Fitness & Equipment Guides > Home Gyms: Smith Machines vs Multi-Gyms vs Functional Trainers

Home Gyms: Smith Machines vs Multi-Gyms vs Functional Trainers

16th Sep 22

Finding a suitable strength machine for your home gyms can be a bit of a minefield. With Functional Trainers, Smith Machines and Multi-Gyms on the market, there’s so much to choose from it can be easy to buy the first thing you find. But instead, you should be looking for what best suits you and your fitness requirements.

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Smith Machines

man using a smith machine

When shopping for home gyms, Smith Machines can be a perfect choice. Whilst they are on the bulking side, they come with nearly everything you need to workout alone. Smith Machines are designed to cut out the need for a spotter when lifting weights and strength training, as the frame is built to do the spotting for you. With the attached barbell, you can load up your weights and train safely, knowing that the safety catches will hook into the frame should something go wrong, keeping you safe from an injury.

Whilst weight plates are needed, all the cabling is attached to weight posts to allow you to load up different areas of the machines to train different muscle groups. Unlike other home gyms, the Smith Machine also comes with a free bench, which you can load up and workout on or move to allow space to stand and workout within the smith frame.

Here, many Smiths have features like chest press arms, pull-up bars and footplates which run on cables so you can switch out the weight for each exercise for more workout variation. And at the end of your workout, don’t worry about the weight plates left lying around; you can load these onto the storage posts at the back to keep the area tidy and safe.

So a Smith Machine could be ideal for you if you’re a regular gym goer looking to save money and time.


man using a multi-gym

Multi-Gyms are compact strength machines designed to fit seamlessly into your home so you can workout anytime. Most come fully prepared with a weight stack and pulley system, which allows you to adjust the weight and the resistance depending on the muscle group you’re working on.

The attachments can vary depending on the machine. Many will come with lat bars and lower attachments for shoulder, chest and leg exercises. The main area of a Multi-Gym is where you can really personalise the machine. The attached bench can come with leg developers attached to the weight stack, arm curl pads, chest press arms and even pec developer arms to push your workout to the next level.

The features of a Multi-Gym can vary, so you can choose a machine that best suits your preferred exercises. But a Multi-Gym could be the perfect option if you’re looking for an all-in-one home gym with weights to allow you to progress.

Functional Trainers

mand and a woman using a functional trainer

The easiest way to describe a Functional Trainer is that they are a blend of a Smith Machine and a Multi-gym. They come fully equipped with two individual weight stacks for independent training but with the same cable and barbell system as a Smith Machine.

The difference with a Functional Trainer is that they can facilitate two people working out simultaneously. In addition, having two weight stacks with individual cable systems means every workout area works independently from everything else.

Often equipped with a weight bench and leg developer, a barbell that facilitates free weights and tonnes of adjustable cable accessories to attach to the cables, the possibilities for workouts are endless. Most even come with a storage section for all of the attachment accessories, with an exercise chart, so you know exactly where to start.

Whilst Functional Trainers vary in price depending on what feature you’d like, in the long run, they’re still a lot cheaper than paying monthly for a gym membership. So, if you’re looking for something affordable that the whole family can use, Functional Trainers could be for you.

Which Home Gym Should I Choose?

The main differences between these three home gyms are the facilities for different types of exercises. It all depends on what kind of strength training you want to do and how much freedom you want to explore more workouts and progress. Budget, space and requirements all play into which machine you should buy, but if you’re looking for a compact all-rounder for a beginner, a Multi-Gym is perfect. Smith Machines are great for anyone wanting to build muscle and strength, particularly if you like working out alone. And Functional Trainers fall in the middle of the two. If you can’t decide between a multi-gym or smith machine, then a Functional Trainer is likely the one for you.

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.