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Outfitting your home gym with all the equipment you need (or want) to get a full-body workout can be both costly and space prohibitive. Most fitness enthusiasts are limited in what they can do at home because of either space or the cost of multiple workout machines. This is where a functional trainer comes in as one of the most versatile pieces of home gym equipment. A functional trainer allows for a full-body workout and features a cable pulley system.
Best Functional Trainers of 2023 - Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Functional Trainer: REP FT-3000 Compact Functional Trainer
- Best Compact Functional Trainer: NordicTrack Fusion CST
- Best Functional Trainer with Accessories: Tonal
- Most Versatile Functional Trainer: Force USA G6 All-in-One Trainer
- Best Functional Trainer for Home: Titan Fitness Functional Trainer
- Best Budget Functional Trainer: Body-Solid BFFT10R Functional Trainer
Finding the best functional trainer to match your specific fitness needs and budgetary constraints is a tall task. There is a lot to consider, like price, features, components, and size. This is where we step in. We’ve done all the research for you and compiled a list of the very best functional trainers of 2023. Yes, some of these are an investment, but if you find the right one, it just may be the last piece of home gym equipment you will have to buy. Check out these options to find the best functional trainer for your home gym.
On the surface, a functional trainer does not seem that space-saving as most carry a decent footprint, but a good functional trainer allows users to complete many different exercises without having to switch out equipment, eliminating the need for multiple machines. It should be durable with enough variety to act as a complete stand-alone home gym. While there are smaller all-in-one home-gym innovations such as the Bowflex Blaze, functional trainers allow for more dynamic as well as traditional strength training.
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Best Overall Functional Trainer - REP FT-3000 Compact Functional Trainer
- Footprint: 78"H x 53"W x 34"D
- Weight: 770 lbs. total; 410-lb. machine, 360-lb. weight stacks
- Resistance ratio: 2:1
- Pulley cable travel: 81"
- Height adjustments: 15 holes
- Color: Black metallic powder coat finish
- Pull-up attachment: Yes, multiple grips
- Weight stacks: 2 x 180-lb. stacks
- Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty; residential and commercial use is 1-year hardware, pop pins, pulleys
The FT-3000 Compact Functional Trainer from REP Fitness is a commercial-grade, all-in-one home functional trainer designed to fit in smaller spaces. The compact size of this machine is perhaps the most attractive aspect to home gym owners. When fully assembled, this trainer takes up 78 by 53 by 34 inches, which is really compact for a functional trainer. The smaller footprint of FT-3000 certainly does not mean they cut corners where it matters most, though.
The FT-3000 provides impressive features sure to provide you with the resistance and strength you need to maximize your training. It comes with two 180-pound weight stacks, each of which is connected to an adjustable pulley. As is the case with most functional trainers, this pulley system moves with a 2:1 ratio, meaning it takes 50 pounds of effort to move 100 pounds. This translates to 90 pounds of resistance per weight stack on the FT-3000 which is more than enough for most people.
A smooth cable system with fiberglass reinforces the adjustable pulley to prevent any annoying jerky movements sometimes associated with these trainers. Each pulley has 15 height options that adjust on wheels for a simple, one-handed adjustment. This enables quick transitions between movements, encouraging versatility in your training.
While REP does not provide specs on the gauge steel used, reviewers say this frame is built like a tank and will feel secure when working out. The weight selector pins are magnetized and laser-etched cable column markings make it easy to line up handles from side to side.
Two layers of powder coating with a black metallic finish prevent dings and chipping on this sharp-looking machine. This functional trainer comes with an exercise placard with 12 suggested movements, a multi-grip pull-up bar, and a pair of urethane strap handles. And that is it. The lack of attachments is quite disappointing given the price point.
That said, the great thing about functional trainers is that they are all compatible with any handle or accessory that uses a carabiner. And storing the accessories you do collect over time is convenient with the built-in storage pegs on the FT-3000.
Despite its compact size, the FT-3000 is heavy-duty, weighing 770 pounds when fully assembled. So, while the functional trainer does arrive partially assembled and putting it together is reportedly straightforward, I would elicit a second set of hands when setting this up.
