Best Functional Trainers Review In 2021 [Complete Buying Guide]

Last edited: December 4, 2020
by Reda Elmardi

As a collegiate athlete who has trained in several small to world-class gyms, I’ve been able to test out different types of Functional Trainers on the market. 

However, out of the eight Functional Trainers that we got to test and research, we recommend 

REP FITNESS FT-5000 Multi-Grip Functional Trainer Cable Machine because of the amount of resistance and weight stack.

Made with a 11 gauge steel frame that helps prevent the rust and breakdown of metal, allowing the structure to last for a long time.

The pulleys are large and strong while the cable is thick, allowing for a smooth movement when using the pulley stem. It comes with 16 different cable positions allowing you to be versatile with your exercises.

It has the highest weight stack of all the competitors with a dual 200 lb weight stack, which is perfect for advanced lifters. It comes with a rotating panel, ten hooks for storing attachments, exercise guides, and a bunch of pull up grip angles for all your chin up and pull up exercises.

Table Of Contents

The Top Functional Trainers Reviewed

 Product's nameDimensionWeights Included?More Info
MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer...Best Multi-Functional
MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer | Power Cage | Leg Press...
87 x 67 x 91150 lbsSee on Amazon
Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer and Smith StationMost Versatile
Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer and Smith Station
61 x 57.9 x 87.8 inches165 lb + 50 lb extraSee on Amazon
HFT Functional TrainerMost Compact
HFT Functional Trainer
56x 40 x 82 inches150 lbs + 75 lb extraSee on Amazon
XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19...Best Resistance
XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19 Adjustments, and Accessory...
65 x 43.5 x 83 x inches200 lbsSee on Amazon
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb....Best Minimalistic
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb. Weight Stacks
42 x 63 x 83 inches160 lbs + 50 lbs extraSee on Amazon
Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe, BlackBest Olympic Plate Weights
Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe, Black
79.5 x 46.5 x 82.3 inches190 lbsSee on Amazon
REP FITNESS Functional TrainerBest Weight Stack
REP FITNESS Functional Trainer
82 x 72 x 45 inches220lbsSee on Amazon
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo...Best Overall
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo (Black)
51 x 55 x 87 inches200 lbsSee on Amazon

Find the Best Functional Trainers for You

MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer...
Best Overall

1- MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer...

Inspire Fitness focuses on providing unique, high quality, and movement-based products. For over 15 years, they’ve been creating a health driving force in the fitness industry. Dedicated to designing and manufacturing health, strength, and fitness products so people can live a more active and healthier lifestyle.

The FT2 Functional Trainer is made with a built-in smith machine providing fitness enthusiasts a great add-on to their workout. Made with a heavy duty matte black frame, it is durable and able to handle a lot of force behind it. 

It offers a weight stack of a dual 165 lb but additional 50 lb can be upgraded if you are looking for more resistance.

With the adjustable Smith Bar, you’re able to do bench press and squats as well. It has seven unique handles, an exercise booklet, 2x5 lb additional weights, and a wattle bottle holder, everything you need for a home gym.

The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer provides a lifetime warranty for moving parts and one of the best versatile function trainers on the market currently. 

Pros

  • 8 various pulley locations
  • 32 Pulley Positions
  • Variety of accessories and attachments that can be purchased
  • Weight stacks of a dual 165 lb

Cons

  • Bench does not come with the trainer
  • May be complicated when assembling the functional trainer
HFT Functional Trainer
Most Compact

2- HFT Functional Trainer

Iron Company was established in 1997 and was one of the first internet fitness equipment vendors in the business. Providing access to an unlimited amount of online inventory of fitness guides and tools to help you reach your personal and business goals. From urethane dumbbells to creating your own garage gym, they have it all.

The BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer is very compact. They have a dual stack up to 150 lb, however it can be upgraded to 200 lbs each. It uses a 31 pulley position system that can be rotated 180 degrees, allowing you to train at different heights and angles. 

There are seven various handles and a training exercise booklet that can be used as a guide to ensure you’re using the functional trainer correctly. There is also a multi-grip pull up bar that can work on all your back muscles.

If you’re looking for a compact machine that has all the features you’d want from a functional trainer, we recommend having a look at IRON COMPANY BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer Home Gym.

Pros

  • Easy Assembly
  • Lifetime warranty for parts and frame
  • Affordable
  • Durable Steel Frame

Cons

  • Only a 150 lb weight stack
XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19...
Best Resistance

3- XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine with Dual 200 lb Weight Stacks, 19...

