At one time having access to a good Smith Machine.

Would have come with a hefty membership fee and the usual mandatory gym weirdos’.

Well nowadays the membership ain’t so hefty but you have more weirdos’ and less staff to help you.

Below is my best attempt to help you understand and choose a smith machine.

I spent years avoiding them in my early, more ignorant days as a personal tyrainer.

And then years training clients on Smith Machines.

As I learned more about bio-mechaincs.

So I like to think i know my way around them.

They are more affordable than ever.

Considering increasing manufacturer competition, rising quality and falling prices.

If you are serious about training at home and creating your own home gym.

Then a smith machine will be the best possible addition you could have and worth every penny.

But, they are not cheap, and vary greatly in quality and functionality.

So, as ever, you must educate yourself first.

3 Distinct Advantages of a Smith Machine Over a Free-Bar.

Here are my 3 favourite reasons for using a smith machine over a free bar when training myself or my clients.

Heightened Isolation

This benefit is the reason a ‘well designed’ machine will always trump a similar free weight exercise.

When you select an exercise, you do so intending to stimulate a small or large group of muscles.

Within the small or large group of muscles there will be primary working muscles, secondary working muscles, and ancillary muscles.

We select exercises on the bases of how well we believe they will stimulate the primary muscles.  

You select your exercise, let’s say the prone arm extension, or in other words bench press. You do so intending to stimulate your pectoral muscles and your triceps.

The less you can stimulate the smaller ancillary muscles to take part in the exercise, the more stress you place on your primary: pectoral muscles and secondary: tricep muscles. 

If you wish to work your ancillary muscles congruently and isokintecally (with movement). Not just isometrically (statically) as they will during the exercise, you must choose the correct muscle actions for these ancillary muscles, not exercises that are designed for primary and secondary muscles.

So for example some people would tout that the bench press with a free bar is better then with a smith machine, because it recruits more muscle and challenges the ‘stabilisers’.

I argue that if by more muscle you mean the weaker rotator cuff muscles and by quoting stabilising muscles you indeed do mean, the rotator cuff muscles.

Then I would choose to remove the weakest link in the chain, (you off course cant remove them from participating 100%), focus on my pecs and train my rotator cuff muscles congruently, isokentically and most importantly safely. I would do this by finding an exercise that accomodates the muscle action in a safe and effective manner. Like for example these:

Increased Safety

A major benefit to the smith machine is the ability to place more stress on primary and secondary muscles and less on ancillary muscles, which makes the exercise more effective and safe. 

Another important benefit is that you can push till momentary muscular fatigue without the risk of collapsing.

You can self spot and train to levels of fatigue that normally would only be possible with a partner.

Make no mistake these high levels of intensity are essential in effective exercise and generating superior results.

Multi Purpose

With a smith machine you can transition between exercises, targeting different muscle actions and muscle groups in rapid succession.

Allowing you to create insanely intense and effective full body workouts that can also be incredibly safe, despite the high intensity of effort and all of this with no spotter needed.

 

2 Cons to a Smith Machine:

1. Make Bad Form Worse?

It can. Unlike the free bar squat, it is possible to lean against the bar and perform hack squats or shitty squats.

I highly recommend you NOT to do this as you will damage the bearings and it is an inferior exercise compared to the squat.

Some new trainees might do this by accident to a certain degree, not yet realizing how to align the body. So one can execute a full range squat whilst all the body components hinge in the most natural way possible.

Using the smith machine to help you detract from implementing a full range natural squat in any way, shape or form is a terrible idea.

I recommend experimenting with foot position and width so you can find the right balance which allows you to perform the fullest range squats YOU can perform.

Whilst keeping your feet firmly flat on the ground. Once you have found this position, mark your floor with tape so you always place the feet in the correct position 1st time. 

2. Pain in the Butt.

One of my favorite exercises is the gluteal bridge otherwise known as hip thrusts. NOTE: If your interested in butt devlopment read this article ‘How to build a strong and sexy butt’

I find this exercise stimulates the gluteal muscles and hamstrings to a level of direct stimulus far superior to that achieved with the squat. Unfortunately, this exercise is more of a challenge to perform on the smith machine.

It is still possible using a platform of some kind to elevate the body and a bench to support the upper back.

The problem is that without elevating the legs sufficiently your range of motion will be decreased greatly due to the adjustable safety stops keeping the bar high of the ground. 

When using the smith machine for squats it is imperative to take the time to learn how to do a full and natural squat.

This will involve moving your feet forward and backwards, narrow and wider until you find the foot position that will allow you to lower yourself to the lowest position possible so long as your lower back is flexed/contracted.

This will largely depend upon the flexibility of your ‘posterior chain’ (lower back, glutes, hamstring and calves).

Only ever work within the parameters of your flexibility.

Never arch your back to fall lower into a squat.

If you want to develop flexibility then slowly lower yourself and hold at the end range of your perfect form for a few seconds before contracting and returning to the start position. You will feel the muscles stretching and slowly you will develop enhanced flexibility in the muscles.

Aren’t Free Weights Better than Machines?

No.   As long as you follow these 2 fundamental laws of exercise there is no extra benefit to the erratic recruitment of muscles isometrically by secondary ancillary muscles, otherwise known as ‘Stabilization’ by the un-enlightened.

2 Laws of Exercise You Must Abide:

Law 1: Muscle Actions:

The muscles provide movement through 4 major positions, up, down, forward and backwards.

We also create movement in between all these positions and off course through abduction (away from the body) and adduction (towards the body).   Lateral abduction and adduction are far less important.

Big compound exercises for the whole body will stimulate the abductors and adductors requiring little to no direct work in most cases.

Law 2: Intensity of Effort:

The training stress or stimulus must be of a high intensity nature or you will not maximally recruit the muscles in question or their synergistic counterparts. So, for example, if you are doing a squat on the smith machine.

If you train that movement to maximal intensity of effort you will also stimulate the lateral and internal hip musculature and the thigh and lower leg muscles. 

As long as you abide the two above laws of exercise you will create a stronger and healthier body.

(Caveat: Some machines are so appalling and cheap you will be better of with a free weight. With the below smith machines, this is not the case however).

How to Choose the Best Smith Machine?

Below I have listed all the elements that are worth talking about when it comes down to choosing the right smith machine for your home gym.

Glide Systems:

There are two prevalent systems to allow for the collar to slide along the fixed bar. The primary concern here is:

FRICTION: We want a sliding system that offers minimal friction, this will aid in fluid movements when exercising. A sliding system that provides friction will add resistance randomly. During exercise we want as much control over the factors affecting intensity as possible. Randomness is not beneficial.

Linear Bearing System vs Bush System:

Linear bearing systems offer a lower surface area and thus lower friction.

Linear bearings will offer a smoother repetition so you only need to resist against the load on the bar rather than uncontrollable and random friction.  

Some higher quality bushing systems can be effective especially if well maintained with a lubricant.

It really depends on what the bushings are made from.

I read one review specific to the Yukon 3 that complained about the bushings that come standard with the machine, however when this customer paid extra for the linear bearings and installed them, the problem of a lack of ‘smoothness’ went away.

This goes to show the benefit of bearing systems over bushings. In Smith machines, a linear bearing system will be the choice for manufacturers who are aiming to produce a higher quality machine. I recommend a linear bearings system.

Pitch Angle:

Not all smith machines have pitch’s. A pitch is a slight angle in the way the bar travels vertically.

A pitch is a neat little bonus to have.

If you imagine a squat for example, how your upper body bends and your hips travel backwards.

There are a few exercises which can favor this angle. Namely, the overhead press, chest press, bent over row and off course the squat.   

Saving Your Shoulders:

When performing an overhead shoulder press you want to avoid locking the elbows and you also want to avoid impinging the supraspinatus into the coracoid process of the shoulder bone.  

Pushing at a slight angle away from your centre line is actually much more comfortable and beneficial, especially if you have shoulder discomfort when pressing overhead.  With bench pressing, the same principle applies here.

A slight pitch on the machine could add some additional comfort for those with a shoulder injury.

Also, if you are horizontally pressing with the pitch away from you, your arms will travel further away from your shoulder line, which will activate the chest muscles more and the deltoids less, like doing a decline press.

An excellent, often overlooked benefit. If you decide you would like a pitch angle built into your smith machine, then take notice further down because there are actually three angles I am aware of, 3°, 7 ° and 12°. However, if you are uncertain, then opt for the standard vertical guide rods.

Number of Cross Members:

Knowing the number of cross members is beneficial because these will act as your stops for when you want to re-rack the weight safely.

