I was amazed.
I didn’t expect it to be that good.
Sure my own cable machine wasn’t bad at all but my friend’s one was way better in any possible way and didn’t take so much space as mine did…
Noo, I’ve should have asked him for little more info before I bought mine.
Well, at least I could train again at his huge home gym and still use it the next time.
But what makes this cable machine so unique?
Let’s find out…
Hi there, my name is Bozhidar and I’m the dude who bought the second-best cable machine for a home gym because I didn’t ask.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to!
If you stick till the end of this blog post you will learn what is the best cable machine for your home gym I’ve ever tried and find out exactly what makes it such.
In addition to that I’m going to show you a very close model to my own cable machine I use almost daily and give you 3 more excellent models you can check.
So without any further ado, get comfortable on your seat, buckle your seat belt, and prepare yourself for a bumpy ride…
Are you in a hurry?
If you don’t have the time to read the whole article I highly recommend you check my favorite cable machine for a home gym – the Valor Fitness BD61. (click here to check it out)
This is the machine I used when I train with my friends and it’s amazing…
It’s super stable (attached to the wall), has all the important attachments you need, is completely adjustable (we have trained every single muscle group on it) and the cable and weights move smoothly up and down without any noise or unnecessary friction.
And the best part is the price.
I was shocked when I learned how little it was priced for!
If I already didn’t have one I would 100% buy this one.
With that being said let’s see a quick preview of what are the top 5 best cable machines for home gym and why I like them so much:
|Number||Name||Who is it for?||Weight Capacity||Unique Features|
|1||Valor Fitness BD62 Mount Station||Best Wall Mounted Cable Machine for Home Gym||200 lbs||Dual pulleys and wall-mounted|
|2||Valor Fitness CB-12||Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Cable Machine||200 lbs||2 Plate storage pins and 3rd pulley|
|3||XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine||Most Versatile Commercial Cable Machine for Home Gym||400 lbs||Bult-in plates, pull-up bar and handles|
|4||Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack with Cable Machine||Best Plate Loaded Cable Crossover Machine for Home Gym||500-750 lbs||Power cage, pull-up bar and full cable crossover|
|5||Mikolo Ceiling Cable Pulley Machine||Best Ceiling Mounted Lat Pulldown Cable Pulley Machine for Small Home Gym (Budget)||280 lbs||Cheap, portable and easy to setup and use|
Top 5 Best Cable Machines for Home Gym You Can Afford
Here we have it.
The world’s best cable machines for your home gym that you can afford. (Don’t worry they are not overpriced!)
If you are serious about working out in your home gym I highly recommend you to pick one of these 5 options.
Below you will find 5 unique and different models which differentiate one another in a lot of things. That way you will see everything and pick the one that fits your personal criteria the best.
Let’s get started…
In order to help you make the right decision, I’m going to review and compare each one of the 5 cable machines below into 10 unique and important categories:
- Price and overall value
- Number and variety of exercises
- Stability and safety
- Type of weights
- Adjustability and extra features
- What makes it unique and better than the rest?
- Who is this cable machine best for?
- Are there any good alternatives
- What I like
- What I don’t like
That way you would know which one is the right one for you depending on the results they get. Use all that data to compare them and pick a winner.
Ready to begin?
Here we go!
Let’s get started…
1. Valor Fitness BD62 Mount Station – Best Wall Mounted Cable Machine for Home Gym
Price and overall value: Because of the low price for a cable machine you get a ton of value in return. I really like this cable machine because it’s priced only of a small fraction compared to the majority of the heavy and bulky cable machines but still gives you a huge variety of different exercises. That’s why I would give it a 9 out of 10 when it comes to value per money.
Number and variety of exercises: Because of the dual pulley set instead of one and the extra-long handles that come with the machine you can do plenty of different exercises mainly focusing on the upper body. Sadly you don’t get an ankle strap so it would be very difficult to attach the handles on your lower body and target the legs. Of course, you can buy some for a couple of bucks but they don’t come included. But besides this, you will have no problem isolating both arms at the same time which saves you time. So because of the adjustability options and the 2 pulleys, I would give it an 8.5 out of 10 in this category.
Stability and safety: Because this model is mounted to the wall you won’t have any problems with stability and safety. You can place as much weight as you can and pull it at any angle as you wish and this thing won’t go anywhere. I’ve trained many times using serious amounts of weights from very strange angles and nothing happened. That’s not the case if we compare it to a lighter cable machine. So because of the way it’s attached I would rate it a 10 out of 10. It can not get safer than that.
Type of weights: The BD-62 Cable Station works with both Olympic and smaller diameter hole weights so if you already own a bunch of those you won’t have any problems with this cable machine. But in case you don’t have any and you don’t want to buy some I don’t believe this machine is the right one for you. And because you can use your own weights I would give it an 8 out of 10.
Adjustability and extra features: Sadly when it comes to portability this cable machine is stuck in one place. Once you attach it to the wall it’s game over. So think really well if you are looking for a long-term piece of equipment that will stay at the same place for years. If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track. But let’s not forget that with this cable station you get different positions from the top to the button so you can easily move it around which is a big plus. That way you won’t have any problem with targeting different parts of your body. So a rating of 8.5 out of 10 would be realistic in this category.
What makes it unique and better than the rest?: The difference between Valor Fitness BD62 and the other similar cable machines is that this is a wall-mounted station which means that you must attach it to a wall using 4 long bolts. And if you are willing to sacrifice the portability you will get amazing stability and safety.
My friend and I have used a lot of plates to test it out and pulled the cable from many different angles and heights and no matter what we tried this machine didn’t move an inch. Sadly I can’t say the same thing to all the models which are not attached to the wall or the floor. Especially the lighter ones. It’s simple physics.
Another unique feature this model has that none of the similar home gym cable machines comes with is the dual-attachment system. This great feature gives you the opportunity to use 2 separate handles at the same time. And why is that better? Because it gives you extra control when you are doing exercises that use both hands at the same time.