XMark focuses on exceeding expectations of the fitness industry. From the attention to detail on all their equipment to be responsive to all your needs, they focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience to you. 

Known for their craftsmanship and functionality of each of their products, you know that all their fitness equipment will be of high quality.

The XMark Functional Trainer has a weight stack of a dual 200 lb, higher than most competitors. It uses a two adjustable pulley system that provides up to 19 positions, allowing you to make the most of isolated or compound workouts.

It also comes with seven different attachments that can be used to target different muscles. If you’re looking for a functional trainer that has higher resistances and a smooth pulley, we recommend having a look at Mark Functional Trainer Cable Machine.

Pros

  • High weight stack of 200 lbs
  • Smooth pulley system
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Assembling is a bit complicated and time consuming
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb....
Best Minimalist

4- Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine, Dual 160 Lb....

Body Solid is an American distributor and manufacturer of home and commercial strength and conditioning equipment. Known for building home gyms, smith machines, racks, and other fitness related equipment, they have expanded their sales worldwide, selling to over 100 countries.

Body Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer is one the more minimalistic designed trainers on the market. It does not have the design and aesthetics but provides everything you need for a solid workout. 

The trainer has a weight stack of 160lb and can be upgraded to 210 lbs at an additional cost. It only comes with an additional pair of nylon handles, meaning there are no ankle cuffs, short or long bars, or any other additional accessories.

If you’re looking for a minimalistic functional trainer, we recommend having a look at Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer Cable Machine.

Pros

  • Dual weight stack of 160 lbs and can be upgraded to 210 lbs
  • Easy to assemble
  • Reasonably price
  • Two adjustable pulley stem
  • Durable and sturdy frame

Cons

  • Only has 1 set of handles
Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe, Black
Best Olympic Plate Weights

5- Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe, Black

Powertec is the leader and pioneer in innovative strength equipment for home and light commercial use. Used by both fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes, they have become one of the best commercial quality gym equipment retailers due to the amount of customizations and accessory modularizations that they can provide, at an affordable price.

The Powertec is one of the more functionally designed trainers by the amount of tools it provides. It has a load capacity of 1000 lbs while having a dual weight system of 190 lbs. This prevents the frame from rocking when you’re using the pulley system.

The combination of the easy load slide rods and cable system provides a precise and smooth gliding operation. With featured ring stoppers that provide a safety system to prevent the weight being dropped to undesirable distances.

The best thing about the Powertec is its ability to hold Olympic Weight Plates and stacked weight plates. This allows the individual to load as much weight to their fitness level.

If you’re looking for a functional trainer that is able to provide a high resistance, we recommend you having a look at Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe.

Pros

  • Easy load slide rods and cable system provides a precise and smooth gliding operation
  • Has the ability to hold Olympic Weight Plates and stacked weight plates
  • Has a load capacity of 1000 lbs while having a dual weight system of 190 lbs
  • Ring stoppers that provide a safety system to prevent the weight being dropped to undesirable distances

Cons

  • Positioning of the functional trainer can feel like you’re in an awkward position
  • No variety on the pull up bars
REP FITNESS Functional Trainer
Best Weight Stack

6- REP FITNESS Functional Trainer

Rep Fitness is a fitness equipment manufacturer and supplier that provides innovative and high-quality solutions for all your fitness gear needs. 

The Rep Fitness Multi grip functional trainer is known for their heavy duty construction and durability. The 11 gauge steel frames help prevent the rust and breakdown of metal, allowing the structure to last for a long time.

The pulleys are large and strong while the cable is thick, allowing for a smooth movement when using the pulley stem. It comes with 16 different cable positions allowing you to be versatile with your exercises.

It has the highest weight stack of all the competitors with a dual 200 lb weight stack, which is perfect for advanced lifters. It comes with a rotating panel, ten hooks for storing attachments, exercise guides, and a bunch of pull up grip angles for all your chin up and pull up exercises.

Pros

  • High 220 lb weight stack to provide a high amount of resistance
  • 10 hooks for easy storage of the attachments
  • Two strap handles to improved grip
  • High quality materials ensuring the whole functional trainer lasts for decades.

Cons

  • Feels rugged when using the machines at times
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo...
Best Overall

7- FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo...

Force USA focuses on home and light commercial fitness product use, creating the best value strength equipment so you can reach your fitness goals. All of the products are made in the USA, meeting strict quality requirements, to ensure all your products are durable and sturdy.

