Have you ever considered getting a lat pulldown machine for your home gym?
This strength training machine can function either on its own (the ones I'll be reviewing) or as an attachment to a power rack. They are constructed of a sturdy steel frame and and a long bar hanging from an upper cable or rod for working out the latissimus dorsi muscles (lats for short).
In the past, lat pulldown machines were mainly designed for commercial fitness settings, but now, there are many options for home use. That means if you want a high-quality lat pulldown machine at an affordable price, you can find it.
In this review, I've compared the best lat pulldown machines on the market in terms of performance, construction, and budget.
Table of Contents
- Lat Pulldown Machines Compared
- What to Look for When Buying a Lat Pulldown Machine
- 6 Best Lat Pulldown Machines Reviewed
- Can I Skip Lat Pulldown? (Why Your Lat Muscles Are Important)
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
Lat Pulldown Machines Compared
Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H)
Max Weight Stack
46.8 x 24.2 x 76 inches
60 x 40 x 96 inches
56.7 x 48 x 82.7 inches
74 x 12 x 6 inches
60 x 32 x 82 inches
48 x 25 x 80 inches
What to Look for When Buying a Lat Pulldown Machine
If you're in the market for a lat pulldown machine, here are a few features to look for before deciding on one:
Total Weight Support (Load)
You’d be surprised that not every lat pulldown machine can support an extreme amount of weight. The cheaper machines are often the ones with a lower weight support, partly because they tend to have a less-sturdy frame, and partly because they are designed for new trainees.
If you've used a lat pulldown at your local gym, you should have a pretty good idea of the weight support needed. These machines typically range from 250 to 400 pounds in total load, so if you know that you'll be needing a challenge, try to go with the higher weight support.
Some of these machines have weight stacks (or bricks) while others have plates. The ones that have plates support either standard plates or Olympic plates, but honestly, you’d rarely find affordable lat pulldown machine that supports Olympic plates.
If you already have additional weight plates in your home-gym, it makes sense to choose a lat machine that's compatible with your weights.
The best lat pulldown machines usually come with an adjustable seat and thigh support. Also check that it's easy to adjust the weights so that you can quickly change the load between sets if needed.
You’ll definitely want durable yet comfortable pads with foam cushions on the seat, thigh supports, and handle bar - not something that will tear down in a few days or weeks. The same goes for the frame; it should be constructed of a high-quality steel (the lower the gauge, the better) so that it doesn't shake or wobble as you work out.
The upper rod (cable) should be thick and heavy-duty to prevent damage to the machine, or worse, injury to the user.
Some of these machines come with a bottom pulley that can be used for various exercises. An add-on like this is usually not included in the cheapest models, but armed with the knowledge that I have now, I’d definitely aim for a lat pull down machine with a bottom pulley. The price difference is usually not that significant, and it's completely worth it.
Warranty is something to look for as well. If you get a damaged item, or if it lasts only a few weeks or months, it’s only natural that you want your money back. Some of these machines come with a 10-year warranty, and some just include 1 year of coverage, so look into this before buying.
6 Best Lat Pulldown Machines Reviewed
1. Vanswe LAT Pulldown Machine
- 💪Versatile: High and low pulley stations...
- 💪Super Solid: 2 inch x 2 inch main steel...
- 💪Smooth Lat Pull Movement: High quality...
- 💪Suits Two Size Plates: With our extra...
The first lat pulldown machine on our list is manufactured by Vanswe.
This machine’s frame is made of 2” x 2” main steel tubes, which makes it strong and sturdy. It uses plates (not included) instead of weight stacks and thanks to the included 2” adapter, it's possible to use both standard and Olympic plates. Most home lat pulldowns don't give you the option to use Olympic weights, so this is a major plus.
The machine offers a smooth lat pull movement thanks to high quality ball-bearing pulleys and nylon bushings. The bar is pretty standard and the length from tip to tip is 39 inches, which is also the norm.
The seat pad is high density and can be adjusted with an easy to use knob system. It also comes with bottom (low row) pulley, which is awesome for targeting even more muscle groups. The low row pulley could have better spread in my opinion, but considering it comes with this feature at all, I'd say that small flaw can be overlooked.
One thing to note is that the weight support is only 250 pounds, whereas many other machines can carry a load of up to 400 pounds. Keep that in mind if you're a serious weight-lifter.
2. Rogue Monster Lat Pulldown
Just for the comparison’s sake, I’ve also included a full-commercial lat pulldown machine made by Rogue Fitness.
The machine is made in the USA with the exception of weight stacks and pulleys, which are imported. The entire frame is made of 3×3” 11-gauge steel that provides maximum stability and support.
The Rogue Monster lat comes with a 300-pound included weight stack, so you don’t need to purchase additional weight plates. Other included tools are a stainless steel bar, 6” nylon pulleys, a diamond-tread adjustable footplate, and 2 black carabiners.
The seat pad is adjustable in height, with the max setting of 26.5” above the floor and the bottom part of the rollers are located 4” – 9” above the seat pad, depending on the settings. I like that this gives you so much control over seat adjustment - this machine basically accommodates any height.
The empty weight with the included weight stack is 605 pounds, so don't plan on moving this thing once it's in place. Other than that, the main flaw is the price; this is a commercial-grade lat pulldown machine, and the price tag reflects that.
3. XMark Fitness Lat Pulldown Machine
- VERSATILITY: Features both high and low...
- STRENGTH: With nylon-coated aircraft quality...
- STABILITY: 11-gauge steel 2 inch by 3 inch...
- COMFORT: Extra thick 3 inch sweat and...
Our list of the best lat pulldown machines continues with the lat pull down machine made by Xmark Fitness. The entire frame is made of 11-gauge 2″ x 3″ steel with scratch-resistant powder finish. The machine comes with high and low pulleys, so it allows for a range of different workouts.
In terms of positive features, the machine is designed for standard and Olympic weight plates, thanks to the included plate adapters. The cables are nylon coated for extra security and durability, and the seat is padded with 3” dura craft cushions.
This lat pulldown machine has a high maximum weight support of 400 pounds, so even experienced lifters and bodybuilders can use it with ease. It's a bit on the pricey side for a home gym, but not nearly as pricey as the Rogue Monster.
My only other complaint has to do with the placement of the low pulley. It's positioned super low, so if you're tall, you might struggle to use this add-on.
4. Akonza Lat Machine
- VERSATILE USE - Wouldn't it be amazing if you...
- SMOOTH OPERATION - Our lat pull down the home...
- ADJUSTABLE - Akonza'slat machine can be...
- COMFORTABLE - The high-tensile strings can...
The lat pulldown machine by Akonza deserves a spot on our list.
The Akonza lat machine’s frame is made of heavy gauge steel with electro-statically applied powder coat finish. It is designed for weight plates and unfortunately does not come with Olympic plates adapter. However, it does come with a lat bar and low row bar as well. The lat bar’s length is 41 inches and the length of the low bar is 18 inches - all fairly standard.
The padded seat is adjustable in height and the foam rollers make sure your thighs stay in one place during pulldowns. Similar to the last one, this one has an impressive maximum weight support of 395 lbs, especially considering it's designed specifically for home use.
To be honest, assembling this machine isn't the easiest, and this is mainly because the manual is unclear. The instructions could use some work, so I'm hoping that Akonza gets that memo and improves the owner's manual.
5. