As working out at home becomes more and more popular, it becomes imperative that we have the right equipment to do the job.
Leg press machines can work absolute wonders for your lower body. They work your quads, hamstrings, glutes and more. Having one of these machines in your home gym is a must have.
Of course, it’s very important that you get the right machine for you. After all, the last thing you want is to injure yourself as you exercise.
The question is, what is the best choice for you? We’re here to answer that question.
Here are the best leg press machines, in addition to a handy buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision.
OUR TOP PICK
The Body Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat Machine is by far one of the most popular leg press machines on the market.
It has so many fantastic features that it’s no wonder that it’s so well loved among fitness enthusiasts everywhere. This is the perfect leg press machine for home use, though it’s not too bad for a gym or for use in a commercial setting either.
For starters, the model comes with three different safety lock positions. It’s capable of loading up to 1000 lbs in total, which is ideal for even the most serious of lifters.
It has a quad track roller system, and this helps to distribute any weight easily. It’s surprisingly comfortable too, thanks to the 10cm thick DuraFirm material.
You don’t need to worry about durability either as a result of the 11 gauge steel grame.
It’s really easy to stack up the weight using the plate load system, all you need to do is load some plates on that you would normally use for an olympic barbell. Not to mention it also has adjustable back pads.
Of course, it isn’t without it’s negatives. The main drawback of this particular model is that it’s pretty complicated to assemble, so you’d best make sure you have a few hours on hand if you want to set this beast up.
- 3 safety locks
- Durable construction
- It can be challenging to put together
For some, the vertical leg press is the preferable option. If you are in the market for a great vertical leg press, you should try the Powerline by Body-Solid Vertical Leg Press.
This machine provides you with all of the support that you need to get a great leg workout, and is plenty challenging to get in those muscle gains.
The machine consists if a heavy duty steel frame that is exceptionally durable. The whole operation is smooth and works like a treat.
It isolates each muscle, providing you with a thorough leg workout. It’s a fantastic choice for smaller spaces thanks to the vertical design, and there’s plenty of cushioning to ensure that you are comfortable the whole time.
What really stands out about this machine is that it has dual adjustable half inch locking pins. It also has a diamond plate steel press and three stop and start points.
It has a decent capacity of 400 lbs, which is more than enough for at least a few years of workouts. It can be rather noisy though as it can squeak when you put a heavy load on.
- Easy to put together
- Durable construction
- Saves space
- Can squeak when using higher loads
The Weider Ultimate Body Works Adjustable Incline Leg Press is a great choice for you if you want a versatile leg press machine.
In fact, it actually uses your body weight as the mode of resistance, and this means you don’t only need to use it for your legs.
The machine comes with 4 different power bands, in addition to a cable puller system which is what creates the resistance.
You can do bodyweight workouts on there, and you can even adjust the bench to your own liking. As it is a bench, folding it away is incredibly simple, as is storage.
In addition to this, you will also get a 90 day warranty on the parts and the labor of this machine.
It’s insanely affordable if you’re on a budget, and it even comes with an exercise guide.
It should be noted though that it can be somewhat tricky to set it up.
- Easy to store
- Challenging to set up
As an added bonus, here are two extra leg press machines that you may like!
When they called this a ‘monster’ leg press, they really weren’t joking! This is the perfect leg press for taller users, and will be a wonderful asset to your home gym.
With this leg press, you can lift exceptional amounts of weight - up to 1000 lbs in total! This is more than sufficient to adequately build up your quads, flutes, calves and hamstrings all from the comfort of your garage.
To build up the resistance, you just need to have some olympic weight plates to stack on the weight.
The machine operates incredibly smoothly on the ball bearing tracks.
It’s also super comfortable as it has commercial grade padding, in addition to a big footplate. For additional safety, it has an adjustable safety catch.
You can use this up to 7 feet tall, but be warned - it’s not going to be suitable if you’re under 5 foot 7.
So, if you have a number of smaller family members that may wish to use a leg press machine, you may wish to invest in a different option.
- Large weight capacity
- Adjustable safety catch
- Ideal for taller users
- It’s not a very good choice for people that are shorter than 5 foot 7
Sometimes leg press machines can cost a lot of money. The Valor CC-10 is fortunately not one of these options. This machine is incredibly affordable, and it still has all of the great features that you would expect.
To start with, the machine is capable of handling up to 500 lbs worth of weight. This is certainly suitable enough for beginners up to expert lifters.
The machine is positioned to sit right up and down as it’s in a vertical position, and this means you get the best possible resistance. It takes up very little space.
Not only this, but you can use the machine for more than just leg presses. In fact, it can be used for other movements like squats and calf raises too, making it a highly versatile machine.
Once you buy it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without it. It’s highly supportive thanks to all of the cushioning that is also double reinforced.
It even has an incredibly durable foot plate that is comfortable to use.
It’ll fit in with practically any gym, thanks to the chrome and black steel design.
It is worth noting though that the bar near the foot area can feel a little bit too skinny, so it could do with having a foot plate.
- Durable design
- 500 lbs weight capacity
- The bar by the feet area is a little bit too skinny
Best Leg Press Machine Buying Guide
What is a Leg Press Machine?