What We Like
- Easy to assemble
- Sturdy frame
- 15 easily adjusted height options
- Built-in storage pegs
- Multiple-grip pull-up bar built in
What We Don't Like
- Attachments must be purchased separately
Best Compact Functional Trainer - NordicTrack Fusion CST
- Footprint: 73.5"H x 60.5"W x 41.5"D
- Weight: 375 lbs. in box
- Pulley cable travel: 95"
- Height adjustments: Not adjustable
- Color: Black, silver
- Pull-up attachment: N/A
- Weight stacks: 20 digital resistance training options
- Features: iFIT, Bluetooth connectivity, included iFIT Bluetooth chest strap, silent magnetic resistance, integrated ergonomic removable handles, 6 precision cable ends, 2 squat pulleys, 2 ankle strap accessories, 10" portable tablet included
- Warranty: 10-year frame warranty, 1-year parts and labor warranty
The NordicTrack Fusion CST is a step outside the box of what constitutes traditional functional trainers. The Fusion CST offers a two-in-one strength and cardio machine providing users with engaging cardio workouts which incorporate full-body strength training. Unlike most functional trainers that use weight stacks for resistance, the Fusion CST utilizes a silent magnetic resistance and is built around an inertia-enhanced flywheel with 20 levels of digital resistance.
This resistance system is similar to the one you would find on a spin bike. As the magnets move closer to or farther away from the flywheel, the resistance either increases or decreases. Most users find this resistance ideal for higher-rep, cardio, and toning workouts which are generally the kind of routines found in the iFIT library (more on that below). However, if you are looking to hit some heavy strength training, you will be disappointed with the Fusion CST.
Still, it can be used in traditional strength exercises such as flyes, lateral raises, and lat pull-downs to name a few. The Fusion CST features six precision cable ends, two squat pulleys, and two ankle straps included which allow users to perform most movements they would with a typical functional trainer. The six precision pulleys are separated into upper, mid, and lower sections. None of the pulleys are adjustable, which could be a deal breaker for some. That said, each cable extends up to 95 inches from the machine which enables enough height variety for diverse exercises.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of this functional trainer is its iFIT capability. A 10-inch tablet is included as well as a 30-day iFIT family membership which provides exclusive access to thousands of live and on-demand classes led by world-class trainers. In fact, coaches can adjust resistance in real-time allowing you to focus solely on the workout while in the hands of a professional. Trainer-led workouts include fat-shredding strength sessions, cross-training options, and full-body sculpting.
Users can also take advantage of the included Bluetooth heart rate chest strap for the most accurate heart rate training. This helps you to identify your target heart rate zones and get the most out of every sweat session. Keep track of all your workout stats via iFIT to analyze progress and make adjustments to your training regimen in order to hit all of your fitness goals.
What We Like
- Sturdy frame/freestanding base
- 6 precision cable ends, 2 squat pulleys, and 2 ankle straps included
- Long cable reach
- iFit compatible
- 10-inch tablet included
- iFIT Bluetooth chest strap included
- Interactive programming
- Combines strength and cardio in an innovative way
What We Don't Like
- Pulleys are not adjustable
- Magnetic resistance is not ideal for heavy strength lifting
Best Functional Trainer with Accessories - Tonal
- Footprint: 50.9"H x 21.5"W
- Weight: Not noted
- Resistance: 100 lbs. per arm
- Pulley grip length: N/A
- Color: Black
- Weight stacks: Digital weights up to 100 lbs. per side
- Space requirements: 7' wall space, 7' floor space, 7'10" ceiling
- Accessories: Additional $495 for smart accessory bundle - smart handles, smart bar, rope, bench, roller, workout mat
- Membership: 12-month minimum subscription required for $49 per month
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
The Tonal Smart Home Gym is an electronically based, all-in-one, vertically wall-mounted home gym that is powered by magnetic resistance. This smart machine is intended to save space while allowing users to perform a wide selection of training exercises all of which are guided by an artificial intelligence (AI) system. Rather than needing a slew of different workout pieces, the Tonal is designed to replace all the other equipment so you just need one machine for a full-body workout.
Aesthetically, the Tonal is incredibly sleek and features two adjustable arms with handles at the end. The arms sandwich a large flatscreen with touch capability. Tonal has 17 different sensors which assess your form, technique, and speed. What's more, an initial assessment is conducted right off the bat to get a baseline for your training.
Tonal comes with a required 12-month paid membership which provides access to thousands of effective workouts with personalized programming and automatic weight suggestions. In fact, Tonal automatically adjusts weights for you and tracks reps, sets, range of motion, time under tension, power, and volume to assess progress. It truly is an all-in-one gym and personal trainer brought to you in one, compact smart device.
Accessories for Tonal are unique to this system and allow you to engage weight wirelessly when paired with the smart accessories. The smart accessory bundle is recommended and includes a smart handle, smart bar, rope, bench, roller, and a workout mat. But that is at an additional cost, so keep that in mind when budgeting.
