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Weight Bench Review & Ultimate Shopping Guide V2

Weight Bench Ultimate Review & Shopping Guide - 2018 Edition

It has been five years since the publication of my original weight bench shopping guide, and although I’ve managed to keep that article updated and current I thought it was time to start over. So here is version two.





Flat Utility Benches

Every gym should have a flat utility bench. It’s one of the first pieces of equipment you need to be looking for when setting up your garage gym; the final item in what I like to think of as the big four (bar, weight plates, a rack, and flat bench.) A flat utility bench is not just needed for the bench press and its variants (which is technically all the justification you should need to own one) it’s also needed for a plethora of other movements including dumbbell flyes, hip thrusts, skull crushers, dumbbell rows, and so many more. Do not consider the utility bench to be optional equipment in your gym, consider it a necessity.

Of the ‘big four’, a utility bench generally requires the smallest investment. The difference in price between a junky bench and a high-quality bench is not all that great, and I suggest not being overly cheap about your bench. Keep in mind that your bench not only has to support your weight, but also the weight of whatever you’re lifting.  As you get stronger the load that the bench needs to safely support goes up as well. You want a bench that can handle those gains; a strong and durable bench that will remain stable under any load.

Safety and durability is not the only reason to buy a quality utility bench; comfort is definitely worth considering as well. If you’ve ever purchased a cheap, economy desk chair you know how uncomfortable cheap foam padding can be even after rather moderate use. When you have 200+ pounds pushing your back into a foam covered piece of plywood, do you want to be on a cheap $50 bench with an inch of dime-store padding and a slippery vinyl cover, or a well-constructed, thick pad of high density foam with a grippy vinyl?

Now that I’ve given you a few things to consider, let me give you the rundown on a handful of benches that should meet most people’s criteria and budget. The first section will be high quality benches that will last and will never need to be replaced. Prices shall vary a little but all are quality products with high or no weight limits. Following is a very limited section with some of the more popular budget benches. They aren’t benches that I’d use, but if you truly have close to no budget they may be your only option and they are certainly better than the bulk of what you’d find in this lower price range in a box-store.

Remember that the goal here at Garage-Gyms is to help you equip your garage gym with affordable but durable pieces of equipment that keep up with your progress year after year, and $40 box-store flat benches don’t meet that criteria. You do not have to drop $400 on a bench, but you shouldn’t buy something that costs less than dinner for two at Chili’s.

(For referencing purposes, view the current IPF equipment specs here.)

Quality Utility Bench Listing

Economy Utility Bench Listing

Flat Utility Bench Summary & Comparison





Quality Flat Utility Benches

Unless you’re willing to spend more on a commercial bench, your flat utility bench should probably come from this section. There are hundreds of benches on the market but these listed below are among the most popular. Most of them are great options but they are not all priced competitively.


Rep Fitness PR-5000 Competition Utility Bench

The Rep Fitness FB-5000 is currently the best overall value for a strong and functional flat utility bench. It’s by far the most popular and versatile bench available right now and at only $149 it is extremely affordable.

Rep Fitness FB-5000 Competition Flat Bench

Rep Fitness FB-5000 Competition Flat Bench with default 12″ wide pad.

Unlike most other flat benches, the FB-5000 is a tripod design; much like many commercial benches. This design eliminates any chance of the frame being in the way of our feet when benching, and it does this without sacrificing stability.  It also makes the bench lighter, which when combined with the wheels and a handle makes the FB-5000 easy to move around the gym; much easier than its biggest competitor; the Monster Utility Bench (covered next).

The PR-5000 also has a shorter frame (as in height) to accommodate the thicker pads such as the Thompson Fat Pad or Rogue Competition Bench Pad. It ships with its own version of the Competition Pad; a 4″ thick, 12″ x 48″ grippy fat pad; but Rep also offers an optional 14″ wide pad as well for only $50. Those of you who already own any of the Rogue pads will be happy to know that this frame is completely compatible with both of those pads as well.