For example, you can focus on each bicep individually when you are doing bicep curls and easily be able to get better isolation, stronger muscle contraction, and more intensive mind-muscle connection. That on its own will help you get better results and bring up and target underdeveloped muscles.
Another thing I want to mention that makes this product better and unique is that the whole assembly process is very easy and fast to do and Valor Fitness BD62 comes with good instructions. My friend managed to build it from scratch all alone t in around half to one hour. Sadly that’s not the case with the bigger more complicated models.
Who is this cable machine best for?: If you don’t want to spend a ton of money and don’t have any problems with drilling a couple of holes in your wall then the Valor Fitness BD62 is going to be exactly what you are looking for. It’s also a great choice for people who don’t have a ton of space for a home gym or simply don’t want to own big and bulky equipment. So if you are looking for stability, safety, and own some good plates, then this cable machine is the right one for you.
Are there any good alternatives: In case the BD762 is out of stock or you want to check some other alternatives I would recommend you take a quick look at the Vanswe wall-mounted station from here or the Merax cable station from here. Even if both machines have a very similar design, they are a little more expensive and don’t have as many positive reviews as the Valor Fitness cable machine.
What I like:
- Very affordable
- It is very compact and saves a lot of space
- You can buy 2 of these and make a complete cable machine
- Very lightweight (only 62 pounds)
- Can hold up to 250 lb
- You get a dual-attachment system for better control
- Have the ability to adjust the height from top to bottom
- Uses plates you already own as weights
- Attaches to your wall using long bolts
- Easy and fast assembly
What I don’t like:
- Must be secured to a wall in order to be used safely
- Only 2 handle attachments are included. You need to buy the other accessories separately.
- Not portable once attached.
The beauty of this model (and why it’s the winner) is because it’s one of the cheapest options in the whole market when it comes to cable machines.
In addition to that this specific model is made to be very lightweight and compact so you are short on space and are looking for something small but really effective, you are going to love it!
Actually, this is the most space-saving model I have ever seen!
Yes, I’m deadly serious!
This feature also makes it ideal for a home gym because the whole setup takes only 24.5 inches in width and about the same in length which is extremely small and at the same time providing you with a huge variety of exercises.
Some of the exercises you can do are all sorts of presses, pull-downs, rows, curls, extensions, front raises, and much more.
Finally, I want to let you know that the whole machine comes with a 3-year warranty but you will not need it. My friend is using it 5 times per week for about 2 years and everything is working properly.
In my opinion, Valor Fitness BD62 is literally the best wall-mounted cable machine you can get and you should definitely buy it if you like it.
It’s a great addition to any home gym.
Bonus tip: If you think about it you can always buy 2 of these bad boys, attach them on opposite walls and make yourself a complete and working cable crossover machine for only a fraction of what you are going to pay if you decide to buy a professional one like the ones you can find in your local gym.
2. Valor Fitness CB-12 – Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Cable Machine
Price and overall value: Because of the 3 different pulleys and the adjustable seat the Valor Fitness CB-12 cable machine contains 3 different machines at once. The upper one replicates the lat pull-down machine while the lower pulley replaces the seated row equipment. The middle one can be a perfect addition to many exercises which can be done by that angle. (chest flys, bicep curls, tricep extension, different exercises, etc.).
The seated rowing machine, seated lat pulldown machine, and the traditional cable machine. Because of that I’m really happy with the price and believe you get very good value for the money. And that’s only a small fraction when we compare it to 5-10X more expensive machines that don’t offer that. Because of that, I would give it an 8.5/10.
Number and variety of exercises: Because of the 3 pulleys and the 2 handles that you get you can do a huge number of exercises. If you decide to buy an additional ankle attachment (like this) and a one-hand handle (like this one) you will be able to isolate each muscle of your upper and lower body perfectly and get a solid leg workout as well. I use my cable machine for whole-body workouts and it works perfectly. Because you need to buy those 2 accessories separately I’m going to give it a 7 out of 10 in this category.
Stability and safety: Because of the 2 weight plate holders you can really make this machine really stable and safe when you use the middle pulley. But in order to do that, you need to stack at least 90 lbs (40 kg) of plates equally. The more you can place, the more stable you are going to make it. And let’s not forget the extra weight you will be using during the exercises. That works the same. So when it comes to stability and safety I would rate this machine an 8 out of 10.
Type of weights: This plate-loaded cable machine works with normal Olympic size plates or smaller diameter cheaper plates making it a great choice if you already have a bunch of those. You can safely stack plenty of weights on each side so you won’t have any problems when you want to do more demanding exercises. And the additional plate storage pins make that process very quick and fast. And because of that, I would rate it a 9 out of 10 when it comes to weights.
Adjustability and extra features: Because this machine doesn’t come with any built-in weights it’s quite lightweight so you won’t have any problems moving it around from time to time. I really like to move mine when I want to clean below it and once I remove all the plates it’s not difficult at all. The only problem I face is when I want to move it throughout the door because I don’t have a very tall door and it’s a little difficult but if you keep it in your garage or have bigger and wider doors you won’t have any problems with that. And when it comes to extra features I really like the middle pulley, the additional foot placement plate, and the 2 plate storage pins. Not all machines have those and they are important. That’s why I’m going to give it an 8.5 out of 10.
What makes it unique and better than the rest?: As I said earlier there are 3 main things that separate the CB-12 weight-plated machine from the rest. First is the middle pulley – not all machines have one, next is the additional foot plate you can move when you do seated rows. I really like this little feature because it makes it very easy and comfortable when you stack a lot of weight and need a solid place to place your feet. Finally, the fact that the lower pulley is directly connected and you don’t have to attach a different cable when you need to use it that blocks you from using the seat. Check this product to see exactly what I’m talking about. So if I have the option to buy this model again over some of the others I would still go with this one.