Tonal also has the ability to assess your recovery based on previous workouts. In fact, it uses a muscle readiness score to calculate and categorize muscle groups as either fatigued, recovering, or ready. This color-coded recovery analysis ensures you are recovering appropriately which prevents overuse and injury.
As cool as this machine is, it definitely is not for everyone. For one, it is expensive and requires both a membership and expert assembly. It does not have the same feel as free weights, a barbell, or a traditional functional trainer. And, with a maximum weight resistance of 200 pounds, it will not support the strength training needs of experienced lifters.
What We Like
- AI system to guide personalized workouts
- All-in-one system with digital weights (no more bulky weight storage)
- Space saving
- Great guided workouts
- Library of workouts features different kinds of workouts
What We Don't Like
- Requires a membership to use
- Must purchase specific accessories (not compatible with any others on the market)
- Does not have the feel of traditional weights
Most Versatile Functional Trainer - Force USA G6 All-in-One Trainer
- Exterior footprint: 72"W x 63"D x 91"H
- Interior footprint: 36"W x 37"D x 85"H
- Weight ratings: Unit - 992 lbs., Smith machine - 772 lbs., Chin-up - 772 lbs.
- Item shipping weight: 940 lbs.
- Minimum ceiling height: Recommended 100" to perform pull-ups
- Resistance ratio: 2:1
- Cables: 6.2mm Nylon coated mil-spec aircraft quality cable tested to 2,000 lbs.
- Weight stacks: 2 x 220 lbs.
- Features/attachments: Multi-grip chin-up bar, exercise chart, suspension training ring, J-hooks, safety spotter arms, landmine & handle, functional training bar, lat pull-down bar, small grip frame bar, close grip handle, sport handle, v-bar, metal stirrup handles, pull-down rope, abdominal belt, multi-grip dip handles, leg press + low row foot plate, pull-down knee holder, barbell storage, attachment storage, 2 x Olympic lock collars, 4 x band pegs, 6 x weight plate holders, 6 x Olympic spring clips, 2 x extension chains, 4 x spring snap clips
The Force USA G6 All-In-One Trainer is much more than just a functional trainer. This powerhouse of a home gym combines a power rack, functional trainer, Smith machine, dip station, chin-up station, core trainer, leg press, and low row into one compact machine. It is, by every measure, everything you need to transform your home space into a small fitness center.
This nine-in-one strength training system comes stocked with pin- and plate-loaded weights, dual weight stacks carrying 220 pounds each, a cable cross-over station, 17 included attachments, and even includes built-in storage for both Olympic and Standard barbells, weight plates, and cable attachments. The workout possibilities are endless, enabling users to tailor their training to meet their fitness needs.
Let's dive into a few of the most notable strength training machines that, when combined, make up this beautiful beast of a machine. Unlike most home gym units, the G6 comes equipped with a fully functioning power rack. This base includes j-hooks and safeties which ensure you can lift heavy in a safe manner.
It would have been nice to see some Westside hole spacing here, but this is Force USA's entry-level all-in-one gym so it is not terribly surprising. While the manufacturer does not share the gauge steel used for the power rack, it does have a weight rating of 992 pounds. With a weight rating that high you do not need to worry about the exact steel thickness.
The functional trainer and cable cross-over systems allow for over 75 different exercises and includes eight functional trainer attachments. The dual-weight stacks located at the back of the unit are out of the way and work off a two-to-one ratio. The cables are high-quality and rated to withstand 2,000 pounds of force. With two 220-pound stacks and adjustable height positions for the commercial-grade pulleys, this trainer is both impressive and versatile enough to support experienced lifters.
Rated up to an impressive 772 pounds, the Smith machine features commercial-grade guide rails, safe lock, and release mechanisms, and a safety catch for those days you are looking to max out. The fixed barbell supports Olympic weight plates and users agree that the glide motion of the Smith machine on the G6 is ultra-smooth. Overall, the Smith machine is a great attribute of the G6 making it easy to lift safely by yourself.
What is really neat about the Smith machine is that it converts to a vertical leg press. With the attachment, users can lie on the floor or on a bench. The vertical angle targets quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves making it a great option for those who don't love a traditional barbell squat off a squat rack.
The G6 is a phenomenal all-in-one training system for any home gym owner. Although it comes at a price point that is overwhelming for many, this piece's overall value is remarkable considering all that is included. Assembly of the G6 is a challenge, though, so if you have the means to invest in this bad boy, I recommend throwing a few extra bucks at it and getting the expert assembly.