Leg press machines are called a number of different things - squat leg press machines, machine leg press, seated leg press machine and various other names.
They all refer to one kind of machine, where you essentially sit in a seated position at an angle, while your legs press in an upwards motion with weight applied to the top.
There’s also a 45 degree leg press, and a horizontal leg press. They primarily work the quads, but they also help to work your glutes and hamstrings.
Why Should I Get a Leg Press Machine?
You may be wondering why you should get a leg press machine, when there are so many other exercises out there that can work your legs, potentially for a fraction of the cost!
In fact, a leg press machine is a great choice of exercise if you struggle with a barbell squat, which can be a little daunting to many people during their training.
When you squat with heavy amounts of weight, you can put a lot of strain on your back muscles. If you use a decent leg press machine though that has enough back support, you won’t get nearly as much stress as you would with a squat.
You can also change the position too so you get get the best possible comfort. This can help to prevent injuries in the long run.
Leg press machines are also great as they really work your quads. The vast majority of the weight will need to be supported by your quadriceps, so it’s ideal for building very strong thighs in a short space of time.
In fact, if you alter your foot position you can even work other parts of your thighs too.
Finally, a leg press machine is also great for doing calf raises. You just need to put the weight onto the ball of your feet, then press upwards but don’t bend your knees.
In the long run, if you do wish to squat with a barbell a leg press machine can help you to lift heavier weights.
Leg Press Types
There are a range of different leg press machines in the market, and it should be noted that what may work for one person may not work for another person.
The first is the normal 45 degree angle leg press. With these, you simply sit back on the seat and then push any weight up using your feet.
Both sides are stacked evenly with weight to work both of your legs to the same degree.
There’s also the vertical leg press. These are usually the most cost effective options, and are much better if you have a smaller home gym as they are more compact and take up less space.
With this machine, the weight will be positioned right above your feet. Then, you lay back on the seat and a headrest that’s near the floor, and then push your legs upwards.
With a horizontal leg press, you will be seated upwards and the resistance on the slider will come from a lever or a cable that’s fixed onto the weight. Then, you just push the slider out instead of up.
Usually when you get a leg press machine you’ll need to have some weight plates in order to add more resistance.
Material and Design
Above all, it’s essential that the leg press machine is made out of materials that are durable enough to deal with excessive amounts of weight, and materials that allow you to repeat certain movements.
One of the best options is steel. You should also look for an option that has a polished frame for even more durability.
You should also think about the design in terms of how much space you have in your home gym.
It’s important that you choose a leg press machine based on your body. For instance, if you are taller then you are likely going to need a bigger leg press.
On the other hand, if you’re buying a leg press for a range of different people, then it’s good to look for an option with height adjustability.
Ultimately, your machine is going to need to be larger if you want it to deal with more weight, not to mention it must be sturdier too.
Think about the space you have too - you want something that isn’t going to take up too much room at home, otherwise you’re going to need to take it apart and put it back together all the time, which can be pretty cumbersome after a while.
Speaking of putting things together and taking them apart, it’s a good idea to consider the assembly process of your leg press machine.
The ease of assembly largely depends on your machine’s design, but it can also depend on how good the tools and instructions are.
As a result of this, it is important to think about the instruction manual and how easy it is to interpret.
It’s worth looking online to see if the manufacturer has any additional resources available to help you to put the machine together, such as videos.
Exercising should be an enjoyable activity, but it won’t be if your leg press machine isn’t comfortable to use.
You need to make sure that the seat, head pads and the back are all padded and well sized to ensure that you get the optimal comfort.
You need to ensure that the footplates are big enough for your feet too.
It’s worth considering whether the leg press machine comes with polyurethane or moulder pads in the places where it makes contact with body.
This is because the material doesn’t get damaged by sweat, causing it to smell. It helps to ensure the longevity of the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use a leg press machine instead of doing squats?
A leg press machine targets specific leg muscles, and the machines are designed in such a way that leg presses are much simpler than squats.
Unfortunately, you won’t strengthen your core or stabilize your muscles like you would with squats.
Ultimately, it’s best to do both squats and leg presses to get a well rounded workout for your legs.
Will a leg press machine damage my knees?
It’s only natural that if you’re bearing weight on your legs in any way, that there’s always the potential to hurt your knees if you don’t do it properly.
Generally, you’re more likely to get injured if you stack the weight too high for your current experience level, and you don’t have the correct form. This isn’t just the case with a leg press machine, it’s the same with other things like barbell squats.
The best advice is to start low with the weight, and then work up to a level you can handle. Your body will tell you what is and what isn’t manageable for you.
If you do experience knee pain then, stop the exercise.
What’s the best weight to use with a leg press machine?
It’s worth noting right off the bat that you can likely use more weight with a leg press than you can with a squat.
If you don’t bend your knees completely and the movements you take are smaller, then you will be able to lift more weight.
On the other hand, if you increase the motion then it’s going to be much more challenging to do the exercise.
In general, when you’re using the leg press for the first time it’s worth starting off with a weight that’s about double your current body weight.
Ultimately though, it’s important that you start lower than you think you can handle, and do your full range of motion to get a good workout.