Who is this cable machine best for?: After using this machine for a while I can say that it’s perfect for people who don’t want to spend a ton of money, drill their floors or walls and still want to be able to do a lot of exercises while having the portability and the compact design. I believe this cable machine is great for people who really want to focus on their upper side of the body while still having the option to isolate the lower body parts if you buy the additional ankle straps I mentioned above. So in my opinion the CB-12 plate-loaded cable machine is perfect for any home gym
Are there any good alternatives: If by any chance this cable machine is not available or you want to check some solid alternatives that offer somewhat the same features I would recommend you to take a look at the Vanslwe cable machine (click here to check it out) or the Buyhive lat pulldown cable machine (you can check if from here). But beware that none of them has the middle pulley or the 2 plate holders which are not crucial but important.
What I like:
- Combines 2 machines in one
- Can hold up to 300 lbs
- It has 3 pulleys in total – high, mid, and low
- Comes with good basic accessories
- Has 2 additional plate storage pegs
- Adjustable seat
- Extra storage hooks for the bar
- Additional foot placement for seated pulls (little machines have this)
What I don’t like:
- Pulleys are not rotatable
- Assembly is not that easy
- You can’t adjust the height of the pulleys
With it’s good price, 3 pulleys, adjustable seat, additional feet plate and compact and stable design this cable machine is another great option for any home gym.
I believe that it’s a great choice for anybody who wants to train their whole body at their home and don’t want to spend a fortune to do it. So if you already have all the plates and are looking for something portable the Valor Fitness CB-12 might be exactly what you need.
3. XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine – Most Versatile Commercial Cable Machine for Home Gym
Price and overall value: Even if the price of the Xmark Functional Trainer cable machine is really high compared to all the other cable machines you can buy it’s worth the money. To begin with, it comes with a built-in quickly changeable weight plate system that takes less than a second to change the weight you use.
It also has a built-in pull-up bar, 2 fully rotatable pulleys that have marked holes for quick adjustments, and nice handle storage in the middle. And all of that is made with commercial type materials and quality. So if you can afford it, and you have the available space this beast is worth every penny. And because of all those things, I’m going to rate it an 8 out of 10 when it comes to this comparison category.
Number and variety of exercises: I really like this functional trainer because it comes with all the extra attachments so you don’t have to buy anything else. And because of that, you will be able to isolate and target all the muscle groups from your body including the lower portion. The additional pull-up bar saves you even more money because you won’t have to buy and install a separate one.
The only thing I would want this cable machine to have was some sort of dip station or handles you can easily add or remove so you would be able to do dips. But even without dip bars, you get 2 cable pulleys at a good distance to do cable crossover and a bunch of other exercises you can only do in the gym.
So because of all those features, I’m going to rate it 9 out of 10 when it comes to the number of exercises. If they had some form of dip bars I would give them a 10/10 instead.
Stability and safety: Even if this cable machine is not bolted to any walls or floor I would still rate it a 10 out of 10 when it comes to stability and safety because this thing is huge and really heavy. It also uses a very wide base so it won’t move at all no matter how much weight you decide to pick. The only drawback is that it will be a nightmare if you had to move it around for some reason.
Type of weights: For this amount of money you get a full set of built-in plates that come with the functional trainer. The amount of weight you get per pulley is enough so you won’t have any problems even if you are very strong. To be honest this is a plus because it saves you time. You don’t have to constantly add or remove different plates around. Instead, you only have to move the pin which takes less than a second. Abe because of that I would not mind rating it a 10 out of 10 in the weights department. From my experience, I can say that built-in weights are always better than regular ones you have to move around.
Adjustability and extra features: When it comes to machine movements you don’t have any. Once you’ve built it it’s game over. But if we talk about pulley adjustability you won’t have any problems because they move smoothly and easily up and down. With the XMark cable machine, you even get numbered holes so it’s a lot easier and faster to place both pulleys at the same height. When it comes to extra features you get a fully functional padded pull-up bar, a complete set of different attachments, and a special place to hold them, enough space to place an adjustable bench inside, and a ton of weight you can move in seconds. What else do you really need? So that’s why a rating of 9 out of 10 is the perfect one for this category.
What makes it unique and better than the rest?: In my opinion, the XM-7626 functional trainer cable machine is better and different from the majority of other cable machines because it comes with pre-built weight plates. So instead of wasting time moving plates around you can focus on the training itself. Additionally, you don’t have to buy anything else because all the different body attachments and handles come inside the package. And the overall quality is really good so after using it a couple of times I have to say that there isn’t any difference between it and the cable machines you can find in your local gym. Finally, let’s not forget the huge amount of positive reviews you can find online. Click here to see for yourself.
Who is this cable machine best for?: This functional trainer/cable crossover machine is great for people who have a lot of space and are not afraid to pay a lot of money. But in this case, paying a premium price will really give you a premium quality. If you are looking for a commercial gym quality cable machine you can use in your home gym that has built-in plates, a padded pull-up bar, and an attachment station then this is the machine you would want to check.
Are there any good alternatives?: If for some reason you are not happy with this cable machine then a good alternative you can check is the Bodycraft HTF (click here to check it out). It has quite the same overall design with few differences like the pull-up bar form and the number of lbs per pulley. If you want a cheaper alternative you can also take a look at Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 (check it here). Even if the overall quality is lower than the XMark XM-7826 you still get a pretty decent setup. But if I had the money I would definitely go for the XMark instead of these 2 but take a look at them if you want.
What I like:
- Made with premium commercial gym quality materials
- Comes with a very large set of accessories
- Extra rack for the accessories
- Built-in padded curved pull-up bar
- Included 2 separate built-in 150 lbs weight stacks
- Extremely stable, sturdy, and safe
- Will last for a very long time
- Every detail is precise and well made
- Smooth movements and fast weight transitions
What I don’t like:
- Quite expensive compared to the other cable machines
- Difficult to assembly because of its weight (may need 2 people)
- Slow delivery and difficult returns
- No dip station or attachment
- Once built really hard to move around
4. Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack with Cable Machine – Best Plate Loaded Cable Crossover Machine for Home Gym
Price and overall value: If you decide to go for the BD-7 full package from here you are going to get the best value money can buy. For a very good price, you are getting a decently sized power rack that has a pull-up bar, lat pulldown, and seated row cable stations. In addition, you also get 2 fully rotatable cable pulleys so you can have a really stable and wide crossover machine at home. So you get 5 different machines at once. To be honest you won’t find a better deal from that so that’s why I would rate it a 10 out of 10 when it comes to price and value.
