bit intimidated by free weights. A functional trainer actually has more exercise options than a barbell setup. You would have to add a full set of dumbbells to get to a similar level of functionality.

A functional trainer takes up about the same amount of space of even a little less than a power rack and barbell. However, a functional trainer can be used for way more exercises.

Of course free weights have their own benefits but a functional trainer is much simpler since you only need one piece of equipment and you’re set. A functional trainer is also much more approachable for most people than free weights. Your grandma could probably use it without problems. Getting under a barbell is much more intimidating than grabbing a handle at the end of a cable.

Also, working out on a functional trainer carries less injury risk than free weights.

If you don’t have any home gym equipment yet and are not interested in free weights, a functional trainer is absolutely worth the money. And compared to a multi-gym, a functional trainer is better in my opinion. More on that below.

If you have the money, are looking for a complete home gym solution that’s a halfway point between machines and free weights, a functional trainer is an excellent choice.

Image of a man training chest on a functional trainer

Functional Trainer vs. Home-Gym

Comparing a functional trainer to a home gym works out pretty favorable for the functional trainer. For clarity, i’m talking about multi-gyms here. Multi-gyms are many gym machines with set patterns pushed into one machine.

On that type of home gyms, the movement patterns are set and you sit on the seat for most exercises. That might seem like a good thing but what that actually does is take all the stabilizing muscles out of the exercise.

A functional trainer forces you to use all the stabilizing muscles because the cables can go in any direction, not just one. which produces much better real world strength and makes you less prone to injury. Also, because a functional trainer has you standing on your feet instead of sitting down. That means the movements are much more like you would encounter in real live hence the ‘functional’ in the name.

Multi-gyms also have little adjustment for body size while functional trainers can be adjusted for any size. Functional trainers also provide more exercise options than anything but the biggest and most expensive home gym.

Multi-gyms are about the same price as functional trainers and they take up about the same amount of space so in that regard they’re similar.

Functional Trainers vs. Free Weights

If you already have a barbell and dumbbell setup, you can do most of the important exercises already, however, a cable machine does load up the muscles differently so you can get extra training benefits. In this situation I would consider adding a functional trainer if you want to take your training to the next level or maybe make your home gym more accessible for a spouse, children or other family members that are scared of barbells.

Suggested: How much does building a free weights home gym cost?

If you’re starting with an empty home gym it depends on your training goals, budget and space. A functional trainer is useful for everyone that wants to work out their muscles, no matter if you want to get bigger, smaller or stay the same. Functional trainers are approachable for everyone and have a lot of benefits over both free weights and machines.

If you want to get very big and strong, a barbell setup is a better choice since barbells can be used to lift much more weight. Also, if you want to focus on deadlifts and squats a barbell setup is better. Even if your goal is to get as big as possible, a functional trainer has added value next to a barbell setup but since most people are constrained by money and space, the barbell setup should get priority.

Suggested: Functional trainers with highest resistance

If your goal is to get moderate muscle growth and want to focus more on general fitness, a functional trainer is a better place to start. I’m personally a big fan of free weights but I also think that a functional trainer is much more accessible and therefore is going to help more people to get into a better state of fitness.

To summarize;

  • Already have a barbell/dumbbell setup: A functional trainer has enough added benefits to get one if you’ve got the money and space.
  • Don’t have a home gym yet and want to get big/strong: Get a barbell setup first.
  • Don’t have a home gym yet and want to focus on general fitness: Get a functional trainer first.

Best Cable Machine Accessories

Make your cable trainer experience even better with these accessories.

  • PlateMate: One or two platemates (Amazon link) can help you increase the weight more gradually on your weight stack. Just stick them onto your weight stack.

Find the most complete functional trainer that includes most of these accessories by clicking here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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