A Guide To The Best Lat Pulldown Machines
Home lat pulldown machines allow you to do two very effective back exercises, starting with the obvious lat pulldowns and the other being cable back rows. These exercises mainly target the back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps) & rhomboids.
Among those exercises listed above, there are also plenty of other good exercises including bicep & tricep workouts this machine will allow you to do. As a home lat pulldown machine can work multiple muscle groups, it means you won’t need a separate seated row machine or even a cable machine.
If you don’t already have an exercise bench then you can buy a weight bench that comes with a lat tower, eliminating the need to buy a separate lat pulldown machine. The quality of the lat tower that comes with the weight bench won’t be as good as the ones in the above table but you’ll definitely save money and also be able to do bench press exercises.
How To Choose The Best Lat Pulldown Machine
Choosing the best lat pulldown machine will allow you to get the most out of your back and arm workouts. It’s important to know what features you require as choosing the wrong one will probably just cause frustration, as little things like having to switch the cable when you change from lat pulldowns to back rows can be annoying for some people.
Weight plate diameter – The diameter size of the weight plates that can be used. If you already have Olympic sized weight plates then you can simply use an Olympic sleeve adapter which will allow you to used Olympic sized plates.
Seated back row cable – As well as a lat pulldown machine, most of them can also be used as a low row cable machine, where you sit on the floor rather than on the seat. You can work different muscles in your back by using different attachments.
Cable change required – When switching from lat pulldowns to cable rows, some machines require the cable position to be changed and fed through the pulley at the bottom. This can be a bit of a hassle for many people as you have to go through this process every time you want to switch between lat pulldowns and cable rows.
Fortunately, most of the home lat pulldown machines require no cable switch so you can quickly switch from one exercise to another.
Attachments included – Standard attachments that are included although we recommend buying additional attachments to make the most out of the machine.
Seat height adjustable – Allows you to adjust the height of the seat according to your height and what’s comfortable for you.
Adjustable rollers – Rollers help hold legs in place so your legs and hips don’t move around when you’re doing a set. The rollers are meant to sit on top of your thighs and as everyone has different sized thighs, having adjustable rollers will ensure any user will be locked in place.
Maximum plate loading – Total weight of the weight plates the machine can support, the maximum weight would probably be sufficient for most people.
Dimensions – Check beforehand whether you have enough space for this machine as it can take up a lot of room. Also take into account the length of the lat pulldown bar as it’s quite wide it requires space too.
Warranty – If anything goes wrong with the machine the warranty would usually cover this if it’s a manufacturers fault.
Best Home Lat Pulldown Machine Reviews 2020
Valor Fitness CB-12
- Heavy duty construction, made from 2” x 2” 12-gauge steel.
- Includes lat bar, t-bar, harness strap and 2 spring clips.
- Seated back row function included.
- 4 adjustable seat positions allowing.
- 1” plate posts to support 1” plates and 2” Olympic plates.
- Maximum weight load of 250 pounds.
Possible deal breaker
- Can be quite difficult to assemble.
In comparison to the other lat machines shown in our table, the Valor Fitness CB-12 manages to offer versatile features as well as remain competitively priced. The 1” plate posts can support either 1” or 2” plates just by using the supplied spring clips to lock them in.
One feature in particular we noticed that gave this model the edge is the harness strap with handles. Used for sitting ab crunches, where you can add weight for more resistance. This unique feature can replace the need to buy a decline abs bench!
XMark XM-7618 Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown
- Very solid 11-gauge steel 2” x 3” frame.
- High and low pulley stations for great versatility.
- Extra strong aircraft quality cables.
- Adjustable foam roller to securely hold you in place.
- Olympic sleeve included to support 1” or 2” weight plates.
- Huge 400 lb maximum load capacity.
Possible deal breaker
- Taller users (over 6ft 1”) may struggle to get a full range of motion.
When you buy any XMark gym equipment you can expect top quality and this is no different! The XMark lat pulldown row machine can support up to a massive 400 lb weight load, which is way more than any other in our top 5.
The lat pulldown bar and low row bar are included and so are the Olympic adapter sleeves so you don’t have to worry about your Olympic plates wobbling around. It does come with quite a big price tag but is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Body Solid Pro Lat Machine
- Long lasting commercial rated quality.
- No cable change required between high and low pulley exercises.
- Includes lat and straight bar.
- 8” foam rollers lock you in place for pulldowns.
- 250 lb max loading capacity.
Possible deal breaker
- May not actually be able to support the 250 lb load stated.
Body Solid has got a reputation for producing high quality gym equipment, but this model may just a bit overpriced for what it is! If you took the price out of the equation, it would be great machine, but when you compare it to our number one best lat pulldown machine, it doesn’t seem to offer much more.
Body Solid Powerline PLM180X
- Great for lat pulldowns or seated rows.
- Comfortable 8” foam rollers to secure you in place.
- Lat bar and low row bar included.
- 1” weight posts but can support 2” weight plates too.
- Supports up to a 250 lb weight loading.
Possible deal breaker
- You need to switch the cable when switching between the high pulley and low pulley.
This is more of a basic level lat machine from Body Solid, although even an entry level Body Solid gym equipment can still perform at a high level. Very reasonably priced for a machine that allows you to do plenty of exercises.
One of the features that may cause a bit of frustration is the need to switch cables when switching from the high pulley used for lat pulldowns to the low pulley used for back rows. Unlike some other models which have separate cables for each of these, thus no switching required.
Body Solid SLM-300G
- Solid mainframe 2” x 4” high tensile strength steel.
- 210 lb built-in weight stack included.
- No change cable design allows smooth transition for upper and lower pulleys.
- Adjustable hold down pads for better stability.
- Commercial graded quality backed by a lifetime warranty.
Possible deal breaker
- An expensive upfront investment required.
One of the more expensive models but it does come with a 210 lb weight stack included, so no need to buy additional weight plates. Another great feature is the ability to perform seated rows but on the actual seat and not on the floor!
Useful Attachments & Lat Machine Exercises
Tricep rope – Used for tricep rope pulldowns which is one of the most effective ways to work your tricep muscles. It can also be used for triceps overhead extensions.
Tricep V-bar – Another method to work your triceps but perhaps not as effective as the rope as the rope has a wider range of motion. Although the V-bar targets the outer portion of the triceps, so using a combination of this and the tricep rope give your triceps more size.
Single D handle – This can be used for a number of exercises such as: Single arm bicep curls, single arm tricep pulldowns, cable woodchop, single arm lateral raise, single arm cable row, plus many more!
Double D handle – Probably one the best attachments to use for back rows, as it targets the middle back muscles, an area lat pulldowns won’t hit. When using it for back rows if you pull the handle closer to your chest rather than your core, it’ll work your traps more.
We hope that you have found our best lat pulldown machine guide helpful. To summarise, a standalone home lat pulldown machine can be quite expensive and does take up a bit of space. An alternative would be a weight bench with lat pulldown as this has a multi-purpose. Although this will take up more space, but at least it has much more functions.
Another option could be to buy a multifunctional home gym which the starting price is not much more than a lat machine. The difference is that the former will come with a built-in stack of weights and offer much more versatility. A great choice would be the Marcy 150-lb Home Gym which as the name suggests comes with a 150 lb stack!