Rep FB-5000 Competition bench with the optional 14" Wide Pad

Rep FB-5000 Competition bench with the optional 14″ Wide Pad

This is a great bench, and it has been my go-to recommendation since it was released. The 3″x3″, 11-gauge frame is strong, the included pad does have the grippy vinyl that you’ll only find elsewhere on the Thompson pads and Vulcan Prime Bench, and the frame itself is low enough to keep the top of the pad within IPF specifications (17″).  The Rep FB-5000 should be on your short list.

Close up of Rep's FB-5000 pad textured, grippy vinyl

Close up of the FB-5000 grippy, textured vinyl.

See my full review of the FB-5000 here. See my thoughts on the 14″ pad upgrade here.


Rogue Monster Utility Bench

The Rogue Monster Utility Bench with default pad

The Rogue Monster Utility Bench with default pad – $265

The Monster Utility Bench is an American-made, heavy-duty utility bench built with massive 11-gauge, 3″x3″ steel tubing. It has an extra wide, 24″ footprint and sports giant rubber feet that are great for uneven surfaces. It is available with the normal 12″x47″ Neoprene pad (as found on the Rogue Utility Bench discussed below), or you may upgrade to the Thompson Fat Pad or Competition Bench Pad at the time of purchase for only $30 more.

Custom sized Monster Utility Bench w/ Thompson Fat Pad

The two upgrade pads are much thicker than the default pad (4½” thick versus 2″ thick) and because of this extra thickness Rogue offers a “shorty” version. The short variant allows us to get the extra stability, size, and the grip of the improved pads while keeping the height of the bench within IPF specs. If you’re a plus-sized dude or a veteran powerlifter, the Monster Bench with the Thompson or Comp pad is definitely the way to go. Of course, you may also want to consider the above-mentioned Rep FB-5000.

Example of Monster overall height depending on pad and frame version

Various height and width combinations of the Monster Utility Bench

Regardless of which pad you choose for your Monster this is one beefy bench, and the last flat bench you’ll ever buy. It’s $265 for the standard pad and $295 with the Fat Pad (making it the cheapest way by far to acquire an official Thompson Fat Pad and frame.)

See my review of the Thompson Fat Pad here.


Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0

Manufactured by Rogue Fitness in Ohio, the Flat Utility Bench 2.0 has a single-piece frame that is built with strong 11-gauge, 2″x3″ steel; giving the 2.0 a weight capacity of over 1000-lbs. Pass-through legs are angled slightly outwards to improve stability (and it does improve stability), and he pad is high-density, firm Neoprene. The Rogue Utility Bench 2.0 weighs in at 40 pounds, is 18″ high, and has a footprint of 47″long  x 14″ wide.

Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0 Review

Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0 – firm Neoprene padding, commercial-grade stability, & American made – $179

I own this bench, and one of my favorite things about this bench is that the pad is a full 12″ wide. 12″ is supposed to be the norm but too many other mid-range (and even commercial) benches are going with narrower 10″ pads; presumably to lower manufacturing costs. That is just not how it should be. 10″ is just too damn narrow.  Also, contrary to the above image, this bench now has rubber feet that help with overall stability on uneven floors.

Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0 now includes rubber feet which adds to stability even more!

The Rogue Utility Bench 2.0 now ships with rubber feet. This improves stability on uneven flooring.

The Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0 sells for $179 and ships completely assembled via UPS. It has a solid 5-star rating based on over 100 reviews and it should be near the top of your list if you are looking for a basic flat bench that will last two lifetimes. This bench is all pros and no cons.

There is also an optional wall hanger that allows you to store the 2.0 on the wall and out of the way. It sells for only $25.

See my review of the Rogue Utility Bench 2.0 here.


Vulcan 3×3 Flat Utility Bench

As a great alternative to the $265 Rogue Monster Bench (for those not seeking a Fat Pad), Vulcan also offers a beefy 3″ x 3″, 11-gauge bench, only it’s far less expensive at only $189, and that includes the shipping! It is not as over-engineered and heavy as the Monster but it is not going to fail even the strongest and heaviest of athletes.