Number and variety of exercises: Because of the fact that you get a complete power rack, pull-up bar, and 3 different cable machines you are going to be able to do almost everything you can think of. For example, you can do pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, shoulder presses, deadlifts, shrugs, cable chest crossovers, bicep curls, tricep pull-downs, seated rows, lat pulldowns, and so on and so on. And if you combine it with a good adjustable bench like this one the number of exercises increases even more. So with this power rack/cable crossover station, you would be able to train everything you want in the comfort of your home. That’s exactly why I would give it a 10 out of 10 when it comes to the variety and number of exercises you get.
Stability and safety: Because of the huge base and the fact that you can load plates everywhere for extra stability I would easily rate this cable machine a 9.5 out of 10 when it comes to stability and safety. I would have given it a 10/10 if it came with the option to bolt it down to the floor but 9.5 it’s still a very realistic rating.
Type of weights: I really like this setup because you use the exact same plates for all the different cable machines you get. That makes it really easy to use and saves you a little bit of time because you can do multiple exercises one after the other without having to add or remove plates. So if you already own some plates at home you are ready for it. This cable machine setup works with both Olympic or smaller diameter plates as well. So that’s why I will give it an 8.5 out of 10 when it comes to the type of weight it uses. In my opinion, it would be better if the cable crossover came with built-in plates even if the price would be a lot higher then.
Adjustability and extra features: When it comes to moving it you will have a really hard time once everything is assembled. But if you remove all the plates and take a pair of hands it would be possible to move it around. But if we talk about adjustable pulleys and extra features nothing online can beat the BD-7 Power Rack with Cable Machine setup. As I previously said this whole thing contains almost everything you need to have in a home gym so once you buy it you are almost done. That’s why I would give a 9.5 out of 10. I’ve decided to remove 0.5 points because you don’t get some sort of a dip attachment and dips is a really basic and important exercise you need to do.
What makes it unique and better than the rest?: The number of different types of exercise equipment you get at once makes this home gym cable machine really stand out from the rest. I’ve never seen anything like it and if you have enough space I definitely recommend you to buy it. Sadly I don’t have enough space but one of my buddies does and this power rack combined with all those cable machines is really solid. If you combine it with a good Olympic bar and a nice pair of dumbbells you are ready. Literally, that’s everything you need for a solid home gym because you get everything you need with this one.
Who is this cable machine best for?: This home gym cable machine setup is perfect for people who have a lot of space and don’t have a power rack yet. If you already have a power rack you need to find only the cable machine attachments and figure out how to attach them. Here’s a good attachment you can check if you already have a power cage. But in case you don’t and you have the required space then this option is the perfect one for you.
Are there any good alternatives: The only alternative product I’ve seen so far that is very similar in design is the HulkFit 1000 Power cage (click here to check it out). You can buy the same 3 cable attachments but the total cost will be more than buying the BD-7 setup. But if for some reason you don’t need or have space for one or the other cable stations then you should take a look at HulkFit 1000.
What I like:
- Includes 5 different types of home gym equipment
- Very sturdy, safe, and easy to use
- Made from good materials that will last a very long time
- You can do huge number of isolation and compound exercises
- Strong design that can withstand big amounts of weight
- Straight and wide pull-up bar
- Adjustable and rotatable pulleys
- Option to do cable crossover at home
What I don’t like:
- It takes a large amount of space
- Long assembly process
- Difficult to move around
- Some of the accessories are sold separately
5. Mikolo Ceiling Cable Pulley Machine – Best Ceiling Mounted Lat Pulldown Cable Pulley Machine for Small Home Gym (Budget-Friendly)
Price and overall value: Compared to all the previous cable machines this ceiling machine pulley costs only a small fraction of the price you are going to pay for a big and professional machine for your home gym. And to be honest for the money you pay I might say that you get plenty of very useful stuff like a good pulley, 2 different length cables, 2 types of handles, and a wide-enough loading pin. So, in my opinion, the things you get are definitely worth the money you pay and that’s why I would rate it a 9 out of 10 in this category. I’ve removed 1 point because I would really love to have a 1-arm handle with this that it’s not included.
Number and variety of exercises: Even with the only 2 included attachments you have the option to do a lot of different exercises targeting your upper body but if you need more than that you will have to buy them separately. I’m talking about the 1-arm handle and the wider pull-up bar. Also, you won’t be able to easily attach the pulley at a lower angle which really limits the angles you can use to target your muscles. That’s why a 6 out of 10 would be a fair rating when it comes to the variety and number of exercises you can do with this type of equipment.
Stability and safety: If your anchoring point is solid this cable machine pulley will go nowhere. The cables are the exact same used in my other home gym cable machines and they can handle a lot of weight. The pulley can withstand a total of 280 lbs of weight which is a great number. So as long as you attach it the right way and don’t place too much weight everything would be fine. When it comes to stability this thing is going nowhere as far as you have attached the pulley to something really solid. That’s why an 8 out of 10 in terms of stability and safety is a great rate.
Type of weights: In order to use this ceiling cable machine you need to have plates. Luckily for you, this machine works with both Olympic and normal plates so you won’t have any problems with stacking them on top. But you need to be careful when you drop them on the ground because there isn’t any cushioning and you could create some damage if you drop them too fast.
The speed of loading and removing weights it’s not the best because you need to constantly attach and detach the lower carabiner which takes time. So that’s why my overall rating when it comes to weights and the way they are used is a 7 out of 10.