You may decide having more is better as these would provide more options between a repetition to safely rack the weight.

It’s not an essential benefit, but one you should not overlook.

If you are someone who is elderly, especially weak or have existing injuries then having a greater number of cross members on your smith machine may be quite an important factor to consider.

Weight of the Bar:

Some manufacturers bars are heavier than others.

A heavier bar will be more sturdy and feel more sturdy, but it will also be, heavier.

This may be a problem for someone who is starting from a low level of strength and wants to perform excellent form which means they need less resistance.

Counter Balance:

The counter weight is a pulley system which nullifies the weight. It reduces the bar weight down to around 6lb.

Even for beginner trainee’s, I think a 25-50 lb bar should be easy to handle even in the strictest form using a slow, controlled cadence.

If you believe this to be true, then I would advise against spending the extra on a counter-weighted smith machine and instead spend the money on ensuring you get a bearing system over a bushing system.

If you need the practicality of having a light bar, then a counter weight will help you with that, but you will pay more for it.

If you are elderly or train elderly or weak clients, then a counter balance may be essential.

It will allow you to start with loads under 10lb which may be all a weaker individual can handle in the overhead press for example.

I trained many woman who started out not being able to overhead press (in strict form, which is the only form worth using) 10lb for over 5 reps. Be careful here. A counter balance could be an unnecessary spend or an essential spend.

Machine Size:

Measuring your space before you buy your smith machine may seem like an obvious thing but it is definitely worth mentioning again.

The last thing you want is the delivery to arrive, you offload all the heavy boxes into your home gym.

Open everything up, assemble, get halfway through and you realize that either your ceilings are too low or your room is too narrow.

Don’t be that guy or girl, not if you’re on this blog and wanting to become a smarter trainee. 

Check the machine dimensions, measure your space, check for obstructions, like piping etc. Lay down some tape on the floor for the overall dimensions of the machine to ensure you can move around the machine to place weights on the bar.

Dont forget to measure vertically aswell checking for any obtrusions etc. 

A smith machine is not a small investment. You should savor the prepping around the purchase and get excited about having your own personal home gym that will end up costing you less and being more effective than a commercial gym.

I found a neat tool that may help you. Body solid have a home gym planner tool, check it out.

Machine Weight:

Another thing to consider is the actual weight of the machine, you may need to consider how much load your floor can bear.

If this is a question that concerns you, be sure to add into the equation the total amount of free weights you plan to have plus any additional dumbbells and bars.

If the subfloor, for example, is a concrete basement, then I would want the machine to be as heavy as possible, sure it means lugging heavier boxes for the assembly but a heavier machine equals a more sturdy machine.

Also, remember most smith machines stop at a height of 80 inches or 6.6 feet.

Depending on how tall you are and how long your arms are, you may not be able to do standing military presses in a smith machine.

I don’t believe this is a problem because having a bench with your smith machine is a good idea for numerous reasons, and a bench would solve this problem straight away.

Machine Build:

Unique to this article I have individually contacted the manufacturers to get installation guides and schematics to attain how solid the machine is. 

Looking at steel gauge thickness and size of bolts, you can get a feel for how sturdy the machine build is.

Warranty.

Arguably one of the most important factors here, the greater the warranty on a product the more confident you would imagine the manufacturer is about their product and its components.

I have checked the warranty with all products and will create a category purely for warranty when ranking each smith machine.

Plate Size.

The plate size that the machine can take is handy to know. Most weight plates should have a few different standard dimensions although it really can vary.

If you already have plates you plan to use, you need to ensure that they will fit onto the thickness of the bar.

If too small you cannot use the plates, if too large you either need an adapter, or just use collars to keep the plates fixed on. Most Smith Machines accommodate Olympic plates.

What are the Advantages/Benefits of a Smith Machine Over a Home Gym Machine?

I wouldn’t advise on spending the extra money on these additional cable, pulley, weight stack components. It is my experience that these mechanisms are poorly built and function at low standards.

With pec dec attachments, leg extension/hamstring curl benches and any other mechanism with an add on weight stack or weight plate carriage they simply are not off the quality you would want.

You will be better off spending the money on a high-quality set of dumbbells which will also allow a more expansive array of exercises and less moving parts to potentially break and maintain.

Based on this, I recommend no form of multi gym attachment or add on pulley’s to the smith machine.