Vulcan Flat Utility Bench 3x3 11-gauge

The Vulcan 3×3 Bench has a wide, 21″ stance and rubber feet for stability.  It has a heavy-duty 2½” pad that measures 12″ x 47″, and that pad sits 17½” off the ground. This is a very nice bench for the money. Actually, it’s an amazing bench for the money – stiff competition for the Rogue and American Barbell benches, and a no-brainer upgrade from the CFF and Rep benches that I’ll discuss below.

To my knowledge, this bench is not compatible with the various fat pads, but like with most bench frames on the market (including even Rogue’s Utility Bench 2.0) the frame is just too tall for those pads anyway. Fat pads mounted on 15″+ tall frames results in a pad height in the 19-20″ range. That’s just too tall.


Legend 3100 Utility Bench

Legend Fitness makes commercial-grade equipment, and all Legend equipment is made to order. There is a lead time and waiting months for equipment  really sucks, but the upside is that your bench will be any color you want.  There are 16 frame colors available and like 90 upholstery color choices, and if you are really hardcore you can have logos embroidered on your bench pad. All of that is pretty cool…

legend-fitness utility bench 3100

That having been said, the Legend 3100 has awful dimensions.  It is 19″ tall, only 45″ long and 10″ wide, and is heavy at 56-lbs (and has no wheels). It uses high-density foam and is a comfortable bench in terms of the padding, but the pad is just too narrow, short, and high, and it’s just too expensive at over $450 shipped. It’s fully welded so it’s strong, but it’s a bad option when compared to benches like the PR-5000 and Monster. Legend is not even trying to be competitive (or regulation.)


Vulcan Prime Flat Utility Bench

Joining the beefy framed, grippy pad collection is the new Vulcan Prime Bench. In pictures, the Prime Bench seems very similar to the Rogue Monster Bench with the default 12″ wide pad. It has the same 3″ x 3″, 11-gauge steel frame, the same thick joining plates and beefy hardware, and the same general, bolt-together design. Better yet, the Prime has a handle and wheels, has the textured, grippy pad, and it’s significantly less money to your door than the Monster.  There is one difference though. The Prime has a 43.5″ long pad rather than a 47″ long pad; meaning the Prime is a smaller bench overall.

Vulcan Prime 3"x3" Utility Flat Bench

I can see the Prime being very appealing to those who want nothing to do with the fat pads, but who still want a beefy frame, grippy textured vinyl, easy mobility, and reasonable price. I do own this bench and think it’s a great product, but I am 6’4″ and I’d be lying to say I don’t prefer a full-length, ~48″ pad. You’re probably not 6’4″ so you would probably be completely happy with what is basically Monster Bench for $100 less cash to your door.

See my review of the Vulcan Prime Flat Bench here.


York Barbell ST Flat Weight Bench

Manufactured by York Barbell, the York ST Flat Bench has a strong 2″x3″ steel frame, high-density foam padding, and load-bearing rubber feet. The York can handle some real weight, but it is a very bizarre size.  At only 40″ long, 10″ wide, and sitting 19″ off the ground, I have no clue who this bench was designed for. It’s too narrow, too short, and too damn tall.

york st flat weight bench

I just don’t see recommending this bench to many people. You would have to be looking for a super small pad for some reason, but I don’t know what that reason would be. The pricing is okay at $189 since the build is nearly-commercial, but there are better deals out there for sure. I say skip this one.  Even a young child that may benefit from the small pad would find the height bothersome.


American Barbell Flat Utility Bench

The American Barbell Utility Bench is decent. It’s a bolt-together bench like the economical FB-3000, but it has a wider, more stable stance and beefier steel. I think this is a contender in the 12″ wide market at its current price of $175 but I don’t believe that it offers everything that the Rogue 2.0 Utility Bench does for the same $175 or even the FB-5000 for $150.