Adjustability and extra features: Since this type of cable machine can only be mounted on the ceiling or something taller it has very limited adjustability when it comes to height. Sure, you can still attach it at chest level and change the angle but not all people will find something sturdy enough to do it. On the other hand, when detached the whole pulley and roper system is very lightweight making it easy to carry and store when not used.
That’s not physically possible if we compare it with the traditional cable machine. When it comes to extra features the only thing I see here is the number of attachments you get. Even if they are only 2 they give plenty of options where it comes to different exercises and movements. But if you want to get the max out of it you will have to buy more separately. So when I take all of that into consideration a rating of 6 out of 10 is fair when it comes to adjustability and features.
What makes it unique and better than the rest?: There a couple of things that separate this ceiling-mounted cable machine from the rest but the biggest is the price. It costs only a small fraction of the price of a regular cable machine. The other one is the design and its weight. Instead of weighing big amounts of weight this machine only weighs a couple of lbs so it’s way easier to move around when needed. You can even attach it outside if you find the right anchoring point. And finally, I would say the extra hanging strap. Not all similar brands offer this which is a major problem if are trying to attach to something wider than the carabiner. (click here to check the hanging strap)
Who is this cable machine best for?: If you are very limited on space and money then the Mikolo Ceiling Cable Machine is the right fit for you. This cable machine pulley system is perfect for a tiny home gym because it can be attached to anywhere you like. You can easily add and remove it from a pull-up bar, punching bag attachment or a strong ceiling bolt, or anything sturdy enough to support it.
That’s why this cable machine is best suited for people who are just starting out to work out at home who are not sure if a massive and expensive cable machine is the right fit. Of course, you will have to own a couple of plates in order to use it.
Are there any good alternatives: If for some reason you don’t like the price or what’s included in this set a great alternative you can check is the Sertt Fitness ceiling pulley set (check it from here). It comes with a very similar setup and you also get a nice 1-handle attachment which is not included with the Mikolo set. Of course, there are plenty of similar sets around the web but these are 2 I recommend you to check because of the huge number of positive reviews and great price.
What I like:
- Really affordable price
- Very good value for money (comes with many things inside the set)
- Silent, really portable, and lightweight
- Easy to use and very stable and safe if attached properly
- Fully rotatable pulley and wide enough loading pin so you can place many plates
- Nice quality materials and great reviews
- Easy and fast assembly compared to traditional cable machines
What I don’t like:
- Not adjustable and you can only pull from above
- You need to have a place where you can attach it safely
- Doesn’t come with a 1-hand handle or wide pull-up bar attachment
- Difficult to target lower body
What Makes a Great Cable Crossover Machine? (Top 7 Things You Should Know Before You Buy a Cable Machine)
When it comes to cable machines it’s a little tricky to find the best one for your personal needs because most of them are pretty similar to one another.
The good news is that there are a few things you can check and compare so you can find a winner…
Luckily for you (and me) over time the design and functionality of the traditional cable machine have been slowly improved and today’s models offer a lot more options.
Let’s find out what are the 7 most important things you want to look for when you want to buy the best cable crossover machine (or regular):
Here are the 7 factors in which we will go more in-depth next:
- Durability and safety
- Price and value
- Number of exercises and type of training
- Ease of use and set up
- Differences between Plate Loaded or Pre-Built Weight Stacks cable machines
- Everything you need to know about the pulley system
- Rotatable vs static pulleys
- Number of pulley stations
- How many height positions do the pulleys have
- Number of unique features
- and much more.
They all play important roles but at the end of the day, pay bigger attention to only the things you want because we all have very different personal needs and wants.
1. How durable a cable machine should be?
In order to have a very durable, safe, and sturdy cable machine you want to look at the materials and the way the different pieces are connected. Anything made from high-quality steel with thick bolts and a wide base is going to be very durable.
Because this type of exercise equipment isn’t the cheapest you surely want to have a really solid construction that will stay sturdy and in one place no matter what weight or angle you are using to train.
A good way to check a cable machine’s durability without owning is to see how the whole design is made and in what way are the different parts held together.
You can always read a review like the ones above or watch a video showing the machine in action.
What is the first thing you want to get when you are building a house? Yes, it’s the foundation.
When it comes to safety and sturdiness the base and anchoring system (if any) is the most important thing to have in mind.
You want to have something that is wide, non-slip and solid. Look for specific designs that have a very wibe base.
When it comes to anchoring make sure the material is thich, the bolts are long enough and designed specifically for the material you are going to bolt them in. If your cable machine uses a carabiner make sure it’s wide enough and durable so it doesn’t break over time.
If you follow all those rules you won’t have any problem with durability and safety.
2. How much does a cable machine cost and how much should you pay?
The average price of a cable machine can vary a lot because of the many different types but you can buy one from about $50 up to $3000.
But should you really pay nearly $3000 for a cable machine or go for one that costs about $100?
When it comes to the price of your cable machine you really want to look into this investment in the long term.
If you decide to spend more money you will be making a good decision because a really good piece of equipment will last forever with minor to no repairs.
I have a couple of different machines in my room sitting there for a few years now and everything is working properly.
So my tip here is not to be cheap and try to save as much money as you can before you buy a cable machine because in time this decision may be more costly than you might think.
Again you want to get as much value as you can for the money you are paying.
With cable machines the more money you pay, the more features and quality you get. So in other words you get what you paid for.
Let’s check the next important factor…
3. How many exercises can you do with a cable machine? (And what type of training)
Every cable machine provides different options, attachments, weight limits, and angles so the number of exercises varies a lot. But a good cable machine should be able to provide at least 5 to 10 different exercises per muscle group if you have the right attachments.
That’s why my suggestion is to pick the one that gives you the biggest number of specific exercises you want to do.
Because most likely you will be using the cable machine to do a lot of different exercises during the workouts you want to own something that provides you with a lot of options and functions to choose from.
