If you are planning to purchase a functional trainer, you need to read the reviews beforehand.
If you are on this page, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be discussing top functional trainers in detail.
The functional trainers must be durable, along with smooth acting pulleys and a reliable warranty.
As you are looking for a home gym, it is essential to check whether the machine will be a compact choice.
It should include all the exercises that otherwise would be found at the gym.
Moreover, if you spend time and select the right trainer, you don’t have to keep wasting money on different trainers.
It is not easy to find the right home gym if you don’t know what to consider, although all trainers are not built similarly.
Our complete guide will help you in understanding the overall details of the functional machines.
Once you read the post, you can easily spot the key specs, essential features, and everything else. Thus, you wouldn’t be wasting time on different machines.
What Is a Functional Trainer?
When you hear the term “Functional trainer,” you might assume that it is a complex machine.
But it is not, it is another term for a cable machine. The term “functional trainer” began when the machine was used in sports medicine and rehab clinics.
The clinicians used the machine to do functional training, so the machine was termed as a functional trainer.
The reason why rehabs had these machines was to offer the chance for the patients to perform activities of daily living safely and efficiently.
As they say, doing the skill will help you nurture it.
The functional trainer is a good choice for therapists as it has adjustable pulleys. These adjustable pulleys have unlimited motion range.
This option provides therapists to improve many tasks super easily and safely.
Sport moves such as golf club or baseball bat are accommodated using the functional trainer.
Also, functional trainers can benefit you by offering the chance to engage in rotational movements.
Even though the machines were used for rehab needs, after some time, they became a good selection for home gyms.
As these machines had a vast range of exercise, it is no wonder why people wanted it as home gyms.
There are different sizes and shapes that we can find in the functional trainers. They offer a wide range of exercises as per the machine type. Also, a machine needs to have, at least, one adjustable pulley system; however, most machines have 2.
Most machines have one or two weight stack for resistance. But some trainers consider weight plates for resistance.
These trainers also have different attachments or handle that the user can select as per the exercise they are doing.
These days, you can find a machine with combo units that add Smith machines with a functional trainer.
But other workout varieties are combined with a functional trainer.
These machines are wonderful because of the range of workouts they offer.
This particular reason sets aside functional trainers from other home gyms. You don’t have to worry about injuries and damages because the machine is safe to use alone.
When talking about functional trainers, you might be wondering whether TRX trainers belong to the category.
Well, yes, they do even though the system is different. They offer a lot of exercises even though external resistance is not provided.
Therefore, you might have to use your body weight. Now let’s learn more about functional trainers.
How to Choose a Functional Trainer?
Now that you know what functional trainers are, let’s see the ways to select a functional trainer.
Finding the best-suited functional trainer is similar to finding other fitness equipment.
You must know the things that you are looking for.
It’s better to focus more on the specs/features of the machine if you want to find a good quality machine.
This will help you save money instead of wasting on another machine.
#1. Weight Stacks
Weight stacks are used by quality functional trainers nowadays. This is one of the nicest features because you will be getting built-in resistance.
If you don’t get this feature, you would have to purchase plates and switch them as for requirements.
Moreover, you would have to search for places to store them separately. All these are added burdens, so weight stack is a great feature.
But if you are purchasing a combination of a power rack or Smith machine, then you might have to go with plates.
Certain budget trainers use plates, whereas quality trainers always come with weight stacks.
When you are searching for a machine, you need to think about whether you need one or two stack system.
If you are interested in purchasing the best, have the required budget, we would advise you to purchase a dual weight stack machine.
If the machine has a double stack system, the resistance will be doubled, too.
Also, it lets two people use the machine at a time (based on the exercise, obviously).
In regards to resistance, the stack’s weight will differ from one machine to another.
This is an important factor to consider when you are comparing choices.
Standard weight stacks are 200 lb, 165 lb, or 150 lb. When considering the standard weight stacks, you need to know the pulley’s mechanical advantage (2:1 ratio).
So, you will be feeling as if you are lifting half of the actual weight. Due to this factor, most buyers prefer machines with high resistance.
Also, it helps you find out your strength and capacity.
Moreover, you will be able to upgrade the stacks by bearing an additional cost.
Most of the time, you get the chance to purchase an additional 50 lb or for a stack.
However, almost all functional trainers utilize weight stacks, but there are other methods to offer resistance.
For example, certain trainers, such as NordicTrack Fusion CST, utilize magnetic resistance to offer smooth operation without needing traditional stack.
This is another important part of the system. A high-end trainer must have pulleys that are easy to adjust.
In regards to pulleys, they should be 100% adjustable. It means that the pulleys should be adjustable for every inch as per the machine’s height.
Quality trainers can adjust pulley positions for every 3 inches.
It is essential to have lower and upper pulley positions so that you can get optimal exercise. If you get a chance to test a machine in a sports goods store, you are lucky.