The Force USA Monster Functional Trainer is made for advanced fitness individuals due to the number of features that is installed into it. 

The steel power rack includes commercial grade J Hooks and Safety that can be adjusted up and attached to 50 different number points so you find the perfect position for bench pressing, squatting, and other exercises. 

The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included. Each component angled and designed for natural body movement reducing the chances of you getting injured.

These additional components include a Chin Up Station, Landmine Station, Band Pegs, Attachment Storage, Barbel Storage, and Safety Spotter Arms.

They also allow other attachments that can be purchased such as leg press, stability bar, lat pull down seat, cambered bar, and v-type handles.

The Force USA provides you with everything you see in a commercial gym within a reasonable sized compact functional trainer.

Pros

  • The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included.
  • 2000lbs of tensile strength for the pulley cables ensuring they won’t rip or frail.
  • Many accessories and attachments that can be used for the functional trainer
  • Arm Spotter Attachment for increased safety

Cons

  • Assembly can take a long time

MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer...

 

Best Multi-Functional

8- MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer...

MiM USA focuses on creating products for people’s well being, happiness, and overall improvement of their life. They focus on collaborating with the industry’s best designers to create functional fitness masterpieces for both home and commercial gym. They guarantee a smooth checkout and delivery experience with all your products, at all times.

You can definitely see this with MiM USA’s Functional Trainer as it comes with a bench along with the whole machine. Expanding the number of workouts that you can perform without purchasing additional equipment.

The four track pulley system allows you to easily change the lifts that you want to perform. From Squats to shrugs, rows to bench press, and leg curls to hamstring curls.

If you’re looking for multi-functional equipment to use at home, The MiM USA’s Functional Trainer provides you a complete solution for all your home workout needs. 

Pros

  • Provides you with everything you need to reach your fitness goals
  • Smooth and Silent when using the pulley system
  • Compact and usable for all types of people

Cons

  • No plate storage
  • Does not come with any weight plates
  • Is hard to assemble
  • Expensive

Functional Trainer Buying Guide

What Is A Functional Trainer?

 Functional Trainer
Functional Trainer

A functional trainer  is a cable machine that uses cables, pulley systems, and weight stacks that allows you to control the movement and weight used for your exercises. They provide a unique way to train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements that you may do at home, at work, or in a sporting environment.

A functional trainer is a great way to spice up your normal workout routine and add isolated exercises that target specific muscles to your exercise list.

What Is Functional Training

 Functional Training
Functional Training

Functional training is a type of strength training that helps prepare your body for daily activities. Movements including bending, lifting, twisting, pushing, loading, squatting, pulling, and hauling are part of functional training.

They use multi-joint movement patterns that use the hips, spine, elbows, wrists, knees, and shoulders to increase your range of motion and connect each muscle to work together, reducing the overall stress towards your body.

The Benefits Of Using a Functional Trainer?

Variety and Variations

 Variety and Variations
Variety and Variations 

Owning a functional trainer provides you with a numerous amount of exercise that you can perform at the comforts of your own home. You can target every single body of your body part to ensure there are no muscle imbalances.

Here are some example exercises that you can perform using a functional trainer

  • Arms: Bicep Curls, Overhead Triceps Extensions, Hammer Curls
  • Back: Pull Downs, Single Arm Row, Rows, Straight-Arm Pushdowns.
  • Chest: Cable Fly’s And Chest Press From Any Angle.
  • Shoulders: Cable Crossovers, Reverse Flys, Shoulder Press, Lat Raise, Upright Rows.

Legs: Straight-Legged Deadlift, Cable Squats, Glute Kickbacks, Leg Raises.

The versatility and variations can be further increased with the attachments. The attachments allow you to target different muscle groups and progressive exercises. 

Attachments include barbells, handles, harnesses, tri-bar attachments, and rope attachments.

Affordable

Functional Machines are very cost effective. Although it may be a high initial investment, the functional trainer allows you to train almost every muscle and body part at the comforts at your own home. You won’t ever need to purchase extra dumb bells, weight, or other expensive equipment.

It is also space friendly and beginner friendly, meaning it is perfect for individuals that live in a small space and have no prior lifting experience.

With the additional attachments, you will have endless versatility and variety without needing to purchase new equipment every few months.

As the weights are already there with the functional machine, there is no need to purchase additional dumb beels or plates when you get stronger.

Safety

Most injuries occur from using free weight equipment as they have no safety mechanism. Most don’t have the confidence or a spotter to assist when they move up heavier in weight.