American Barbell Flat Utility Bench

This bench weighs in at 60-pounds. It has a 2½” thick pad that is 48″ long x 12″ wide, and the pad height is pretty standard at 18″.  The reviews for the American Barbell Flat Bench are not many, but they are overwhelmingly good.  Sadly this is not American-made as you might be inclined to think.


CFF Flat Utility Bench

The CFF Flat Utility Bench has an 12-gauge box-steel frame.  The base is 2″ x 2″ steel and the frame itself is 2″ x 3″. The bench has a total load capacity of about 700-pounds which is fine for most people, but stronger-than-average lifters will want to find a bench with a higher max capacity. The height is fine at 18″, the pad width is tolerable at 11″, but the length runs super short at only 43″ (versus the normal 47-48″.) Reviewers say the foam padding leaves a lot to be desired, which is a bummer.

The CFF Flat Utility Bench is a no frills, middle-of-the-road bench.

The CFF Bench has wheels for easy mobility,  and rubber feet for improved stabilization on uneven surfaces. It’s not an awful bench, but at the end of the day it is a very middle-of-the-road utility bench, and fairly overpriced. $150 is just a few bucks shy of the 11-gauge Rogue Utility Bench and $1 more than the FB-5000; both infinitely superior products. I do not really recommend the CFF weight bench at this price point; even when shipping is included.


Sorinex Flat Utility Bench

The Sorinex Flat Utility Bench is basically a fully welded version of the economical Rep FB-3000. It has a nicer pad and it will definitely be more stable than the bolted 3000, but it’s still a simple 2″ x 2″, 11-gauge frame with no special features to speak of.

Sorinex Flat Utility bench

At $259 plus a lead time, the Sorinex bench is not worth considering for your garage gym. A beefier frame, wider pad, grippier vinyl, and wheels and a handle can be had for far less money than what this bench sells for. Skip it.

For the record Sorinex is the shit, but they are a commercial dealer so they are expensive. They have a lot of equipment that I’d recommend if you’re flush but this bench just doesn’t happen to be one of those pieces.


GetRx’d Power Flat Bench 2.0

The GetRx’d Power Flat Bench is one of the few tripod-style, flat utility benches currently available; similar to the Rep FB-5000 in that regard. It also sells for the same $149 as the FB-5000, and has the wheels and a handle as well. Not so bad!

GetRx'd Power Flat Bench 2.0

That having been said, the GetRx’d Power Bench is not really competition for the FB-5000; nor is it a very good alternative to the Rogue Utility 2.0. The bench isn’t awful at least as far as the frame goes, but it has that basic, slick vinyl pad that every other major manufacturer seems to be anxious to replace with the textured, grippy vinyl. It’s also not cross-compatible with the fat pads. Because of the pad it’s essentially a basic bench with a premium price.

I think you can easily do better for the same cash and you can do just as well for less. I do almost like this bench, but what good is almost, right?





Economy Flat Utility Benches

The following flat utility benches will have fewer features, lighter-weight steel (either gauge or dimensions), and will typically have a lower max weight capacity. They are all generally less expensive than the above-mentioned, high-quality benches as well; though in at least one case the price of the bench is not nearly as economical as the bench itself.

I didn’t include anything that is clearly a piece of garbage. No $40-50 Amazon or Wal-Mart benches; sorry. Please do not spend so little money on any piece of gym equipment unless you buy used.


Rep FB-3000 Flat Utility Bench

The Rep Fitness Flat Bench is a very strong bench for the money. At only $94 the PR-3000 is made of 11-gauge, 2″ x 2″ steel and it has been tested up to 1000-pounds. This is a bolt-together model rather than being fully or mostly welded – meaning you won’t get the same stability as a nicer, more expensive bench like Rep’s FB-5000 – but it’s cheaper to produce cheaper to ship, and it’ll still get the job done.

Rep Fitness - Flat Utility Bench rated to 1000-pounds

The Rep Bench does have great sizing dimensions. The pad is 47″ long and it has an ideal width of 12″. The foam is 2½” thick and the distance from the ground to the top of the pad is 17½ inches. The frame is warranted for 10-years, but sadly the pad is only warranted for 30 days. I suspect that the pad will last longer than 30-days, but it’s not nearly as nice as what Rep used on the FB-5000. It is only a $94 bench though so what else can we expect.