If you don’t get the chance, you will not be able to try the machine before purchasing it. So you will not know how the pulleys work as a naive buyer.
This is why you need to read reviews or guides before purchasing the machine. Hence, you will get an idea regarding the quality of pulley.
There are different amounts of attachments for different trainers. Certain brands may include a lot, whereas some will not include more than a pair.
This is why you need to check the number of attachments when checking the prices.
For example, if you find two models at different prices, you might find more attachments in the machine.
Below are some of the common attachments:
- Triceps rope – this is a cool attachment because it helps you focus on a wide range of bicep curls and tricep extensions.
- D handles – this is a common attachment; these handles are used in the most exercise.
- Long bar – this is like a barbell because it can be attached to the pulleys.
- Short bar – this is the shorter version of the bar mentioned above. This only attaches to a single side.
- Pull up bar – this bar comes with all the trainers in the front section. You can find this bar in all shapes.
- EZ curl bar – this is a contoured bar, which is beneficial for bicep curls.
- Multi-purpose belt – this is to gain support during pull-ups.
- Sports bar – this is a straight, small bar. Essential to performing sports moves.
- Ankle cuff – this is attached to your ankle, by attaching it, you can do hip workouts to strengthen your hip.
Benches are not an attachment; rather, they are sold individually.
Most trainers can adapt to leg developers and preacher curl attachment, and they are sold separately, too.
This is one of the essential specs that buyers must consider. You need to be cautious about the warranty when purchasing fitness equipment; this includes functional trainers, too.
The warranties that you get for functional trainers are divided into parts and frames. Thus, you can opt for longer, as it is better.
Lifetime warranty is available for the frame, and it can be obtained for high-end trainers.
You can come across a lifetime warranty for parts if the product is high-end. But these are not commonly available.
As per the price, you might often come across warranty ten plus years for the frame.
However, a warranty is directly based on the price. If you purchase an expensive trainer, you will get a longer warranty.
So you can decide whether to purchase a budget machine with a lower warranty or to save up money and go with a longer warranty.
Lastly, you need to check the dimensions before purchasing the machine.
Sometimes, you wouldn’t be able to fit the machine in your room or space. Even the compact machines consume a lot of space.
You need to measure your space and compare it with the dimensions of the machine.
Commonly, these trainers have the dimensions about 7′ tall, 5′ wide, and 4-5′ long.
However, this is the machine dimension, so it doesn’t include the space you need for workouts and for the bench (if you are buying one).
The bench also varies in 4′ or more in length.
Many trainers with dual-stack feature weigh between 700-800 lb once assembled.
This is another reason why you need to decide the space before purchasing the machine.
We now know how to choose a functional trainer, let’s take a look at our top 7 picks.
Our Top 7 Best Home Functional Trainers ( In No Particular Order)
This particular trainer can easily secure the top place on the list. Inspire Fitness has a great gym system, and it has excellent features, as well.
In addition, the Smith system combo to this machine is a great take on.
FT2 is a classy machine with heavy-duty frame, solid, matter black scheme; all in all, it’s a function and cosmetic combination.
The trainer offers weight stacks of dual 165 lb. If the trainer comes with 200 lb, there would not be a better choice.
However, you can get an extra weight stack of 50 lb as upgrades if you need more resistance.
You can adjust the smooth pulleys 100% while you get the chance to enjoy eight different starting positions for pulleys.
Most of the home trainers come with only two adjustable pulleys, whereas FT2 has six added pulleys.
Also, they have different widths. Thus, you can engage in different exercises.
The machine has seven unique handles, water bottles, an exercise booklet, and 2×5 lb additional weights.
You can also find a height pull up bar that can be adjusted accordingly.
Moreover, you can use it as a Smith machine, too. The adjustable Smith bar lets you engage in the bench press or squats that you’d be doing using the Smith machine.
The Smith bar has a weight multiplier that helps to double the resistance.
In regards to resistance, you don’t have to worry about purchasing weight plates because Smith bar utilizes the weight stacks.
Inspire Fitness offer lifetime warranty for the moving parts and frame (limited).
Summing up, FT2 can be graded as a commercial product with limitless workout capacity. Read our full review.
- The frame has commercial grade
- Weight stacks of Dual 165 lbs
- Weight multiplier to double the resistance of the Smith machine
- Functioning combined with Smith machine
- Eight various pulley locations, and 32 various pulley positions. These flexible pulleys can help you do all the possible exercises smoothly.
- A wide variety of accessories and attachments
- Pull up bar is adjustable
- Lifetime warranty
- Bench not added. If you want to get one for more possible workouts, you need to spend more money on it.
- Complicated assembling procedures. Some customers reported that it’s pretty difficult and take a lot of time.