Top 3 Things to Look for when Purchasing a Smith Machine.

I racked my brain here. At some stages I was tempted to suggest a pull up mount, but then no, you can buy one on amazon for under $50, borrow a hammer drill from a buddy and done.

I also thought, weight storage pegs. But then no. You can also buy a storage platform on amazon for under $50.00

Here are My Top 3.

1. Linear Bearings System  

Why? This mechanism is so much better than a bushings system, the bar will travel smoother and provide far less friction. Money so well spent, trust me.

 2. Machine Build

Why? I don’t know about you, but I want my smith machine to be as sturdy as possible, even with slow, controlled, excellent form, thus minimal momentum rattling the machine. I still want my machine to feel like a commercial grade piece of kit.

 3. Warranty

Why? Peace of mind and a clear indicator of how confident a manufacturer is with their product.

the mother of tables

Features Caribou 3 DF4900 GS348Q BE11
Bearing System *
Steel Gauge Thickness** 12 11&14 11&12 12
Weight Capacity*** 800lb 700lb 600lb 500lb
Frame Size (Inches) Height x Width x Depth 82Hx48Wx68D 81Hx49.25Wx49D 85H x64W x 66D 80.5H x 73.25Wx 53D
Machine Weight 257lb 276lb 310lb 258lb
Bar Weight in 9(lb) 45 70 25 35
Free Weight Storage (4) (6) (4)
Free-Bar Holder
Pitch-Angle N/A N/A 7 3
Cross Member (lock-out points) 14 11 20 14
Pull Up Bar
Power Rack
Warranty Discretionary Life-Time Frame + 1 Year Bearings Life-Time Frame + 3 Year Parts 3 Year Frame + 1 Years bearings
Counter Balance System

*The linear bearing system is an extra add on.

**A lower number for steel gauge thickness represents a greater steel thickness.

*** Do not pay too much attention to the number here as I have seen inconsistencies. Instead pay more attention to build factors.

Are Smith Machines Bad?

The old adage: “A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it”. Rings true here. Is the smith machine dangerous? It’s as dangerous as a the person using it. As demonstrated, kindly, by our idiot below. 

If you don’t seek proper advise and learn how to use it, then yes you can do improper form and increase ware and tear on joint life. But you can also do the same with free weights and worse.  

What’s the Best Way to Use a Smith Machine?

The ideal workout involves only a few exercises that will sufficiently target all the musculature of the body. As long as you train these exercises with a high level of intensity you will stimulate all the primary and secondary muscles sufficiently to build an impressive physique.

Will it be a champion physique? That’s purely a matter of genetics and where you fit onto the genetic bell curve.

Will you need ancillary exercises for maximal development? Yes, more then likely, but these will be few and require little time. A workout comprising the major muscle actions will represent at least 80% of the needs to build the strongest body possible for you.

These muscle actions can come from as little as 3 compound movements but 6 compound exercises is where I like to start.

You Can Literally Create an Impressive Physique with Just 6 Exercises.

  1. The Squat.
  2. Shoulder press.
  3. Bent over row.
  4. Bench press.
  5. Supinated Pull up.
  6. Gluteal Extension.

2 Cons to a Smith Machine:

1. Make Bad Form Worse?

It can. Unlike the free bar squat, it is possible to lean against the bar and perform hack squats or shitty squats. I highly recommend you NOT to do this as you will damage the bearings and it is an inferior exercise compared to the squat.

Some new trainees might do this by accident to a certain degree, not yet realizing how to align the body so one can execute a full range squat whilst all the body components hinge in the most natural way possible.

Using the smith machine to help you detract from implementing a full range natural squat in any way, shape or form is a terrible idea.

I recommend experimenting with foot position and width so you can find the right balance which allows you to perform the fullest range squats YOU can do, whilst keeping your feet firmly flat on the ground. Once you have found this position, mark your floor with tape so you always place the feet in the correct position 1st time.

2. Pain in the Butt.

One of my favorite exercises is the gluteal bridge otherwise known as hip thrusts. I find this exercise stimulates the gluteal muscles and hamstrings to a level of direct stimulus far superior to that achieved with the squat. Unfortunately, this exercise is more of a challenge to perform on the smith machine.

It is still possible using a platform of some kind to elevate the body and a bench to support the upper back. The problem is that without elevating the legs sufficiently your range of motion will be decreased greatly due to the adjustable safety stops keeping the bar high of the ground.

