If you are new to fitness and are wondering what a lat pulldown machine is, it’s a piece of gym equipment that can work your lats (V-shaped muscles on the back that stretches to the sides) the same way that chin-ups and pullups do but with less weight.
To perform a lat pull-down, you are pulling the bar towards your upper chest vs. pulling yourself up to the bar (in a pullup). Lat pulldown is a form of strength training and can greatly benefit overall wellbeing and fitness.
It is a simple, yet effective movement. More so if you invest in a lat pulldown machine with a weight stack so you can customize how much weight you wish to lift and with a lower margin for error even without the assistance of a spotter.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite lat pulldown machines:
Top 7 Best Lat Pulldown Machines with Weight Stack
1. Marcy MWM-988 Multifunction Steel Home Gym
The Marcy MWM-988 Multifunction Steel Home Gym is made of heavy-duty steel tubing with guard rods that hold its weight in place as you workout. And what’s surprising is that this machine remains competitively affordable compared to other full systems.
This home gym equipment offers a great way to access more than 36 different exercises. Simply check the workout chart included directly on the machine to know the kinds of exercises you can do!
For your lat pulldown exercise, the Upper Pulley will be your favorite station. But of course, you have other stations: dual action press arms, leg extensions, and dual-action butterfly arms for presses so you can workout your arms and chest muscles.
It likewise features a 150-pound selectorized weight stack that you can customize based on your skill level to avoid the stress of loading and unloading weight plates.
It also comes with a weight stack lock to prevent the unauthorized use of this equipment. For a more comfortable workout position, its built-in leg developer aligns with knee joints and is equipped with 4 comfortable foam rollers to deliver an easy and quick quadricep workout.
Overall, this machine may require a bit of an effort to assemble but once set up, it’s very easy to use and is totally worth the price and time! Plus, it’s fairly slim so it can fit in smaller rooms.
- Sturdy steel construction
- Relatively affordable
- Fairly slim (can fit in smaller rooms)
- Pulleys are well-made; movements are smooth
- Even weight distribution
- The leg station has a thick foam roller so your legs are comfortable even when lifting heavier amounts of weight
- None-adjustable seat
2. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
Not all power racks are affordable. Some even lack in quality or don’t meet the high safety standards that a professional fitness coach or an athlete would set in their workouts.
But not the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage. This lat pulldown machine is special in the sense that it has a total of 19 levels of adjustments, 800 lbs. weight capacity, and is built with a tubular frame from 2” x 2” sturdy steel.
You’ve got options also to include a lat pulldown attachment in this power cage. The lat machine weight post allows Olympic or standard weight plates (although not included in your purchase of this best lat pulldown machine).
At the back of this power cage, you’ll also see two rear stability bars to provide you with solid-state workouts. With its adjustable 19 height levels, this machine is ideal for chin-ups/ pull-ups, shrugs, incline/decline bench presses, squats, and other strength training exercises.
- Durable; with chrome plating for extra toughness
- Each pair of bars can handle 800 lbs. weight
- 19 height level
- Two rear stability bars were added for stability
- Designed with a large walk and provides easy side to side movement
- Assembly isn’t too daunting
- The lat pull-down functions well
- Tools for assembly included
- The plastic bottom housing of the sliding bar doesn’t seem durable
- Transitions between switches of weight plates are slow because of the location
- Attachments are purchased separately
3. Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity Olympic Power Cage
One of the best lat pulldown machines in the market, the Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity Olympic Power Cage features 1500 lbs of real weight capacity and is made of a tubular steel frame.
The brand alone, which is a division of Paradigm Health and Wellness Inc. in California, has been in the fitness equipment industry for more than 10 years already and it has always been their mission to produce high-quality fitness equipment for the weekend warriors and elite athletes. And certainly, they don’t disappoint with this Fitness Reality X-Class.
It comes with two adjustable dip handles (high-density rubber grip) with 600 lbs user weight capacity. If you consider the overall features of this machine, you’ll know it was designed with home use in mind but it doesn’t mean it’s not ideal for light commercial use.
Just consider its 1,500 lb weight capacity, safety bars, and all-steel construction and you’ll know why.