I personally prefer to change my workouts regularly by tweaking the exercises or adding new ones. With a very functional piece of equipment, you will be able to do this step easily which may result in better results for your fitness and health journey.
4. How easy and fast is it to set up the cable machine?
When choosing a long-term cable machine for your home gym it’s really important to pick one that is very easy and fast to set up before your workouts. For example, it would be better to use one that comes with pre-built plates instead of a model that uses regular plates you need to carry, attach and detach.
The same thing applies if you chose to go with the pulley option you need to hang every time you want to use if you don’t mind keeping it in one place.
When you are going to regularly use something, you want that process to be the easiest and fastest possible, right?
That’s why it may be important for you to learn how easy it really is to use a cable machine.
That being said a really good example I can give you is this recent story that happened to me. I was a little curious and was watching a YouTube video of a very expensive fitness home gym machine.
In the video, a person was showing what really it could do. It really stands in my mind how long it took him to transform the whole thing so he can do 2 different exercises. It took him about 1 or 2 minutes to finish this simple process and I was like
“Hell no, if I had to do all those steps just to do a different exercise It will take me 10 extra minutes just for that. In that time I can really finish 4 super sets of 2-3 exercises.”
See where I’m going with this?
You want a machine that is super easy to use and it only takes you a couple of seconds to go change the angle, height or exercise.
Trust me you will not regret this choice. You will see why only after a few short weeks.
This ranges from the “smoothness” of the cable to the grip quality and a dozen other things.
- For example how many steps are required for you to go from point a to point b?
- Is it a complicated or a simple machine?
- Do you need to move heavy plates or only need to change a pin?
Ask yourself these questions and you will easily see which machine is the best one for you and your budget.
5. What type of cable machine do you need? – Plate Loaded or Pre-Built Weight Stacks
Depending on what weights you already own, what is the budget for your home gym equipment, and what you want, there are 2 options to choose from when it comes to cable machines:
- 1) Machines with included weight stacks
- 2) Machines in which you use your personal weight plates
Now I will explain more briefly to you what each one of them offers to you so you understand how they work and what would be the best choice for your situation and needs.
Cable Machines with Included Weight Stacks (Pros and Cons)
These are the cable machines you are already familiar with because they are mainly used in commercial gyms.
The first benefit when it comes to weight stacks is that you really save time when you want to lower or increase the weight for a specific exercise because you don’t need to carry or move around heavy plates.
This is also very useful if you are doing a superset and you need a totally different weight for a different muscle groups or exercises.
Another bonus is that you will not need to buy additional weight plates and use them with the machine because they are pre-built with it.
Usually only the more expensive models that cost $1500-$2000 and above are equipped with weight stacks.
So you will have to pay a lot of money if you want to own a machine like this. Sadly this is something not many people can afford but if you do have the budget this is the best option money can get you.
Another drawback I don’t like is that because of the added stacks, the whole package you will receive will be quite heavy.
It will be multiple times heavier that what a plate-loaded cable machine will weight which will be a hassle on it’s own.
And because of that and the huge design, it will require a lot more strength, time, space, and sweat to assemble them.
In most cases that might require 2 or more people to do and a lot of strength.
But this is only the beggining. Here’s another good question you should ask yourself if you are looking to buy a cable machine that caomes with built-in weight stacks
How many stacks there are and how much weight is each stack?
An important factor of a good weight stack machine is its weight ratio.
By using this term I’m talking about how much weight is each stack, how many stacks are there, and how much additional weight comes with the whole cable machine.
While there isn’t a specific rule to follow I would choose the machine that offers the biggest total weight stacks that have the smallest increments so you can easily do progressive overload training.
You want to have the total amount of weight to be separated on as many stacks as possible. Each additional stack gives you a different resistance you can use so the more the better.
That quickly builds more variety which is pretty important for your results. Some weight stacks have the lightest stacks be separated more frequently than the heavier ones.
That is something you should look for when buying this type of equipment because it really helps you to do light exercises when you target your middle delts or doing tricep kickbacks.
How much total built-in stack weight are you getting?
When we are consistent in our training we gradually become stronger and stronger. You definitely want a cable machine that can provide you with good resistance for many years ahead so you want a model with at least 150 lbs (around 70 kg) per stack.
Please Note: Have in mind that the weight you are lifting on a machine for your home gym does feel totally different when you are lifting the same weight let’s say using a barbell. The same weight on the machine will feel a lot lighter than the one on the barbell. The reason behind this is the pulleys that are being used to lift the weight.
That being said now you understand why you want to have a very big number when it comes to built-in weights.
So if you are an advanced athlete who has a lot of strength or even are someone that wants to progress and make gains make sure to pick something that has a very big amount of added weight.
Does your stack cable machine have 1 or 2 weight stacks? (Is there a difference?)
The more expensive versions out there come with dual-weight stacks. If you have the option to buy a 1 vs a 2 stack machine it is better to go with the 2 weight stack choice. Having an extra weight stack is a great thing to have because the resistance of the weight won’t be split if you are training both your hands or legs at the same time using the different handles.
That way you can have 2 times more amount of available resistance which gives you more room to grow. Another little benefit is that you would be able to train each part differently at the same time.
A cable crossover is a really good exercise you would be able to do if you go for the 2 weight stack option.
Plate Loaded Cable Machine (Pros and Cons)
In case you don’t know a plate-loaded cable machine is a normal functioning gym equipment that uses weight plates you have around as resistance instead of the commercial weight stacks you see inside the gym.
Sadly you will not see these types of cable machines very often sold by the big fitness equipment brands because they won’t make as much money as selling the way more expensive weight stack machines instead.
The good thing about them is that they are quite more affordable than the ones with the included plates.
If you already have a pretty big stack of plates of all sizes laying around in your home gym then the plate-loaded cable machine may be a great option for you.
One thing you have to consider before buying this type of cable machine is the size of the diameter of your plates and the size of the diameter of the machine.
If you don’t already know it you can easily measure it using a simple measuring tape and use Google to check what is that size called.