When using the smith machine for squats it is imperative to take the time to learn how to do a full and natural squat. This will involve moving your feet forward and backwards, narrow and wider until you find the foot position that will allow you to lower yourself to the lowest position possible so long as your lower back is flexed/contracted. This will largely depend upon the flexibility of your ‘posterior chain’ (lower back, glutes, hamstring and calves).

Only ever work within the parameters of your flexibility. Never arch your back to fall lower into a squat. If you want to develop flexibility then slowly lower yourself and hold at the end range of your perfect form for a few seconds before contracting and returning to the start position. You will feel the muscles stretching and slowly you will develop enhanced flexibility in the muscles.

 

2 Cons to a Smith Machine:

1. Make Bad Form Worse?

It can. Unlike the free bar squat, it is possible to lean against the bar and perform hack squats or shitty squats. I highly recommend you NOT to do this as you will damage the bearings and it is an inferior exercise compared to the squat.

Some new trainees might do this by accident to a certain degree, not yet realizing how to align the body so one can execute a full range squat whilst all the body components hinge in the most natural way possible.

Using the smith machine to help you detract from implementing a full range natural squat in any way, shape or form is a terrible idea.

I recommend experimenting with foot position and width so you can find the right balance which allows you to perform the fullest range squats YOU can do, whilst keeping your feet firmly flat on the ground. Once you have found this position, mark your floor with tape so you always place the feet in the correct position 1st time. 

2. Pain in the Butt.

One of my favorite exercises is the gluteal bridge otherwise known as hip thrusts. I find this exercise stimulates the gluteal muscles and hamstrings to a level of direct stimulus far superior to that achieved with the squat. Unfortunately, this exercise is more of a challenge to perform on the smith machine.

It is still possible using a platform of some kind to elevate the body and a bench to support the upper back. The problem is that without elevating the legs sufficiently your range of motion will be decreased greatly due to the adjustable safety stops keeping the bar high of the ground. 

When using the smith machine for squats it is imperative to take the time to learn how to do a full and natural squat. This will involve moving your feet forward and backwards, narrow and wider until you find the foot position that will allow you to lower yourself to the lowest position possible so long as your lower back is flexed/contracted. This will largely depend upon the flexibility of your ‘posterior chain’ (lower back, glutes, hamstring and calves).

Only ever work within the parameters of your flexibility. Never arch your back to fall lower into a squat. If you want to develop flexibility then slowly lower yourself and hold at the end range of your perfect form for a few seconds before contracting and returning to the start position. You will feel the muscles stretching and slowly you will develop enhanced flexibility in the muscles.

Mini Review Section:

So if you’re thinking about buying the best smith machine you can afford. Then I have composed a review of the top 4 best smith machines. I have considered, price, build quality, functionality and warranty as the main determining factors. I also have looked through customer reviews and contacted the manufacturers with more in-depth questions.

When searching to purchase my smith machine, I could find no good articles that felt like they were written by experts, instead of hobbyists or paid writers.

I hope this article has been of help to you.

deltech df4900

The Deltech DF4900 weighs in at a hefty 276lb. Produced by the team down in Louisville, Kentucky. Their customer service assisting me answer all of my many questions to bring you this review article was excellent.

The DF4900 is constructed from 11 gauge (⅛ of an inch) and 14 gauge (5/64 of an inch) thick beams making it more than adequate even for meathead’s ego lifting the hell out of it.

The DF4900 comes with Linear bearing system as standard and 4 Olympic plate storage pegs for convenience/ space saving. It also comes with a built-in pull-up bar which is very handy. Saving time and money, eliminating the need to buy and install a separate pull-up bar to your building. Deltech Fitness provides a lifetime frame warranty and 1-year linear bearings system warranty.

The machine is constructed purely from steel, there are no plastic elements at all. The knurled Olympic bar weighs 70 lb and is rated up to 700lb making this more than suitable for everyone with half a brain and an average-sized ego.

The spotter pegs are situated at 6-inch intervals and number 11 in total.

