Flat weight bench versus adjustable weight bench: Which is best for home workouts?

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

Flat weight bench versus adjustable weight bench: pictured here, a flat bench on the left and an adjustable bench on the right
(Image credit: Mirafit / JX Fitness)

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

How to put together the perfect home gym is a complicated and highly controversial topic. First of all, you have to make a decision on what equipment should you get first? Do you need a weight bench? If so, should it be a flat or an adjustable bench? Which is the best weight bench for home use? It's exhausting.

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 £100/$100 but admittedly, these might not stand the test of time, especially if you usually man-handle your home gym equipment

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 things to consider before buying a new weight bench, 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.

athletic person performing one arm dumbbell rows in a gym

(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 bench plus incline versions of some of the exercises, 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 on a bench with an upright seat while reverse flyes and barbell rows can do wonders to your upper back.

Bench press

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flat vs adjustable weight bench: durability

The longevity of weight benches depends less on their foldability and more on their overall quality. That said, fewer 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.

Muscular person bench pressing in a gym using a barbell

(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 going cheap 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 of the amount of use you get out of the bench. However, we recommend going a little bit expensive and getting 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 UK.

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

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym reviews.