- Heavy. Hard to move when it has assembled.
This is another product from Inspire Fitness. This is a compact machine when compared to the size of the FT2.
You will not find the extra pulley positions and the Smith Bar like in the FT2. But then, the reduction of those attachments, don’t devalue the product; rather, FT1 works great.
You can get the product for the lower asking price.
This machine weight stacks of dual 165 lb even though it would be better if they were heavier. Just like the previous machine, you can add 50 lb with an additional cost.
There are 30 different positions offered by adjustable pulleys. You can also enjoy smooth action with easy adjustments.
The FT1 trainer has similar attachments like the FT2. However, there’s a difference in the pull-up bar, and you will not be able to adjust the height like the FT2.
It will be fixed, and this angle bar helps you to focus on chin-ups and pull up with different grips.
Moreover, the assembling procedure of FT1 is easy. Every tower is pre-assembled; you only have to connect using the frame, and it normally takes 2 hours.
If you have limited space, this could be a good choice. As the product is 54″ wide, this is the only narrow stack trainers (dual).
Overall, the FT1 offers a warranty just like the FT2. If you are not planning to spend more, you can go with this option as it has the same quality as the FT2. Read Inspire Ft1 full review.
- Dual adjustable pulleys, which are designed to switch workouts smoothly
- Small footprint that fits in a corner of the room
- Sturdy construction
- Provide a wide variety of exercises
- Weight stacks of dual 165 lb
- Pull up bar included
- 100% Lifetime warranty
- Better if weight stacks were 200 lb
- Bench not included
- Might hard to assemble for some people
- Too heavy to move when it has assembled, so you should think about where to place before put them together
XMark trainer would be something that you feel close to. The frame is available in white, but the overall look of the product makes it look classy.
You will be able to enjoy the weight lifting style of the machine. This machine is cheaper when compared to the cost of FT1. There are similar features, but there are prominent differences.
The XMark trainer has the weight stacks of dual 200 lb. This is the only machine that comes with 200 lb weight stacks.
If you are interested in maximizing the resistance, this could be the right option.
The machine has two pulleys, and they are 100% adjustable. The back making handle will help you make the height selection.
As for users, cables and pulleys can be graded commercial.
There are seven various attachments, although there will be differences in the handle compared to the previous models. Also, the XMark has a pull-up bar, which is built-in.
Regarding the warranty of the product, it’s actually great but not as enjoyable as the warranties we discussed above.
This machine has a 1-year warranty for parts and a lifetime warranty for the frame.
This is the main reason to consider this product because even with weight stacks of 200 lb, you are receiving a lifetime warranty.
All in all, the XMark machine is a solid one. Several attachments, heavy stacks, and a budget-friendly offer are the factors that have made the product to the list. Read the full review.
- Ship promptly in the United States
- XMark customer service is excellent
- The handles are incredibly sturdy
- The cables are smooth, quiet, sturdy, and can be extended quite far to perform more workouts
- The frame has an attachment storage
- Lifetime warranty for frame
- Affordable price, and provides the best value for the money
- Assembly can be complicated. It would take 3 to 4 hours for two people from start to finish.
- Seem quite narrows
PFT100 is a budget-friendly product by Body-Solid. Even though certain features are lacking, you can make it up with budget-friendliness.
You can save around $1000 by purchasing this product, so if you have a tight budget, PFT100 is your take on.
At a glance, you might not find the product as pretty as the ones we discussed above. The reason is it doesn’t have storage hooks or book holder like other products so that it may look like a sketch.
This affordable machine has dual weight stacks, 160 lb weight each, and you have the liberty to upgrade 210 lb with an additional cost.
Also, the product has a pair of single handles. You will not find short or long bars or even ankle cuff.
Even though there is no multi-grip option, you will find a straight pull up. This product is pretty straightforward so that you can assemble it easily.
However, it is wider than the other machines we discussed, and the width is 62.6″.
The warranty period is one year for the parts and ten years for the frame, so it’s not that great. But this is an obvious fact because the price you pay is lower so the warranty will be less.
Overall, if you have a tight budget and interested in a simple home gym, this could be the best choice.
- Steel frame, adjustable pulleys, and most importantly, the machine works smoothly
- Dual weight stacks of 160 lbs
- Simple assembly. The machine will take around an hour to put together
- Excellent warranty, one-year parts, and ten-year frame.
- Very low price
- Only has 1 set of handles
This trainer is similar to the below product and FT1. But compared to this, FT1 is cosmetically better.
This is a dual-stack system that has attachments and pulls up a bar along with an ideal warranty.
There’s a minor difference here, which is 150 lb standard stack. Also, these are light stacks, and these are the only ones you would find so far.
This product is a bit cheaper than Inspire Fitness FT1. So, you can consider purchasing this product, and if needed, you can add 50 lb for each side.