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Linear bearings system comes standard.
  • Pull-Up bar.
  • 4 Olympic Weight plate storage.
  • Solid steel construction.
  • Lifetime frame warranty.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Excellent price.
  • 70lbs heavy duty Olympic bar.
  • No power rack for free weights.
  • Only 1 year warranty on linear bearings.
  • Powder coating paint prone to chipping.
  • 70lbs Olympic bar could be a hindrance for some, considering no counter weight system.
  • 11 spotting pegs is less than the other competitors.
  • Not the best installation instructions.

yukon caribou 3

The Yukon Fitness Caribou 3 is brought to you form the team at Bedford Heights, Ohio. The Caribou 3 does not come with standard linear bearings but instead comes with oil bushings. You definitely want the linear bearings so add these to your cart. What the Caribou 3 loses with price competitiveness it surely makes up with the built-in power rack.

Having a built-in power rack means that you can perform all your free bar exercises with the same smith machine. This will be a make or break deal with our free bar enthusiasts especially if you don’t have the space to add a power rack and a smith machine. The Caribou 3 also comes with a pull-up bar and the possibility of adding a dip station to the machine. However, I do not like these types of dip stations because the handles cannot be adjusted to suit the user’s shoulder girdle width. Instead, you could purchase dip bars that are adjustable. The caribou 3 is the no 1 contender when it comes down to features. But what’s more important for you? 

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Built in Free Bar Power Rack.
  • Built in safety arms for free-bar work.
  • Built in Pull-Up Bar.
  • A Few Plastic components on the machine.
  • Linear Bearings system not standard and not cheap, around 20% – 25% of machine price.
  • No weight plate storage.
  • Warranty details unclear.

body solid gs348q

The body solid GS348Q is as the name implies, a solid competitor. Coming standard with linear bearings system and having 20 spotting pegs or as Body Solid Inc call them: “Cross Members”! At 4.25 inch intervals.

The GS348Q is part of the 7 series, which simply means it has a 7 degree angled pitch to the sliding rods allowing for a more ‘potentially’ biomechanically correct plane of movement. I emphasize potentially, for reasons stated in the above section called “pitch angle”.

It is, however, the most expensive machine out of the 4. It lacks one feature which you would hope would come standard with a machine of this price. Namely, lack of a built-in pull-up bar.

It does, however, make up for this by having a 14 position power rack or as the solid team say: “Gunrack!” Which enables you to rack your free-bar when performing free-bar exercises. It also has 6 weight storage pegs eliminating the need for a weight plate storage platform.

Not to mention that the Body Solid GS348Q comes with a solid lifetime in-home warranty. No need to worry, your money is truly well spent.

Pro’s

Con’s

  • In-Home Life -Time Warranty on all frame and bearing system!
  • Beautiful, clear, concise instructions.
  • High number of M12 large bolts making it a very sturdy machine.
  • 6 weight plate storage pegs.
  • 14 position “Gunrack” or free bar power rack.
  • 17 inch extra heavy duty safety arms for free-bar work.
  • 2” x 3” main frame steel construction makes it the beefiest machine on the list.
  • No pull-up bar.
  • Most expensive.
  • No counter balance included for this price.

Valor Fitnes be11

Valor Fitness’s BE11 comes with linear bearings as standard and the option of  installing a counter balanced system (which could be an essential element to some lifters, read my above section “counterbalance” in the section “How to choose the best smith machine”.

You can purchase these separately at the same time or a later date. However, if you purchase at a later date I have been assured by Jeff Shaubs at Valor that to install the CWS (counterweight system) is a quick job and only involves removing the pre-installed pulley.

The best thing about the Valor is the potential to use a counterweight system. Other smith machines offering this benefit are least around $400.00 more expensive and offer little in the way of extra benefit for this extra dollar.

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Can utilize counter balance system.
  • 4 Olympic weight storage pegs.
  • Cheapest Counter Weight Smith Machine that still is of a good quality.
  • The machine uses only M10 bolts, others use M12 bolts also which are larger.
  • 12 gauge steel only, others use thicker 11 gauge as well.
  • No power rack.
  • No pull up bar.

Conclusion:

So in conclusion I believe all of these machines to be worth purchasing, it depends on exactly what you need or which of the factors is more important to you. I scoured the market looking at many potential candidates for the top 4. 

If it was me, I would opt for the Deltech if I had a tight budget or the Body Solid Series 7 if I had extra cash to spend.

There are many smith machines on the market, these jumped out for me because of the stringent requirements I imposed and because they seem to be well priced compared to other products out there.

Wishing you safe and effective training

David Klein