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What weight lifting equipment is best?

Weight lifting does more than build muscle and burn fat. It may boost energy, increase flexibility and reduce your risk of injury in other sports or exercises. Active individuals often invest in home weight lifting equipment so they don’t need to interrupt their progress if they can’t get to the gym. Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell, for example, is a space-savvy weight set that lets users lift up to 52.5 pounds. 

What to know before you buy weight lifting equipment

If you’re investing in weight lifting equipment for the first time, you might be wondering which pieces to prioritize. Here’s an overview of weights, equipment and other accessories to consider:

Types of weights

As far as weights go, there are free weights, kettlebells, Olympic barbells and plates. You may want to begin with a few weights or go all-in by investing in an entire set. 

Weight benches lend themselves to dynamic use. Olympic weight benches, for example, have adjustable seats to execute different exercises. For more information, visit the BestReviews buying guide on Olympic weight benches.

Power cages, also called squat racks, are ideal for heavy-lifting routines. They’re often used by individuals who exercise on their own and may not have a spotter. 

Benefits of home weight lifting equipment

Many fitness enthusiasts feel it’s easier to maintain progress when weight lifting equipment is within reach, whether it’s in their basement, garage or guest room. Rain or shine, there isn’t much standing in the way of their workouts.

Some people prefer the privacy of working out at home, especially since they avoid common gym distractions like loud music or conversations. It also means there’s no need to share gym equipment during peak times. 

Drawbacks of home weight lifting equipment

One of the pitfalls of home weight lifting equipment is its large footprint. Those without much spare room may be limited in terms of which equipment they can buy. If you have a studio apartment, for example, it may be challenging to fit a full weight rack or power cage in the space. 

Some weight lifting equipment designed for home use lacks the quality construction of gym machines. Certain pieces have poor-quality metal components, whereas others have seats that are prone to ripping or compressing after minimal use. 

Shipping and delivery 

Because most weight lifting equipment is heavy or bulky, consider shipping, delivery and assembly before you buy. 

Larger specialty pieces, like gym-quality weight lifting machines, may require scheduled delivery. Some companies offer free delivery and assembly, while others may charge a few hundred dollars for these services. Additionally, supply chain and logistic interruptions may push back delivery dates unexpectedly. 

Weight lifting equipment that arrives in smaller pieces, such as power cages or benches, typically require user assembly. If you want a professional to handle it, be prepared to pay hourly for labor, which may run as high as a couple hundred dollars.  

What to look for in quality weight lifting equipment


Well-made weight lifting equipment makes a world of difference in your training. Quality pieces hold up well to rugged use without wobbling, breaking or bowing. They’re generally considered safer than poorly assembled equipment that has subpar and unreliable components. 

Weight increments

Before you invest in weights, think about your lifting goals and expectations. If your goal is to lift heavier, invest in sets whose weight increments accommodate your progress. Some people may need to upgrade their set once they max out with their current one.

Weight capacities

You’ll need to examine weight capacity with some types of lifting equipment. Weight benches usually list two capacities, including one for the user and one for the weight rack. Power cages list the maximum weight they can support, provided weight is evenly distributed.

Adjustable features

Many types of lifting equipment are adjustable, such as rack heights or seat angles. Less expensive pieces often have fewer adjustability features than premium pieces. Some people aren’t bothered by only having a couple options, whereas others who do different types of exercises may benefit from more adjustability.  

How much you can expect to spend on weight lifting equipment

Small sets of free weights and kettlebells cost $50 and below, and you’ll need to spend closer to $100-$300 on most entry-level free weight sets, benches and power cages. Gym-quality weight lifting equipment costs between $500-$2,500.

Weight lifting equipment FAQ

Does weight lifting equipment come with a warranty?

A. Most quality weight lifting equipment comes with manufacturer warranties; however, it’s important to read the fine print. Some companies only cover parts, while others cover the entire frames. Some premium equipment is warrantied with in-home tech support as well.  

What other equipment will I need for weight lifting?

A. Many lifters invest in weight lifting gloves to protect their hands and achieve a better grip. If you’re buying a power cage or weight bench, invest in equipment mats to protect floors. 

What’s the best weight lifting equipment to buy?

Top weight lifting equipment

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell

What you need to know: If you don’t have the room for a full dumbbell set, this select-a-weight set is a space-savvy solution.

What you’ll love: The weights adjust from 5-52.5 pounds in 2.5-pound increments. Its dial system offers seamless transitions between weights. The set comes with a two-year warranty on plates and parts.

What you should consider: The dial system is user-friendly, but it has a modest learning curve. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bowflex

Top weight lifting equipment for the money

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

What you need to know: A well-made design, this affordable power cage has an 800-pound weight capacity to accommodate heavy lifting. 

What you’ll love: The cage is adjustable to 19 height levels to suit standing, squatting and seated exercises. It has a wide design to give users enough room to walk and squat inside it. The cage has several safety features, including rear stability bars.

What you should consider: Unfortunately, the power cage doesn’t come with J-hooks and it has a large footprint. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Worth checking out

Body Champ Olympic Weight Bench with Preacher Curl

Body Champ Olympic Weight Bench with Preacher Curl

What you need to know: This dynamic weight bench is ideal for the lifter who wants a gym-quality, heavy-duty set without the large footprint. 

What you’ll love: The backrest is adjustable to seven positions, including ones for leg extensions, left lifts and arm curls. The set integrates seamlessly with most home gyms because it’s compatible with most 6- and 7-foot sets.

What you should consider: Because it’s a compact design, taller users may experience difficulty using it. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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