This bench does have a lot of positive feedback so it’s certainly not going to be a disaster or anything like that. I think the FB-5000 is 3x the bench for only 50% more cash though, and I suggest making that jump even if you have to save a little bit longer,  though if you can’t this is probably my first choice for a economy bench.


Titan Fitness Flat Utility Bench

The Titan Utility Bench is about as cheap as you should allow yourself to get; probably even too cheap. At $124 shipped it is very inexpensive, but it doesn’t feel much different than any other cheap, imported bench that you can get for half the money in a box store.  If budget is a serious concern of yours I’d recommend looking at the FB-3000 for $94 over this bench. If you do have to go the Titan route (for some reason that I can’t imagine), just try to make the best of it until you can afford something better; something more supportive/comfortable.

Titan Economy Flat Utility Bench - Imported

Some common complaints are this bench not sitting level, the vinyl being razor thin, and the pad being much narrower than the 12″ it claims to be. I’m also fairly certain that this bench is made from 14-gauge steel, so that 1000-lb capacity is probably quite optimistic, but even at half that it will be enough for the average bench presses. This is definitely imported – for those of you who try to buy American.

I strongly recommend Rep Fitness over Titan Fitness for those with limited budget. Rep still imports, but their prices are competitive and they tend to design superior products that are more durable, functional, and comfortable.


Adidas Performance Flat Bench

The Adidas Flat Bench has been around for a number of years now, and it has consistently floated in the $70-$90 range with shipping included (for Prime members).  It’s not a very big bench at only 43″ long and it’s certainly not a veteran powerlifter bench, but it’s been fairly popular over the years based on its low price and ability to handle novice+ levels of weight.

Adidas Performance Flat Bench on Amazon

Now I wouldn’t exactly say that I recommend this particular bench and I know I’d never use it, but if you know based on say an injury or just a lack of desire to gain any mass that you’ll never bench over 225 and all you want is a cheap, simple bench, then by all means get this thing. However! if you are at all serious about your training, and you do not want to have to buy another bench down the road, at the very least bump up to the Rep FB-3000 (if not the FB-5000.)

Also FYI, there are other brands of this very same bench (Marcy, for instance.) From what I can tell it is the exact same product save for the branded pad covers. Get the cheapest one at the time, I suppose.


Fringesport Economy Gym Bench

The Fringesport “Gym Bench” is an economy bench that’s designed very much like the Rep FB-3000 discussed above only it has a thinner pad, a lower maximum capacity, and it costs more money. It is 12″ wide and 48″ long, but the top of the pad sits way too high at 18¾”.

FringeSport Economy Flat Bench

At $169 you may be wondering why this bench is in the economy section of this article. Well it’s because this bench should be about as much as the FB-3000.  I wouldn’t include it at all but I’d inevitably be asked about it anyway, so I went ahead and added it. This bench needs to come down in price drastically to be a viable option.


Flat Utility Bench Summary & Comparison

My favorite is the Rep FB-5000. Whether you upgrade to the 14″ pad or not I believe it’ll be the last flat bench that you’ll ever buy. The tripod design is great, it has the wheels and the handle, and it can take any of the currently available thick pads; including Rogue’s. The FB-5000 is currently the bench to own; at least in my opinion.

I also like the Vulcan Bench and Rogue Utility Bench. Both of these units are strong, stable, supportive, comfortable, and 12″ wide. There are no max loads to be concerned with, and they are both reasonably priced. After shipping, these two units cost just about the same so it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. That said, the FB-5000 Competition Bench is still a better bench for the money; again, in my opinion.

The Monster Utility Bench with the Fat Pad is another personal favorite of mine despite the higher price. It’s definitely not as cost-effective as these others but it is a badass bench and no bench looks cooler, that’s for sure.