A functional machine provides you the comfort that you want when you’re lifting heavy. There are no worries about the barbell being stuck on your chest or being buried under plates.

All you have to do is move the pin on the weight so there are no embarrassing stories. This makes it perfect for individuals wanting to lift in a home gym.

Beneficial For Healing Injuries

As functional training helps isolate muscles when working out, it serves as a great tool to strengthen weakened muscles. The machines mimic rehab exercises to enable patients to restrengthen weakened muscles and improve body coordination.

As you control the resistance and weight, you’re able to heal your injuries faster than waiting for it to heal by itself.

What To Look For When Purchasing A Functional Trainer

 Purchasing A Functional Trainer
Purchasing A Functional Trainer

Size

Before you look into any other features, make sure the functional trainer is able to fit in your space or room. Even a compact functional trainer will take a lot of room, and it will be even worse if you live in a low-ceiling house.

Once they are assembled, most trainers will weigh around 800 lbs, so make sure to place the trainer at the right place.

Weight Stacks

Most high-quality functional trainers use weight stacks or plates. When you're searching for a trainer, think about whether you need one or two weight stack systems.

This depends on how much resistance you want to handle. 

With a dual weight stack, you’ll have more workout choice including cable crossover, bench press and hundreds of other exercises.

Most functional trainers will have different weight stacks, so make sure to choose one that fits your fitness level. 

Keep in mind that the actual resistance will be half due to the special resistance. This means if you want 100 lbs of resistance, you should choose a trainer that supports over 200 lbs of resistance.

Some companies will offer additional weight stacks, so you can always increase the load when you get stronger.

Pulleys

The pulley system allows you to do cable exercises. The better systems are easy to adjust and have more variety for the height of the machine. If you get the chance to test the machine, make sure it’s smooth to move it up and down.

Attachments

There will be different sorts of attachments depending on the functional trainer. As certain brands may have their own attachments or pairs that come with the trainer when you purchase it.

Here are some common attachments:

  • Pull up bar
  • EZ curl bar
  • D handles
  • Sports bar
  • Long bar
  • Short bar
  • Multi-purpose belt
  • Triceps rope
  • Ankle cuff

Warranty

You need to be cautious about the warranty before purchasing the functional trainer. The more expensive the trainer, the longer the warranty.

Most companies may divide the warranty into parts and frames, which will vary from time and price.

You should always look for a trainer that provides at least a 2 year warranty if you’re looking to use the machine for decades.

Assembly

When you're building your functional trainer, you must account how many hands you will have to help assemble the machine. By yourself, it may take a few days to set it up. If you’re alone, we recommend finding something simple and easy to build and assemble, so you begin your fitness journey immediately.

What Are Some Exercises That I Can Perform On The Functional Trainer?

There are hundreds of exercises that you can perform such as tricep extension, bicep curls, and chest press. Here is a snippet of what the functional trainer can do.

If you’re looking for more alternative exercises, this is what we recommend to spice your workout:

Cable Reverse Lunge

Many of us are comfortable with the classic lunging movement, however doing the reverse challenges your core strength and balance. With the cable pulley at the lowest height setting, begin walking a few steps away from the cable

Start in a lunge position and hold the rope attachment over one shoulder and extend your legs so you’re standing up. And continue to go back down to a reverse lunge position.

Plank Tricep Kick Back

This exercise is a perfect burner for your core, triceps, and legs.

Begin placing the pulley at the lowest height using a D handle attachment. Then move into a plank position as you face toward the machine. Grasp the handle with one hand and pull it back towards your hips and then perform a tricep extension movement.

Standing Leg Curl

Using the ankle attachment, place the strap around your ankle then put the pulley on the lowest height setting.

Begin facing the machine and extend your legs behind. You should be feeling your hamstrings and glute. As you keep your leg straight and your core tight, move your leg back to the standing position.

Side Plank Cable Row

This exercise is great for activating the shoulders, lats, and core.

Attach the D handle and position the pulley at the lowest height setting. Then position your body into a side plank position, perpendicular to the pulley system.

With your free arm, pull the cable towards you while keeping your body upright and strong. Your body should not be rotating or moving at all. This is all an arm movement exercise.

Cable Front Squat

The cable front squat engages your hamstring, glutes, quads, and core. It forces you to stabilize your body because the force is moving you forward, towards the pulley system.

Begin putting the pulley onto the lowest height setting while facing the machine. Stand with your feet at hip width apart or in your standard squatting position and grasp the rope attachment. Lower down like you would squat and stand back up.

