Shopping for a cable machine (functional trainer) for your home gym? You might be wondering how much it’s going to cost you and how much you should spend to get a good one. Let’s find out.
Functional trainers can cost anywhere from $1100 to $7000+. The average price of a cable machine 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
Let’s look into the prices you can expect to pay and what you can expect for your budget.
Cable Machine Prices
Below you can see a list of popular functional trainers and their cost. Prices are MSRP at time of writing but of course they can fluctuate over time and retailers don’t necessarily have to ask for MSRP.
|G7 Home Gym
|Signature Dual Pulley
|Commercial Dual Arm
|Functional Trainer HM3360
|Cable Smith Machine FSR400
Functional trainers can cost anywhere from $1100 to $7000+. At the bottom end of that range you can expect a pretty simple, single stack cable machine that is a bit rudimentary compared to the higher end models although it can still provide a good workout.
At the upper end of the scale you’ll get functional trainers that offer much more than just two cable pulleys and a weight stack. These cable gyms often have some features like a built in barbell or power cage that make it an even more versatile piece of equipment.
The average price of a functional trainer is about $3750. However, it isn’t necessary to spend that much if you’re just looking for a solid functional trainer, it’s possible to get one that can provide a great workout with plenty of resistance for $2000 – $3000.
The average is dragged up by the fact that there are quite a few high end machines in this list that are quite expensive. In comparison there aren’t as many lower end models to compensate for those high prices. So looking at the average isn’t super useful.
Wondering what you can expect for your money and how much you have to spend to get what you’re looking for? Keep reading.
Functional Cable Machines Price Ranges
When building a home gym and/or buying equipment, you probably have a budget in mind. Functional trainers are expensive; there is no way around that. Even the ‘entry level’ consists of machines that easily cost more than $1000 and it goes up from there.
Below is roughly what you can expect for your budget. The prices are indications and there are always exceptions that fall outside the boxes.
Entry level ($1100 – $2250) Home Gym Cable Machines
There is quite a lot variation in this category. For $1100 you can get a functional machine that will even last you for a while but it’s pretty simple, only has one weight stack and doesn’t look that good. However, if that’s what’s within your budget, it’s not a bad buy. And that’s because that model is by far the cheapest functional trainer.
If you check the list above, you’ll see that the next cheapest model is very close to $2000 already. And in the range of $2000 to $2250, there is a lot of choice. In my opinion, most people are best off by shopping in this price range because there are some really good options.
You’ll get a well-built machine from a known company that will last you for a long time and is nice to use. The looks in this price range vary but most functional trainers $2000+ are acceptable. It’s never going to be a piece of art anyways. The models from established brands will have good parts availability and decent customer service. The warranty conditions vary but some brands provide lifetime warranty on the frame which is good.
These trainers come with some cable attachments although you might want to invest a little bit extra money in some other ones after a while. Most of them are smooth and easy to use, mostly because there are just two pulleys and a pull up bar. No fancy features but everything you need for a cable workout.
As said, most people will be well served by a functional trainer that costs $2000 to $3000. For that amount of money you’ll be able to find a great cable gym.
An upgraded weight stack (+50 lbs.) if available usually costs about $200 to $300. So if you need more resistance, keep that in mind.
Mid-Range ($2500 – $4500) Functional Trainers
In the mid-range, functional trainers often get a few extras. The package is just more complete. Where the entry level models do many things right, most models are lacking in one of the factors named above. Mid-range functional trainers tend to be more well-rounded in many ways.
You’ll get a machine with better fit and finish, better looking and more accessories. The exercise options are the same as with most cheaper machines but the movement tends to be a bit smoother. Often the weight stacks are completely shrouded which gives a neater appearance. Adjustment mechanisms for the pulleys also tend to be a bit better which makes adjustments easy.
Also, most functional trainers with arms are in this category. These machines don’t have upright pillars the pulley slides on but two arms with the pulley on the end. The machines are adjustable in many angles so you can place the pulleys exactly where you want. The benefits of this type are that there is even more adjustability in the position of the pulleys and it takes up less space than a normal functional trainer. The downside is they are a bit more expensive and don’t have a pull up bar.
High-End ($4500+) Functional Trainers
In the high end category you can find the machines that have something special. For something that’s just a functional trainer you really don’t have to spend this amount of money.
However, you can get something that includes more than just two adjustable pulleys. These machines are often a combination that’s truly a whole home gym. For example the BodyCraft XFT has a built in barbell system that’s unique. The barbell can move freely up and down and front to back. That means you can have a barbell workout having a separate barbell and rack.
If a functional trainer in this category doesn’t have something that’s very special, you can get the same for less money. If you absolutely want the best of the best and have the money, go for it. But if you’re on a budget, you can get a product that has quality and functionality that is 95% the same in the higher mid-range.
Should You Spend More Money?
You are probably wondering if paying more will get you a better functional trainer. Better can mean different things to different people so let’s take a look at what you can more of when you pay more. Of course these are generalizations and not every more expensive models will have more of all the things listed below;
- Durability: On average if you pay more you’re going to get a bit more durability. The steel frames and weight stacks are usually not the problem. Cables, pulleys, plastic/rubber parts can be.
- Quality: In this case I mean fit and finish. Most functional trainers are at a pretty good level in this category but the high-end ones definitely step it up in this regard. This also involves tolerances which are noticeable in how well the weight stack fits together and how much it can move from side to side, how much play there is in the pulleys, etc.
- Parts availability: Parts break and have to be replaced sometimes. Usually that happens after a while so you want parts for older models to still be available. Most brands that sell functional trainers are pretty good about this but be careful when buying on from a cheap brand. Brand has more to do with it than the specific model.
- Warranty: Some brands provide much better warranty conditions than others but often you’ll have to pay for this up front.
- Ease of use: Better machines usually have pulleys that are a bit easier to adjust in height. When you’re already tired and want to adjust the height between sets this might be more important than you think.
- Extras: Some functional trainers come with more extras than others. The extras are mostly cable attachments but can also be workout guides, exercise posters and things like that.
- Looks: A machine you just spend several thousand dollars on shouldn’t be an eyesore. More expensive functional trainers usually look better and have more effort put into the appearance. While it doesn’t necessarily doesn’t do much for the quality or results, it’s still nice to have something that looks a little better. Especially if you have other high-end equipment in your home gym, you might have to spend a little more on something that looks the part.
- Smoothness: In general, more expensive functional trainers have more effort and engineering put into making the movements smoother. A smoother machine is easier on the joints and keeps resistance consistent on the muscle which is going to give you slightly better results and it’s just nicer to work out with.
- Brand: Some brands just ask more for roughly the same thing. We know examples of that in every product category. Although often there is something that makes people want to pay extra like brand loyalty, brand recognition or better customer service.
- Exercise options: Some models have extra exercise options like a built in barbell or power cage. This usually costs extra but you get extra functionality as well.
So for more money you should expect more. But what more is depends which machine you spend more money on. Let’s look at it from another angle, what can you expect for a certain amount of money?
Best Cable Machine Accessories
Make your cable trainer experience even better with these accessories.
- Attachments: No cable machine is complete with a good set of attachments. Click here to find the best set of attachments
- 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.
- Bench: A good adjustable weightlifting bench like the CAP Deluxe (Amazon) adds many exercise options to a cable machine like bench presses and shoulder presses.
Find the most complete functional trainer that includes most of these accessories by clicking here.