In terms of benches I don’t like, I’d say avoid the Titan, CFF, York, and Fringe benches for the reasons discussed in their respective summaries.

At-a-Glance Comparison Chart

 IPF Spec  Textured Pad Wheels Fat Pad Compat <$100
 Rep FB-5000
 Rogue Monster
 Rogue 2.0
 Vulcan 3×3
 Legend 3100
 Vulcan Prime
 York ST
 AB Utility
 CFF Utility
 Sorinex Utility
 GetRx’d Power
 Rep FB-3000
 Titan Utility
 Adidas Utility
 FS Gym Bench

 





Adjustable Incline Benches

Adjustable incline benches are less of a necessity than a flat utility bench, but they are still nice to have if you have both the funds to purchase one and the space in your gym to store a second bench. Now I say “a second bench” because the overwhelming majority of incline benches do not make great flat benches, so they are usually purchased in addition to a flat utility bench.  Why do incline benches not make great flat benches?  Mainly because of the large gap found between the pad and seat.  There are a couple adjustable incline benches that minimize this gap though and you’ll see them below.

Adjustable benches will set you back a little more cash than flat benches, that is assuming you buy one of a reasonably decent quality. Any bench under about $200 in the adjustable world is pretty much garbage, and there is a good chance that you’ll be disappointed in the stability, feel, and available settings of something that cheap.  Even just over $200 doesn’t really get you a good incline bench. Expect to pay good money for a solid incline bench.

It’s quite helpful to have an idea of what angles you expect from your incline bench before you pull the trigger on one. My suggestion is to make sure that your bench has at least four or five settings ranging from 0º to about 80-85º. You won’t actually need a full 90º setting as that setting puts your torso in a forward-leaning position; 85º is fine. Also consider the angle of the seat relative to the pad. The closer you get to having a perpendicular seat the better. Benches with seats that are always flat (or close to) it are the worst.


Rep Fitness AB-5000 Zero Gap Bench

Rep Fitness AB-5000 Zero Gap Incline Adjustable Bench

Coming Soon – See Rep’s teaser page here.


Vulcan Flat to Incline Adjustable Bench

Vulcan’s Flat to Incline Adjustable Bench is a fully commercial incline bench. The frame is made of strong 2″ x 4″ 11-gauge tube steel, and the adjustment slide is even beefier at ½” thick. The back pad adjusts to seven different positions from flat to 90º (including 85º), and the seat adjusts to five different positions.

Vulcan commercial Flat to Incline Adjustable Bench

The Vulcan Adjustable Bench is 10″ wide x 54″ long when flat, and sits 17″ high. It weighs 96-lbs and has a handle and wheels for easy mobility around the gym. The Vulcan retails for $599; which is pretty hefty price for an incline bench, but this is one of the best incline designs on the market; better than Legend even. This would definitely be your last incline bench purchase.


Rogue AB-2 / AB-3 Adjustable Bench

The Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Bench is a $935 monstrosity with no less than 6 seat positions and 9 back pad angles ranging from 0 to 85 degrees. Made with strong, 11-gauge steel and sporting load-bearing rubber feet,  the AB-3 also comes with a removable roller attachment that turns every possible incline position into a decline position.

Rogue Fitness AB-3 Incline/Decline Adjustable Bench

Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Incline/Decline Bench – $935

The AB-3 is one hell of a bench. It’s big, heavy, and super stable. It has a total length of 52″ without the foot attachment and 68″ with. It weighs in at 117-lbs, but it thankfully has wheels and a handle for easy mobility. The AB-3 is $935 before shipping while the AB-2 (no decline attachment) is $815.  You can retrofit an AB-2 to an AB-3, but it’s more costly to do after the fact than to buy the AB-3 first (so don’t buy an AB-2).

Rogue AB-2 Adjustable Bench

Rogue AB-2 Adjustable Incline Bench – $815

Both of these Rogue beasts are expensive as hell, and it is precisely this bench that Rep is trying to compete with with their AB-5000. Heck I’d take either the AB-3 or the AB-5000 any day of the week over anything else in this incline section, but even the AB-5000 isn’t cheap.


Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0

For those not looking to spend nearly a grand on a Rogue adjustable bench like the AB-2 or AB-3, there is the Adjustable Bench 2.0, a more affordable alternative that actually does an incredible job of eliminating the need for a different flat utility bench. Why? Because the 2.0 has almost no gap when used as a flat bench.

Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0

Now the 2.0 doesn’t have nearly as many positions as the ABx but it still has enough. There are six incline positions ranging from a flat 0° to 85° and the seat can be set in two different positions; either flat or at a slight angle. All of Rogue’s incline benches have the rubber feet, wheels, and a handle for moving them easily around the gym.

Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0

As per usual with Rogue, the Adjustable Bench 2.0 is made with 2″ x 3″, 11-gauge steel. It measures 11.25″ x 17.5″ x 52″ and sells for $545 before shipping. My only complaint is the lack of seat position variety. One incline setting isn’t enough in my opinion, but this is still a lot of bench for the money.


York ST Adjustable Incline Bench

This is the adjustable inclined version of the York ST Bench (above). York’s ladder system allows you to easily switch between the six different back positions. This bench is made of heavy duty steel with a powder coat finish, has wheels for easy mobility, and features high-density foam padding just like the flat ST. It is available in white or silver, weighs about 100 pounds, and is 57″ long by 19″ off the ground.

York ST Adjustable Incline Bench

This isn’t a bad incline bench for the price. It’s nearly-commercial grade for about $399, it has ample position variety, and the seat creates a nice and secure angle with the pad so that you don’t slide out or feel like you’re sliding out. The handle and wheels are nice, and the gap created between pads isn’t excessive.

You used to be able to pick the adjustable ST up at Rogue Fitness, but they’ve switched to only selling the flat variation of the ST. My guess is because they now manufacturer many of their own adjustable benches (many of which are found in this guide.) You can still find it at a competitive price on Amazon – they offer the ST in white, and a silver version with an alternate pad shape that I personally think is silly.


Rep Fitness AB-3000 Adjustable Bench

The Rep Fitness FID Bench is a fully adjustable bench. It has an 11-gauge steel frame, an easy to use adjustment ladder, and it sports seven total back pad angles ranging from -20º to +85º. This bench is heavy, strong, and rock-solid. It’s also affordable.

Rep Fitness AB-3000 Adjustable BenchThe Rep Adjustable Bench is sort of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I mean the price is incredible considering the variety of positions and the use of strong, heavy-gauge steel, but the bench doesn’t really excel in the flat or incline positions. It has the typical seat/pad gap, the seat only comes up to about 20º, and there is only one decline setting. It’s both versatile and functional, but you have to remember that this is a $300 bench, not $600.

Rep Fitness AB-3000 Adjustable BenchTruth be told I think this bench is a good value, and I don’t question its durability (maybe the pads, but not the frame.) The single decline position is at least a good one (-20º), the flat setting is tolerable despite the gap, and it has the proper incline angles. The seat angle is a joke, but it can be made to work. You can spend a lot more and still have at least some of these issues. [full review]


Legend Fitness 3103 Adjustable Bench

I own the Legend Fitness 3103 Bench; had it for going on five years now and I can tell you that it is a beast! The pad is mounted on an 11-gauge 3″ steel frame, and that pad is nearly 3″ thick and extremely firm and comfortable.  It has seven back and three seat positions, it weighs about 100 pounds, and it’s measurements when flat are 21″ high and 55″ long. The pad is 10″ wide by default but it can be ordered with a 12″ pad as well for a fee. While great as an incline bench, I admit that I don’t care for this bench flat at all.

Legend Fitness 3103 Adjustable Bench

As with all Legend Fitness products there are hundreds of possible color combinations that you can select from when ordering.  Unfortunately, there is also a lead time since it is made to order; anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks! MSRP is $649, but you’ll have to call Legend to get an actual quote.