A few common sizes most plate machines work with are the F-28, F-30, F-40 or F-50 (Olympic plates).
The 28, 30, 40 and 50 is the mm diameter of the hole you have in the middle of the plate.
But you want to aim for both your plates and the machine’s weight bars to have the same size.
If the diameter of the plates is too big for the machine the plates might bounce up and down if you are pulling the cable at a too fast pace.
Tip: Some machines come with detachable weight bar tubes that you place on top of your original one which makes it a whole lot thicker allowing you to fit perfectly plates with bigger diameter. See if the model you like has this if you only have Olympic plates.
If you are just starting out and don’t have any additional plates to use it’s always better to know your plans for the future.
If you are going to use a barbell, adjustable plate dumbbells, or other equipment that use plates this type of cable machine may be a good pick for you.
Unfortunately buying additional plates will increase the total cost so have that in mind in case you don’t have any.
Also another con is that it takes a longer time for you to change the weight when you have to when we compare it to the weight stack cable machine.
And you also need to store those plates somewhere as well.
So what is the better cable machine? – The Plate-Loaded one or The Weight Stack?
Both cable machines have their pros and cons. And the answer here really relies on what you currently have, what are your plans for the near future, and what you prefer. Your budget is also a factor when it comes to this comparison so there isn’t a clear winner.
But if space and budget are not a problem I would recommend you to buy a professional commercial cable machine with weight stacks because it’s faster and easier to use.
And of course, that doesn’t mean that the plate-loaded is bad.
I own one of those and I’m really happy with the purchase.
6. What is the cable machine’s pulley system and how it works?
Before you buy a cable machine you need to visually see from photos or videos how exactly the pulley system works, how many pulleys there are, and what angles can you use. This is really important because the answers to these questions will determine the number of exercises you would be able to do.
Here are the best 3 questions you should ask yourself for every cable machine that uses pulleys:
- Should the cable machine’s pulleys be static or rotatable?
- What is the number of outer pulley stations?
- How many adjustable height positions do the pulleys have?
Let’s get more in detail about each one of questions and see the right answer…
Should the cable machine’s pulleys be static or rotatable?
It is always a better option to have rotatable pulleys instead of static ones that don’t move because the option to rotate the pulleys between 180 to 360 degrees gives you a better range of motion, a bigger variety of exercises, and more stability.
Sadly many of the cheapest cable machines out there are designed very poorly and use static pulleys instead of rotatable ones.
In many cases, the outside machine pulleys you use in order to choose the angle for your pull are not rotatable at all.
You are stuck using the machine only directly in front of it.
This is a mistake I made when I bought my first cable machine and that is one of the things I really don’t like about it.
It doesn’t allow you flexibility and freedom of movement.
Also, it puts a lot of extra stress on your wrists which in time may result in injury or other problems.
But you shouldn’t need to worry about that specific problem because most models now have 180-degree rotatable pulleys.
But always make sure they really are before you order your cable machine.
What is the number of outer pulley stations?
By pulley stations, I mean the number of places where you can place different kinds of attachments in the outer part of the machine.
When it comes to cable machines there are models that have one, two, or even four pulley stations. It is recommended not to buy a piece of equipment which does have only one station or you can use only one station at a time because that way you are limiting yourself in the number of exercises you can do at the same time.
If you are a beginner and you won’t have a problem with training one side at a time then, I guess it’s okay.
Example: When you are doing cable crossover you will have to train one pec at a time instead of the whole chest at once.
Then you might want to go for the machine with 2 pulleys.
The best version is the one with the 4 pulley stations but it will be the most expensive one.
Also, it will take a lot of space if you are looking for something like the traditional cable crossover machine you can find in your local gym.
The good news is that there are machines using a 4 pulley system that are specifically designed for the space of a home gym.
They are made compact and can provide you with the ability to train two parts at the same time. A good example I like is this machine over here.
Last but not least, these are also a good choice for 2 people who want to train at the same time.
How many adjustable height positions do the pulleys have?
When it comes to adjustability you want equipment that can provide you with a big number of height positions you can use for your pulleys. Anything with about 17 to 19 different height positions is going to be enough so you can do as many exercises as possible.
Sadly now all cable machines have adjustable pulleys so if you have the space and budget I would recommend you to go with one that offers this feature.
Something else you can consider is the total height of the machine and what is the maximum height of the last hole you can use.
You can also check at what height is the lowest adjustment hole.
Other things to consider are:
- The length between those 2 holes
- How close each hole is to the next from
- How many holes are there in total
All those things can give you an average idea of the freedom of movement and total angles a machine can provide you with.
Your goal here is to have the biggest total freedom and variety you can.
7. What number of unique features does the cable machine have?
Almost every single cable machine out there is somehow unique and it can provide you with some extra unique features. Some of those extra features can be a built-in pull-up bar, a big amount of handles you can use, very wide space for your workouts, additional weight plate holders, additional attachments, and much more.
Having great extra features can be very useful for your workouts because they give you an additional boost or give you a better variety of things you can do.
And that will result if faster and better results.
As you saw from the product reviews above you have a lot of options to choose from.
So when it comes to extra features pick the ones that are important for you and you will be ready for some serious progress.
8 Good Reasons Why Your Home Gym Needs a Cable Machine
At this moment you might be guessing why are cable machines good for you? Do you really need to invest in one? Would it be worth it? and many more questions.
Let’s dive deeper and check out some great reasons why you really should add one for your home gym.
1. Using a cable machine helps you get constant time under tension
The constant time under tension you get from using cables helps you better stress the muscles you are training and breaking more muscle fibers. That, on the other hand, helps you build more muscle mass and also increases the strength of your body.
It’s also a lot easier to get longer time under tension from using cables than the regular free weights. Those reasons above are why cables might get you better results than free weights.
2. With cable machines you get a better pump and range of motion motion (Which means faster results)
One good thing to notice is that you really don’t care about gravity when you use cables. Your muscles work continuously throughout the whole way of motion from point A to point B resulting in better pumps and contractions. That will lead you to gain more weight and develop a better mind-muscle connection.