Wood Chop

The wood chop is a classic functional movement exercise that challenges your core and shoulders in several different planes of movement. Begin placing the pulley slightly higher than your shoulder height.

Stand where you are perpendicular to the machine and pull the cable down in a diagonal motion across your body to the floor. Then bring it back to the starting position. The motion simulates a chopping motion.

Single Arm Row

This movement is similar to the bench press motion, but you’re standing up. This is great for isolating the movement and strengthening your lats and shoulders.

Place the cable pulley at shoulder height and take a few steps back. Begin pulling the handle towards you while keeping your core tight. Then slowly move the cable back to the starting position.

FAQs for Functional Trainers

What Is the Difference Between the Functional Trainer and Fixed-Press Gyms?

The primary difference between a fixed press gym and functional trainer is the safety and need for assistance. A functional trainer needs almost zero assistance which makes it a perfect tool for home gym use when you have no spotter and help.
Fixed Press gyms are on rails providing stability to the weight. This means you can perform the pull and push movements without caring about your form.
Using a functional trainer, you’re able to work on each muscle group, stability, and movements with weight.
With it’s design, you’re able to move a 360 degree plane of movement, providing you freedom and variety on your exercises. Most functional trainers will have two pulley systems that use weight stacks and weight plates that can be adjusted to the required resistance.

Functional Trainers or Free Weights?

Free weights are a great way to improve your overall strength through using functional movement. 
You’re able to control the movement by either moving it forward, backward, horizontally, or vertically, similar to how you move your body every day.This helps engage more muscles and helps bigger muscles work together. 
Free weights are portable but as you grow stronger, it will be more difficult to move more weight around. They don’t have any safety mechanism and often people get injured while lifting weights.
While functional trainers are perfect for beginners who have no clue what to do in the weight room. They can isolate muscle groups which is perfect for ensuring all the muscles in your body are getting worked on. 

How to Maintain a Functional Trainer?

Most functional trainers will need nearly zero maintenance if you’re purchasing a high quality functional machine.
Make sure to clean off dirt, debris, and sweat whenever you’re done with your workout session. You may have to tighten bolts and cables overtime.
If you do find trouble, you’ll probably be under warranty and can get those parts replaced.

Can You Build Muscle By Using a Functional Trainer?

Yes, functional trainers can help increase your muscle mass for each muscle. However, after a certain threshold, you may need to add even more weight or resistance levels to the machine to match your bodybuilding goals.
Most functional trainers come between a 165 lb to 220 lb weight stack that is perfect for beginners to intermediate.
By following a proper workout, you’ll be able to increase stress and load on your body to increase muscle. Over time your muscle will become stronger and larger, if you continue to work out properly.

Is a Functional Trainer Helpful for Weight Loss?

Yes, a functional trainer can help you lose weight. As the machine allows you to move your body in comfortable and natural positions, you will not only lose weight but improve range of motion and flexibility.
By having less rest, your heart will be working harder. This results in your body burning more calories.

Conclusion

When choosing a Functional Trainer, there are many factors to consider. The room size and height, budget, your fitness level, and overall space.

However, out of the eight Functional Trainers that we got to test and research, we recommend 

REP FITNESS FT-5000 Multi-Grip Functional Trainer Cable Machine because of the amount of resistance and weight stack.

Made with a 11 gauge steel frame that helps prevent the rust and breakdown of metal, allowing the structure to last for a long time.

The pulleys are large and strong while the cable is thick, allowing for a smooth movement when using the pulley stem. It comes with 16 different cable positions allowing you to be versatile with your exercises.

It has the highest weight stack of all the competitors with a dual 200 lb weight stack, which is perfect for advanced lifters. It comes with a rotating panel, ten hooks for storing attachments, exercise guides, and a bunch of pull up grip angles for all your chin up and pull up exercises.

If you’re looking for a functional machine that includes a smith machine for more variety of exercises, we recommend FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo

The steel power rack includes commercial grade J Hooks and Safety that can be adjusted up and attached to 50 different number points so you find the perfect position for bench pressing, squatting, and other exercises. 

The functional trainer component allows over 75 different exercises by adjusting height positions and the variety of accessories that is included. Each component angled and designed for natural body movement reducing the chances of you getting injured.

These additional components include a Chin Up Station, Landmine Station, Band Pegs, Attachment Storage, Barbel Storage, and Safety Spotter Arms.

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About the Author

Reda Elmardi is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.

About Reda Elmardi

Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.

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