Shopping for a functional trainer but are wondering how tall they are and which one will fit under your ceiling? You’ll find everything you want to know below.
The average height of popular functional trainers is 85.4”. Heights range from 82” to 99” with the majority being between 82” and 85” tall. That means most functional trainers fit under 7.5’ tall ceilings although to do pull ups with proper form, you’ll need 8’-8.5’ tall ceilings.
You can find a full list and explanation of how tall your ceilings should be to fit a functional trainer below. At the bottom you will also find a list of the best functional trainers to use under low ceilings.
Functional trainer double pulley heights list
Below you can find a list of the most popular functional trainers on the market and how tall they are.
|Brand||Model||Height (Inch)||Width (Inch)||Depth (Inch)||Weight stack/side (lbs.)|
|Life Fitness||G7 Home Gym||83||69.5||48.5||160/210|
|Life Fitness||Signature Dual Pulley||94||62||45||390|
|Reeplex||Commercial Dual Arm||82.7||85||51||200|
|Pivot Fitness||Functional Trainer HM3360||83.5||66.15||31.9||160|
|Pivot Fitness||Cable Smith Machine FSR400||85.8||76.4||55||160|
The average height of a double pulley functional trainer is 85.4” (217 cm) with heights ranging from 82” to 99”. (208 to 251.5 cm) The majority of functional trainers are between 82” and 85”. (208 to 216 cm) There are a few exceptions that are much taller and drag up the average.
The height of functional trainers doesn’t differ as much as their footprints. That’s because freeing up some extra floor space is much easier than increasing your ceiling height. Any gym machine has to be big enough to fit the majority of the population while also fitting most houses.
A functional trainer has to be tall enough so most people can stand up straight under it without hitting their head on something. At the same time, most ceilings aren’t 12’ tall so the machine has to be short enough to fit under a standard (9’) ceiling.
9’ is 108” so every cable gym in this list will fit.
8’ is 96” so the vast majority of functional trainers will fit.
Fitting the machine doesn’t necessarily mean you can use it to its full potential. Below you’ll find what it takes to do that.
How high should the ceiling be for a functional trainer?
How much ceiling height do you need to be able to use a double pulley functional trainer? They all seem to be pretty tall and your ceiling looks a little low. Common places to build a home gym are the basement and the garage. Especially basements can have pretty low ceilings sometimes so it’s good to look at the heights of the equipment before you buy. Buying a several thousand dollar machine only to discover it doesn’t fit is a bit painful.
To place a functional trainer, you only need the ceiling to be about 2″ higher than the highest part of the machine. To be able to properly use the machine and do pull ups, 16″ of free space above the highest point is necessary. That means the average machine requires 8.5′ tall ceilings.
Of course you should measure how high your ceilings are first. Even if the real estate agent told promised you they were all 10’ high, measuring for yourself is important.
The listed height in the list above is the highest part of the machine. So it’s pretty obvious your ceiling has to be at least as high as the trainer since it wouldn’t fit otherwise. But, there are a few other things to be aware of.
- Take the flooring into account: If you’re home gym isn’t complete yet, chances are you haven’t put gym flooring down yet. Gym flooring is quite thick (usually 1/2”) so take that into account.
- The user’s height: Or more specific, the height with your hands raised up. There are a few exercises where you lift your arms straight up. There should be space for this though. It’s pretty easy to test. Stand in the room where you want to build your gym and raise your fist as high as you can while keeping your feet flat. Are you touching the ceiling? If not, it’s tall enough. Obviously this is only an issue if you’re taller than average.
- Pull ups: See below.
Pull ups/ chin ups
Most functional trainers and cable crossovers have a pull up bar or handles in the middle. That bar itself is not the problem. If the pull up bar is the highest point of the assembly, that will be reflected in the number the manufacturer lists or you can find in the list above.
The problem is you need some headroom to actually do pull ups and chin ups. If the pull up bar is already close to the ceiling, you’ll bump your head which is something I’d personally like to avoid. To properly do pull ups, you want to pull yourself up where the bar touches the top of your sternum. Most people doing pull ups stop too low but that’s a topic for another time.
To have enough space to do proper pull ups, you want about 16” of headroom above the pull up bar. From the sternum (a little above the nipples) to the top of your head will be roughly 12” to 14”. However, if you’ve just got 14” there is still a chance you’ll hit your head on the ceiling.
Most people do pull ups to just get their chin above the bar or to about halfway down the neck. From the middle of the neck to the top of your head is about 9”-11”. That means if you do pull ups that way, 13” of space above the bar would be enough.