What We Like
- Great warranty
- Incredible versatile
- 9-in-1 strength training machines
- Plethora of attachments included
- Impressive weight ratings
- Power rack is a great feature
What We Don't Like
- Difficult assembly
Best Functional Trainer for Home - Titan Fitness Functional Trainer
- Footprint: 82"H x 64"W x 44"D
- Weight: 672 lbs.
- Resistance ratio: 2:1
- Color: Powder coated black/red
- Weight stacks: 1 stack - 200 lbs., double stack - 400 lbs.
- Included attachments: Short bar, long bar, ankle strap, dual stirrup handles, rope handles, single and double D-handles
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
The Titan Fitness Functional Trainer is our choice as the best home functional trainer for many reasons. Featuring 200-pound fully enclosed dual-weight stacks, aluminum pulleys, one-handed height adjustments, and seven different attachments, this all-in-one training system is designed to take your fitness routine to the next level. In fact, Titan claims this machine allows for over 1,000 explosive, interactive, strength-training positions.
Built with high-grade steel, the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer is as durable as it is sleek, adding some nice aesthetics to your home gym. Designed with fiberglass reinforced pulleys, there is a smooth feel to the movements, absent of jerky movements or sticking points seen on other trainers. Users report that there is no drag even when maxing out on weights which is a testament to the excellent pulley system. The handles swivel both left and right enabling dynamic exercises using various planes of motion.
The Titan Fitness Functional Trainer operates on a two-to-one ratio, translating to a maximum of 100 pounds per weight stack, which is more than enough weight for most home gym owners. The aluminum magnetic weight stack pins feature 10-pound incremental changes in weight and the split-weight cabling equates to increased cable travel. Quick-release adjustable height handles that can be operated with one hand are ergonomically designed, and contribute to the overall impressive performance of this trainer.
Costing over $2,000, this machine is an investment that we believe is one worth making. In addition to free shipping, Titan includes seven attachments designed to maximize your workout options. These attachments are a short and long bar, ankle strap, dual stirrup handle, rope handles, and single and double D handles. And with six built-in hooks for accessories, you do not need to worry about storage.
Multiple-grip pull-up bars are welded into the sturdy frame. Weighing a whopping 672 pounds, the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer is very sturdy and will stay strong even through the most intense workouts. The formidable weight and overall design of this machine are, in part, what contributes to the difficult assembly. Titan recommends "two experienced assemblers" and to dedicate "multiple sessions," which in layman's terms translates to, "this is not going to be easy."
Where Titan falls short is in the disappointing warranty. Given its price and quality design, one would expect to see a longer warranty on the frame at the very least. A one-year warranty is not on par with competitive models and brands. One other area that is more of an annoyance than a real issue is that the columns on this trainer only have the odd numbers laser cut in. Operationally it does not make a huge difference but it is a strange design choice.
What We Like
- Smooth pulleys
- Free shipping
- Comes with several attachments
- Quick-adjust pull-pins for over 1,000 positions
- Rubber feet protect flooring
- Multiple pull-up grips
- 6 accessory hooks for storage
What We Don't Like
- Disappointing warranty
- Assembly is time consuming
- Only odd numbers are marked on handle adjustment
Best Budget Functional Trainer - Body-Solid BFFT10R Functional Trainer
- Footprint: 55"L x 61"H x 84"W
- Weight: 330 lbs.
- Resistance ratio: 2:1 when using one handle, 4:1 when using both handles
- Height adjustments: 19 holes
- Pulleys: 180-degree adjustable pulley
- Pull-up attachment: Yes, straight bar
- Weight stacks: Single 190 lb. stack
- Warranty: 3-year frame, 1-year parts
Being on a budget doesn't mean you can't get a solid and versatile functional trainer. The Best Fitness BFFT10 Functional Trainer is an affordable, compact functional trainer that is both cost and space efficient. Long story short, it is a great buy for the right person but definitely not a fit for everyone. Here is the lowdown.
The BFFT10 comes with a small frame and a single 190-pound weight stack. It is described as ideal for beginner and moderate fitness enthusiasts, but the reality is that it is better suited for beginners only. At just 190 pounds, the max resistance offered falls short of what most people would need to gain muscle.
But there is still plenty to love about this machine. With 19 adjustable height options and a no-cable change design, it is easy to transition between exercises. Each pulley comes with an adjustable nylon cable handle and, as with all functional trainers, any handle that uses a carabiner will be compatible with the BFFT10.
The BFFT10 may not be the machine on which you will gain massive strength, but it allows you to adapt and develop exercises that are designed to improve both sports-specific and everyday activities. The 180-degree rotating handle enables users to move around with more freedom which increases muscular balance and joint stability.