Just like other machines we discussed, each pulley is independent and can be fully adjusted as per your needs. There are seven various handles and an exercise booklet that can be used as a guide.
You will also find a multi-grip pull bar with a different shape so that you can use it as a neutral grip. This will only be 55″ wide when the machine is assembled.
If you have limited space, you should consider this product.
The warranty of this product is what makes it different from the trainer XMark. You can get a lifetime warranty for the parts and frame when you purchase the HFT machine.
This could be the most affordable machine that comes with a lifetime warranty.
Summing up, HFT has similar specs and features of XMark and FT1. The stack weight is lower, but when considering the price, you will not be able to find a better option with this warranty. Read our full review.
- Steel frame, which makes the machine sturdy and safe
- Easy assembly. Everything is well labeled and directions are easy to follow
- There are over 70 exercises that you can do with the system
- The ease of switching workouts is awesome
- Excellent warranty
- Only 150 lb on each stack
- Bench not included
This is one of the best trainers that you can get from a global brand. The products from this brand are often seen in commercial gyms because of the effectiveness and efficiency.
The frame of the product is long-lasting because of the heavy-duty material used in the product. The frame is well-coated to avoid scratches and damages.
The dual adjustable pulley helps the user to adjust it 100% whenever needed. The pulleys accommodate 20 positions that can support 55 exercises with just one trainer.
You can also find a long bar, curl rod, short bar, thigh straps, handle straps, chin-up bar, and a pull-up bar. Moreover, you can follow a wide range of exercise without hitting the gym.
The cable material and system are one of the great features of this machine. The cable is extremely durable and easy to use.
Apart from all these features, another exciting feature is video guides and tutorials. You wouldn’t find similar exciting features from other products.
This is why beginners need to give this machine a shot so that they can learn and understand everything.
So next is, weight stacks, there are two stacks of 150 lb weight. This is the best for heavy lifters.
If you are not ready for heavy lifting, you can remove the weight stacks and engage in regular exercises with Life Fitness G7.
So you will get ten years warranty for the steel frame and three years warranty for the parts. The warranty for the parts is low because of the wider usage of the trainer.
Overall, this could be a good choice if you are a heavy lifter with a reasonable budget. See the full review here.
- The G7 comes with a sturdy and robust build
- Unique cable-motion technology
- Dual pulley system for smooth exercising
- Provides around 60 different workout options
- Comes attached with a detailed user manual that can be easily mounted on the frame
- Also includes training DVDs as well
- It comes with two 150 lbs. weight stacks
- Various accessories included
- Limited warranty for the cable and pads. Some buyers aren’t happy with that
- Tools to assemble the equipment not included in the package
- Cannot fold the equipment when not in use
- Assembly might be difficult
- Bulky design
- Cannot move around easily
- Limited chest exercises
- No bench attached
- No leg press Attachment
This functional trainer is great to use, and you can benefit from this product once you fix it as the home gym. You can engage in all kinds of body workouts if you have this machine.
Exercises such as pull-ups, lunges, shoulder, chest, wings, biceps, triceps, squats, legs, and rotations are achievable from this home gym.
Sport handle, triceps rope, ankle cuff, long bar, and curl bar are some of the attachments you can get from the machine.
This trainer will keep you hooked to the workouts. You will also encounter SCS bench press, leg extension, and preacher curl.
The bearing system of the machine should be responsive and efficient as the trainer is a heavy-duty functional one.
This unmatched bearing system offers the chance to engage in smooth exercises.
The dual pulley system has divided tension so you can let all the energy into your workouts.
Talking about the design, you will not find any unique design. Also, the dual system lets you adjust the motion when working out.
You don’t have to purchase additional Olympic weight as the product offers Olympic weight stacks and bars. And you will receive ten years warranty when purchasing the trainer.
Also, you will get a full guarantee from the parts and frames.
Another prominent feature is the adjustable height of this trainer, so this will help you set the height according to the way you want.
Also, heavy lifters might be interested in the option of increasing the resistance. This will help them double their weight.
Moreover, you can include virtual weights and get body shapes and cuts.
Overall, if you are looking for a heavy-duty trainer with multiple exercising options, this could be it!
- Dual pulley system, which can help you switch workout smoothly.
- The height is adjustable
- Steel bearing offers smooth and efficient exercise experience
- Commendable warranty
- Perfect for heavy lifters as it has weight multiplier
- No idea for performing squats
Finally, we have offered the complete guide, but remember your choice should depend on your personal preference while focusing on the reviews. You might already be impressed with the versatility of the machines.
So when you are settling for a trainer, you must consider specs, features, warranty, and the price. Gladly, most of the trainers we discussed above are in the similar price range.
Thus, you wouldn’t have a hard time settling for a price range. Now, you can find the best functional trainer by considering the above guide.