Weight benches: is a flat or adjustable bench better for home strength workouts?

Flat weight bench versus adjustable weight bench: a true clash of the home gym titans

Flat vs adjustable weight bench
(Image credit: Mirafit / JX Fitness)

Flat weight bench vs adjustable weight bench: of you're into lifting, it could be the most important decision you make about your home gym.

Assembling the best home gym equipment is a complicated and highly controversial topic. First of all, you need to decide whether to get a flat vs adjustable weight bench and the more people you'll ask for advice, the more confused you'll be, we guarantee that. Some people will say the best weight benches in gyms have all got weight racks while others will praise the indestructibility of flat benches. Which weight bench is best for home gyms? As always, it depends on what you want to use it for.

It is worth noting that flat and adjustable weight benches come in many shapes and sizes and you can get decent quality versions of both. Simpler adjustable benches, such as the Mirafit M1 Folding Weight Bench, can be bought for under a £100/$100 but admittedly, cheaper weight benches don't radiate a sense of durability. 

Conversely, there are expensive and sturdy flat benches on the market that cost a fortune and will probably last a lifetime. In all honesty, there are more important questions than the whole flat vs adjustable weight bench debate, like whether should you get a weight bench with or without a weight rack, but for the sake of the argument, we'll discuss the former weight bench feature in this article.

One arm dumbbell row

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flat vs adjustable weight bench: versatility

You might think that flat weight benches can only be used for one or two different exercises: you couldn't be further from the truth. Apart from the obvious bench press, you can also perform pecs flyes, dumbbell pullovers, iso-dumbbell holds, just to mention a few exercises. And that's just the pecs! Dumbbell/barbell skull crushers will build monster triceps; Bulgarian split squats and glute bridges will tone the legs and the glutes.

You can perform all the same exercises using an adjustable weight benches plus incline versions of some of the exercise, such as incline bench press, incline pecs flyes etc. Adjustable benches are also great for working the shoulders and the back: strict presses are best done with on a bench with an upright seat while reverse flyes and barbell rows can do wonders to your upper back.

Bench press

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Flat vs adjustable weight bench: durability

The longevity of weight benches depends less on their foldability and more on their overall quality. That said, less moving parts usually means less wear over time so in this respect, flat weight benches do enjoy a slight advantage. This advantage soon disappears when you start looking at weight benches that aren't in the cheapest category.

For example, despite being a foldable bench, we are pretty sure the ProForm Carbon Olympic Strength System will last longer than your will to workout. If you are happy to shell out a little bit more than the bare minimum for a weight bench – something we wholeheartedly recommend, for a variety of reasons – you should be worried about durability too much.

how to do bench press

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flat vs adjustable weight bench: price, availability and where to buy one

Simple flat benches can be bought for as little as $50/£50 but these probably won't last too long, not to mention the safety concerns. Working out on a weight bench usually requires people to hold heavy weights over their head or body, you really don't want to risk cheaping out on the bench and putting the integrity of your skill in danger.

Prices of decent quality branded weight benches start from around $150/£150: these will be sturdy enough for most home workout fans and will provide a good return on investment in terms the amount of use you get out of the bench. However, we recommend going a little bit expensive and get a model for $200-300/£200-300: weight benches in this category represent the best value for money and will most likely last for long enough than just a couple of years.

The best weight bench brands/retailers in the UK are: Mirafit, sweatband.com, Decathlon, Argos and Amazon.

In the US, have a look around at Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon US.

Matt is a fitness fanatic (a.k.a. fitness and nutrition writer) who's been rambling on about all things health and fitness for over two years now here at T3. His achievements include a short-lived fitness podcast called Fit Mentality Podcast and being a judge on the Fit&Well Awards 2021. In his free time, he works out at home, runs, cycles and loves a good ol' walk around the city. He writes about general fitness stuff, fitness tech, workouts, workout gear/equipment, nutrition and much, much more.