What We Like
- Great customer service
- 19 height adjustments increase versatility
- Easy to transition between exercises
- Pulley swivels 180 degrees
What We Don't Like
- Does not come with assembly instructions
- Will not be heavy enough for advanced lifters
- Constricted range of motion
- Quality control is lacking
What to Look for in a Functional Trainer
When shopping for a functional trainer, you want a machine that can do a lot with a little. Meaning, you want a piece of equipment that is versatile and has the ability to grow with your changing fitness needs. Key things to consider are price, space/footprint, functionality and ease of use, attachments, warranty, and overall quality.
Before you begin your search, you need to have a price range in mind and know what you intend to spend. Functional trainers come at a variety of price points, some featuring all the bells and whistles of a commercially used piece and others more compact and straightforward. It is easy to get caught up in all the extras, but if you don't have the money, it will only lead to disappointment. Identify your financial constraints before setting out to find a functional trainer.
Regardless of quality, durability, features, and even price, if you don't have the space for it, it's a moot point. Knowing the space you have to dedicate to this new machine is the first step in any search, because even the most compact functional trainers will take up a decent amount of floor space.
When it comes to functional trainers, there is a height consideration, as well, which is going to be a hard limit on which machines you can look at. Carefully measure out your ceiling height for clearance and take any flooring or pads you plan to put in under the trainer into account. From there, you will want a 16-inch clearance above the trainer if you plan on doing pull-ups.
The last thing you want is to invest in a machine that just doesn't fit. Always measure out your space—just trust me on this one.
Functional trainers are extremely versatile, with some offering more attachments and features than others. So, it is important to answer one simple question: what do you want to do with your functional trainer? Which exercises are you hoping a functional trainer will enable? Knowing how you plan to use this new piece of equipment is important to identify which attributes allow for the greatest functionality.
That said, the defining feature of a functional trainer is a pulley system that is height adjustable. The number of pulleys on a machine varies as some only offer one or two in the front while others have low pulley systems dedicated to movements such as seated rows. Either way, you want a pulley system that provides adjustability to allow for a greater variety of exercises.
The ease of use and simplicity in adjusting the pulley mechanisms are equally important. Part of the beauty of a functional trainer is the ability to easily transition between movements. You do not want to waste time struggling to put the pulley and attachment into position. Look for trainers that allow for seamless and smooth adjustments.
Weight stack variability is also important to those looking for progressive training. A weight stack should provide enough weight increments to grow with your evolving fitness needs. The maximum resistance a functional trainer can provide is important to consider so you do not run out of weight options.
There are numerous attachment options for home gym systems and which ones you need depends on your personal fitness goals. Attachment options include, but are not limited to, a Smith machine, landmine component, pull-up bar, and storage space. There are even a few functional trainers that double as a power rack for those who love barbell work. Identify the attachment pieces most important to your training needs when weeding out functional trainers for your home gym.
Functional trainers should be durable. Look for tough metals that can withstand wear and tear. Steel is usually the foundation for frames but the thickness of the steel used, referred to as gauge, can vary greatly. Not all manufacturers share that information on functional trainers, though. That said, the weight rating will provide you with insight into the general quality and durability of a machine.
Don't underestimate the power of a good warranty. More often than not, a good warranty suggests a well-made, high-quality product. Even the best products can be faulty or even damaged, so having a solid warranty is imperative.
FAQs for Functional Trainers
What is a functional trainer used for?
Functional trainers are designed to do a lot with a little. They are intended to offer countless exercise options in one compact machine to keep your workout routine dynamic, progressive, and fun. They can be used for some traditional strength training exercises but the cable pulley system recruits more muscle groups in a single workout as they move in multiple directions. As such, they are inherently constructed to encourage exercises in a natural manner that supports activities performed in everyday life.
What is the difference between a home gym and a functional trainer?
Functional trainers are more compact and budget-friendly than traditional home gym machines. They feature one or two weights stacks connected to adjustable pulleys which allow for a different motion of exercises. Most are compatible with a slew of accessories that make full-body training possible and highly efficient. It is the pulley system that most differentiates a functional trainer from a traditional home gym.
Is a functional trainer worth it?
Functional trainers are incredibly versatile and a fantastic addition to anyone looking for strength and resistance training in one compact machine. They encourage multiplanar exercises, working muscles in ways not achieved through traditional weight training. That said, if you prefer barbell workouts, a functional trainer isn't for you. They are, however, great for all age groups and allow users to safely work on their entire body. Their compact nature makes them ideal for small spaces.