The pull up bar is not the highest point on all functional trainers. However, on many it is and if it isn’t, it’s close enough not to really make a difference. To figure out how high your ceiling should be to do pull ups on a functional trainer, take the total height of the machine and add 16” or 13”. For the average height functional trainer that means, you need about 8.5’ tall ceilings
Best functional trainer for low ceilings
Measured the ceiling of your future home gym and discovered it’s not all that high? Here are the best options;
#1 BodyCraft HFT/HFT PRO/PFT
The first place is shared by three different BodyCraft models. The HFT, HFT PRO and the PFT. They are all slightly different but also share some features.
All of these models are only 82” tall. This is the lowest functional trainer you can find. On top of that they have a pretty compact foot print. While not the absolute smallest foot print, they’re pretty close and especially the depth of these machines is quite shallow, making these trainers suitable for small spaces as well as low ceilings.
82” height means that these are some of the few machines that will fit under a 7’ tall ceiling and also fit a good gym flooring underneath. It will still be very close under 7’ ceilings though so measure your ceiling height carefully. Mind you, you’ll still need at least 8’ tall ceilings to do pull ups.
BodyCraft makes very good gym equipment and while not cheap, it’s still reasonably priced is you compare it to some other brands. You do also get pretty good warranty conditions so you can feel safe buying one of these functional trainers.
The HFT/HFT Pro are quite affordable machines in this category while providing everything you would expect from a good functional trainer. It’s very smooth and looks good especially compared to others in the same price range.
The HFT PRO can be upgraded from 150 lbs. weight stacks to 200 lbs. weight stacks, comes with more attachments and has minor aesthetic differences compared to the normal HFT.
The PFT while slightly smaller is a more upmarket machine. It looks better because the weight stacks are completely shrouded. The pulley height adjustment mechanism is upgraded significantly to make it easier to adjust the pulley height. You can attach a bench to the machine. (although you can easily use a separate bench with the HFT as well). The PFT pulleys are slightly larger (4.5” vs. 3.5” diameter) which makes it even smoother to use and finally the weight stacks of the PFT are slightly heavier at 160 lbs. (upgradable to 210 lbs.).
The HFT and HFT Pro are amazing value for money while the PFT is an all-round nicer machine but quite a bit more expensive.
#2 Body Solid PFT100
Only slightly taller than the #1 at 83” is the Body-Solid PFT100. It’s also the cheapest functional trainer with double weight stacks. While it’s not as compact as the BodyCraft ones, it’s still among the shortest machines. The PFT100 is only slightly deeper (2”) but quite a bit wider than the ones above. This can be a benefit if you’re a very big person.
The weight stacks weigh 160 lbs. but can be upgraded to 210 lbs. if necessary.
It’s #2 because while the BodyCraft machines named above start at a higher price, they look much better and come with a better warranty while also being more compact. Those three things would be well worth the price difference to me.
One other benefit is the relatively low weight which makes it easier to move around and safer for use upstairs or in an apartment. Find out more about functional trainers, how much they weigh and if it’s safe to use them upstairs here.
#3 Inspire Fitness FT1
This machine is quite popular and for good reason. It is 83” tall so it won’t fit under 7’ tall ceilings with gym flooring but if you’ve got a bit more height, it’s a good option. It’s a pretty direct competitor to the BodyCraft HFT.
The prices are pretty close although the FT1 is slightly more expensive but you do get a few cool features in return. While the weight stacks aren’t completely shrouded, they are on the back. This gives the machine a slightly better look.
The pulley adjustment is a similar system as the BodyCraft PFT which is a nice upgrade over the normal system. It just makes adjustments a bit smoother and more secure. One downside is that the FT1 weight stack is 165 lbs. and cannot be upgraded. While the BodyCraft HFT is 150 lbs., for the price of the FT1 you can pretty much buy the HFT PRO + stack upgrade to 200 lbs.
So the benefit of a shrouded weight stack (only on one side) and slightly better pulley adjustment wouldn’t be worth the downsides to me.
Inspire Fitness does have one trick up its sleeve and that is their app. The app provides workout programs and an exercise guide specific to your piece of equipment. You’ll also have only workout classes you can stream on demand. This is a great thing for people new to working out since it’ll guide you through the whole workout. The downside? It’s paid. While not super expensive, I’m not a fan at all of workout equipment that comes with a subscription.
However, you can use this machine perfectly fine without an app but also, if you like their app, it would work with other functional trainers as well. So all in all I don’t see the app as a benefit but for others it can be.
Inspire Fitness also builds the FTX and FT2 which are both good functional trainers but they’re quite a bit taller and bigger than the FT1 so they don’t belong in this list.
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.