As for its lat pulldown attachment, it has 360 lbs. Real weight plate capacity. Included are one 44-inch lat bar and one 20” low row bar with textured foam rubber hand grips.
So, if lifting weight is a big part of your exercise, this Fitness Reality X-Class Power Cage could be the star in your home gym.
- Over 24 exercises available, with lat pull-down attachment
- Assembly is easy; all the hardware are well-labeled
- Comes with a nice 10-year warranty for the frame, 3 years for the parts, and 2 years for the wearable parts
- 1,500 lb Weight Capacity
- Stable lat pulldown machine
- Safety bars included
- Adjustable dip handles
- With bonus J-hooks
- Slight friction with the lat machine cable, although it includes silicone oil
- Not so easy to fit the 35.5” safety bars
4. Marcy Smith Cage Machine – SM-4008
The Marcy Smith Cage Machine – SM-4008 is a combination Smith machine, leg developer, cable crossovers, and a pull-up bar. All these stations are great for muscle building.
Included in this smith cage machine is an independent-motion upper pulley system that allows you to perform various upper body exercises, including pulldowns, motion butterfly for your chest, back extensions, and more!
Of course, this machine comes with a fully-adjustable utility bench with options for incline, decline, and flat chest press positions. To ensure maximum comfort during workouts, the back and seat pads are made of boxed upholstery and both are filled with high-density foam.
This equipment is truly ideal for your home or garage gym. It is an all-in-one fitness powerhouse that is made of 14-gauge square steel tubing so you won’t have to question its durability.
- Comes with a removable bench so you can do a full range of strength exercises
- The seat and back are padded (high-density foam used)
- Includes two Olympic weight plate storage posts
- Carries a two-year warranty
- Targets different parts of the body
- Includes several accessories, like an ankle strap, shiver bar, v-bar, triceps rope, and more!
- It is a combo machine – comes with a lot of pulleys for maximum functionality
- You will have to purchase the Olympic plates separate from the equipment itself
- Instructions and diagrams for stringing the cables around the pulleys are not clear
- Does not come with a lat pulldown bar, but you get the handles/attachments as shown in the photo
Interested? Get Marcy Smith Cage Machine – SM-4008 Here.
5. Sunny Health & Fitness Power Rack and Cage
Next on our list is the Sunny Health & Fitness Power Rack and Cage. This upgrade add-on accessory for your home gym fits weight plates with 1” – 2” inners that you can use in the pulley attachment
It is a versatile power cage, allowing you to focus on your back muscles, deltoids, triceps, and biceps. Moreover, it is simple and easy to add this lat pulldown attachment. Once attached, it will be functional in a few minutes.
Wearing a knee brace is also a good home solution if you are strong on lat pulldowns (with weight stacks) that you tend to pull yourself off the seat.
- 360 Degree rotating pulley
- Convenient add-on
- Fits weight plates with 1” – 2” inners
- Standardized fit
- Versatile power cage
- Good value for money
- For tricep pushdowns and lat pulldowns, it does the job
- It has a loud sound when the bar bottoms out. A bumper could be useful.
6. Gold’s Gym XRS 50 Home Gym System
Another great machine that will complement your home weight lifting setup is the Gold’s Gym XRS 50 Home Gym System.
This is not just a pulldown machine, but a complete home gym system that can target your entire body with different workout options. It is designed to develop powerful strength and tone your muscles.
It features a 112 lb. weight stack and up to 280 lbs. resistance for maximum results. Just like other lat machines, we featured in this list, the chest press station will help you get twice the upper-body workout results.
This home gym also features a lat bar, high and low pulleys, a 4 roll leg developers, as well as an exercise chart that is created by a certified personal trainer.
With its weight stack, you can efficiently perform different exercises, including seated rows, bent-over rows, pulldowns, and more. Rest easy with this gym equipment knowing that it has a long-lasting design and is dependable too!
- It delivers a full range of workout
- Combination Chest Press/Fly Station
- Multi-grip lat bar
- Comes with an exercise chart that is made by a certified personal trainer
- Covered with a 90-day warranty
- 300 lb. user weight capacity
- Features 112 lb. Vinyl Weight Stack
- It may not be the best choice for athletes and bodybuilders
Interested? Get Gold’s Gym XRS 50 Home Gym System Here.
7. Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine
The Body-Solid Pro Lat machine features quality construction and comes with a 48-inch lat bar. It is durable with ergonomic design functionality.
It has a “no-cable-change technology,” which makes transitions between low and high pulley workouts effortless.
This equipment also features multi-position 8″ foam rollers so it won’t wobble when you are doing high pulley lat work.
Features of this home or commercial gym equipment include patented nylon bushings, foam rollers, bar holders for low and high pulleys, and a seated row foot brace.
For the money, you can’t go wrong with this machine.
- Ergonomic design functionality
- Includes straight bar and lat bar
- Comfortable seat pad
- Easy transitions between high and low pulley workouts
- With diamond plate stabilizers for extra balance
- The pulleys run well without creating an overwhelming amount of friction
- It may be too short for tall users (over 6”)
- Sparse manual instruction (especially for people not mechanically inclined)
Interested? Get Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine Here.
Types Of Lat Pulldown Machines
Single Stack Home Gym Equipment
The single stack home gym equipment gives you the ability to do different exercises from a single machine, with the lat pulldown as its primary feature. Buying this type of lat pulldown machine is budget- and space-saving for your home gym.
This is the best option for exercisers who want to improve their physique, regardless of their experience or age.
This lat pulldown machine stands by itself. It is not big as other power cages so it fits in most home gyms. A caveat for this type of lat pulldown, though, is that it comes tall so make sure your home gym ceiling is high enough.
Examples of these lat pulldowns are the Roque Monster Lat Pulldown and the Vanswe Lat Pulldown.
Lastly, the power-rack attachment type is a good option for those whose budget and space are limited. Meaning, you purchase the power rack that comes with a lat pulldown attachment.
Many prefer this because it’s a dual function machine – it can be used for low row and lat pulldown.
Key Things to Look for in a Lat Machine with Weight Stack
One of the key things to look out for when buying a lat pulldown machine is the top and bottom pulley system. Many lat machines can be adjusted to be row machines.
But if you are looking for a good lat pulldown machine, like a Titan Fitness lat tower (check the current price here), that is cool. However, not all have a pulley system so you may not be able to set up the equipment for curls and rows.
That’s why the pulley system is an important feature when choosing the best lat pulldown machine for your workout goals!
Total Weight Support (Load)
Not all lat pulldown exercise machines can support heavy or extreme weight. Often, the cheaper the machines are the ones with lower weight support, well partly due to having a less sturdy frame and that they are primarily meant for new trainees.
A pretty good total weight support range between 250 and 400 pounds. And if you need a challenge, you can always go for a machine with higher weight support.
You would definitely want to invest in a lat pulldown machine that is durable (in terms of its frames) and yet still has comfortable pads so it won’t be difficult to work out even in long periods.
Check out the build quality of the handlebar, thigh supports, and the cushions on the seats. Do these materials appear durable and won’t tear down in just a few weeks or days? If so, then it is worth investing in.
We also recommend you check the upper rod or cable. It should be heavy-duty and thick enough to prevent damage to the gym equipment or worse, injury to you or other people who will be using the machine.
This could be included already in the overall build quality, but allow us to highlight this because of its importance. It is because the seat of a lat pulldown machine can make or break your exercise experience.
It would be nice to buy a lat pulldown machine that has an adjustable seat so you can adjust it to the proper height – one that is comfortable to you so you can get the most of your workout.
Bottom line: Which One Should You Buy?
As much as we love these options, our top pick would be the Marcy MWM-988 Multifunction Steel Home Gym. Right away, we are impressed with its solid construction and is not as expensive as Rogue lat pulldown.
This lat pulldown machine with a weight stack is such a great example of a well-built and easy-to-use lat machine with weight slack. It also offers different exercise options to users without doing too many adjustments.
Although the stack of weights is limited to 150lb, that’s pretty decent and is a good value for money compared to other lat pulldown machines that are expensive.
If you like this article, you might want to read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.