3. It is easier to focus on the negative part of the reps when you use cables
Because the weight you are using to train is attached to pulleys you can really focus on the “feeling” of the muscles. It is very difficult not to do an exercise properly when using cables (you can only do this if you really don’t have a clue how to do it or just use too much weight) so that helps you focus on the contraction.
Because of all those things you can really attach your mind on the negative part of the rep (eccentric) and make it slow and controlled.
The negative part of a rep is the main factor when it comes to breaking down fibers and building muscle. (study)
4. You can train your whole body using a cable machine
If you have an adjustable cable machine there isn’t part of your body you couldn’t target and train. That way you can save a lot of money or different equipment specifically designed to train only one muscle and target your whole body at ease.
And the best part is that there are very affordable models like the Valor Fitness BD62 Mount Station which is my favorite.
Finally, of course, I recommend you not to use only cables when you are training because free weights do have their own perks.
You should aim to combine both of them to get the max for your body.
5. Cable machines are best for isolating lacking or smaller muscles
There isn’t anything worse than one arm being a lot bigger than the other or having an underdeveloped body part. Using cables can help you easily isolate and concentrate on a single muscle because you don’t have momentum and don’t rely entirely on gravity on the whole range of motion.
It’s also harder for you to start using other muscles to help when they are not needed (cheating).
Of course you can do the same thing with free weights but cables make it 10 times easier and more effective.
Example: You can easily isolate specific often-neglected targeted muscles such as real shoulders, the middle part of the traps, inner and upper chest, obliques, etc with the help of the 1-arm handle attachment.
6. With a cable machine you can use a great number of different attachments (for better results)
In order for your cable machine to really work you need to use some sort of attachment. The good news is that you have many options when it comes to attachments. Different attachments allow you to target specific muscle groups using different angles in different ways which gives you better variety if we compare it to dumbbells or a barbell.
Usually, the basic ones like 1-hand handle grip or the straight bar attachment come with the machine.
You can also buy them separately if needed.
But beware that with each additional attachment you own, you have a bigger variety of exercise to choose from.
There are even YouTube videos that show you how you can make one yourself in case you don’t want to spend any money. Here’s an example:
Isn’t that cool?
With a nice variety of different attachemnts you can stress your muscles fibers differently and get better results.
7. Owning a cable machine saves you both space and time
When building your own gym, your space is somehow limited. This is why you should choose the best and most versatile cable machine for your home gym so you can really get the max out of every inch you have available. You can achieve that easily by choosing equipment that allows you to do multiple different exercises and allow you to train the whole body that comes with a big variety of great features.
A good quality cable machine might be a perfect choice that can do that easily.
It also saves you time because you don’t need to go to the gym or adjust benches, barbell weights or dumbbells.
If you select a model that comes with built-in weights you will be able to change everything in literally seconds.
8. Cables help you build strength for pull-ups
Cables are a great way to build the needed strength if you aren’t capable of doing pull-ups just yet. A perfect exercise you can do to achieve that is the lat pull-down which can be done only with the help of a cable machine.
Even if you have the strength to do a couple let’s not forget the other parts of your back.
An often underdeveloped part of your back is your middle traps which you can also isolate it easily with face pulls that require a cable.
Tip: You can add something soft beneath your knees if you are doing lat pull-downs and you have a hard floor.
Of course, you can use resistance bands for both those exercises as well but because of the attachment and costant resistance cables are more effective and comfortable to use.
The Verdict – Should You Buy A Cable Machine? (Pros And Cons)
Before I give you my final opinion about if buying a cable machine is a good idea let’s start with some the good stuff I like about cable machines.
The Good Stuff (Pros)
- You can build up your strength
- Great for you no matter what your fitness level is
- Isolate and work on one muscle
- Diversify your workouts (works great with a combination of free weights)
- Build up your strength
- Less stress on your joints
- Constant resistance
- Safer to use than free weights
Some of the bad stuff.
The Bad Stuff
Some of the most popular but true cons are:
- Doesn’t train your stabilization and balance muscles
- Doesn’t build much strength as free weights
- Not a very good option if you have very limited space
- Some models can be very expensive
Both those can be easily fixed if you use a combination of cable and free weights for your workouts.
Another thing I regularly hear is this:
“High-end cable machines can be really expensive”
Yes, there are very expensive cable machines out there but again there are very affordable models too.
If you think about it it’s the same exact thing with the car industry. There are cheaper versions that can do an excellent job. A great example of a cheap yet effective cable machine is this one here.
At this point, you should already know all the ins and outs before you buy the best cable machine for your home gym.
If you still don’t know which one is the best for you I highly recommend picking something that fits your individual needs.
My personal favorite out of these 5 models is the the Valor Fitness BD61. (click here to check it out)
In my opinion, it’s the best cable machine for home gym because of a few things.
Firstly it’s very affordable compared to similar products with prices 4 times bigger. For the money, you pay you are getting excellent quality with many great features and extras.
My personal favorite feature is the dual pulley rotatable system I can use to get better mind-muscle connection and growth.
Additionally you can attach 2 of those on separate walls and create a solid cable crossover.
It’s stable, safe and uses plates I already own.
I personally don’t think you can find a better cable machine with so many extras for that price.
If you want to check it out and see more details please click here to see the latest price on Amazon.
Thank you so much for reading my article. I really hope you enjoy it and learned something useful from it.
If you like it, please share it with your friends and don’t forget to leave me a comment below.
Before you go take a look at those great articles about more home gym equipment you may like:
- See My Top 10 Best Gym Bag Essentials for Beginners (Home Gym Edition)
- 7 Best Home Gym Equipment to Build More Muscle
- Top 3 Best Closed-Door Pull-Up Bars for Your Home
- 5 Best Rowing Machines Under $200 for Any Home Gym
- 5 Best Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars for Your Home Gym
See ya next time.