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Best weightlifting equipment

What weightlifting equipment is best?

Weightlifting 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 people often invest in home weightlifting equipment so they won’t interrupt their progress if they can’t get to the gym. The Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell, for example, is a space-savvy weight set that lets users lift up to 90 pounds. 

What to know before you buy weightlifting equipment

Types of weights

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. 

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

Home weightlifting equipment pros

Many fitness enthusiasts feel it’s easier to maintain progress when weightlifting 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 such as loud music or conversations. It also means there’s no need to share gym equipment during peak times. 

Home weightlifting equipment cons

One of the pitfalls of home weightlifting equipment is its large footprint. Those without much spare room may be limited in 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. 

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

Shipping and delivery 

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

Larger specialty pieces, such as gym-quality weightlifting machines, may require scheduled delivery. Some companies offer free delivery and assembly, while others charge as much as a few hundred dollars. 

Weightlifting equipment that arrives in smaller pieces, such as power cages or benches, typically requires user assembly. If you want a professional to handle it, be prepared to pay hourly for labor, which may run as high as $200.  

What to look for in quality weightlifting equipment


Well-made weightlifting 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 safer than poorly assembled equipment that has subpar, 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. You may need to upgrade their set once you max out your current one.

Weight capacities

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

Adjustable features

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

How much you can expect to spend on weightlifting equipment

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

Weightlifting equipment FAQ

Does weightlifting equipment come with a warranty?

A. Most quality weightlifting equipment comes with manufacturer warranties. However, it’s important to read the fine print. Some companies only cover parts, while others cover the entire frame. Some premium equipment offers in-home tech support, too.  

What other equipment will I need for weightlifting?

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

What’s the best weightlifting equipment to buy?

Top weightlifting equipment

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 10 to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments, and a dial system offers seamless transitions between weights. The set comes with a workout DVD and a one-year membership in an app that offers full-body strength classes.

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

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top weightlifting equipment for the money

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

What you need to know: This well-made, 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. It has several safety features, including rear stability bars.

What you should consider: It doesn’t come with J hooks to protect your bar, and it has a large footprint. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

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 a 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 have 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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