I bought this bench when there were fewer premium options in the retail market. Honestly I would probably not buy this bench again at this price.  Too expensive for the lead time and having to deal with salespeople on the phone. That’s just me though. It is a solid bench.


IronMaster Super Bench

One of the most interesting & versatile adjustable benches on the market is the Ironmaster Super Bench. This bench has the advantage of both a rectangular back pad and removable seat; two features that allow this bench to excel in both an incline and flat position. With the addition of the optional crunch attachment, the Super Bench functions just as well in decline too.

IronMaster Super Bench can handle decline too

Another thing that makes this bench interesting is the method of adjusting the pad. It’s as simple as pushing down on a metal lever with your foot. It’s easy to use, sturdy, and out of the way when you’re actually on the bench. There are 11 angles available ranging from 0º to 85º,  and whether or not you have the crunch attachment or the seat currently installed dictates whether you’re in decline or incline. Pretty simple!

Ironmaster Super Adjustable Bench - Flat to Incline 85 degrees

It’s not all good news though. IronMaster has deviated from standard bench specs with the Super Bench,  and serious bench pressers may want to steer clear because of this.  When this bench is flat it sits a whopping 20-in off the ground.  That’s too high for leg drive unless you’re either a monster, or you artificially build up the floor around your feet with something. Also, the pad itself is only 10″ wide, which doesn’t provide enough surface area to dig in the lats and support the shoulders. This is not a powerlifter-friendly bench.

The Super Bench has a footprint of 17″x 41″ and the pad dimensions are 10″x 44″. It’s rated for 1000-lbs flat and 600-lbs for incline. While not a commercial bench it does have a great price and a lot of positive reviews on both Amazon and the IronMaster site,  so I’d say most people are willing to overlook those shortcomings. $320+ [full review]


Vulcan Prime Adjustable Incline Bench

The Vulcan Prime Adjustable Incline Bench is heavy-duty,  relatively low-cost flat to incline bench made of 3″ x 3″, 11-gauge, laser cut steel. It has a tripod-style frame, a tapered pad, and a virtually non-existent weight capacity. The Prime has three seat positions and over a dozen back pad postions. It also has wheels and handle for easy mobility. The cost is $339 and that includes the shipping.

Vulcan Prime Adjustable Incline Bench

The Prime Adjustable Bench is a relatively new addition to Vulcan’s line-up. I’ve personally not yet seen this bench yet but it appears to be promising. I’m anxious to see some reviews roll in on this bench (so comment if you own one please).


X-Mark “Commercial” FID Adjustable Bench

I do not like this bench at all, but I see a ridiculous number of purchases for it on Amazon and I honestly put it here because I want to read comments about why people are buying this. Am I missing something?

X-Mark FID Adjustable Bench

The X-Mark FID Adjustable Bench is made from what looks like 12- and 14-gauge steel, it appears to have light-duty assembly hardware, and there are clearly more bolts than welds. Despite all that, this light-weight incline bench is over $300 and boasts a ridiculous 1500-lb weight capacity (and even dares to use the word “commercial” in its name.) I’d love to hear from someone who owns this bench about what compelled them to buy it and how they feel about it now that they own it.


Any clear incline bench winners?

The best choice today if you can afford it is the AB-3, but I suspect based on what I’ve read about the AB-5000 is that it will take that winning position soon enough. Vulcan’s Pro Bench is another great option; it’s actually the same bench as the Precor Super Bench which sells for well over a grand normally. You’ve probably even used that Super Bench in your global gym days. Still, all of these incline benches are $500, $600, or more, and not everyone has that budget.

If you are on a budget and can’t afford a $500+ adjustable bench, at least hook yourself up with something like the IronMaster or the Rep AB-3000. These two cost half as much cash as commercial, will last for many years, and although they don’t have all the same bells and whistles as a commercial unit, they will get the job done. Whatever you do, don’t buy some flimsy, rickety, 14-gauge piece of garbage from Wal-Mart or off Amazon (but you know that).



 

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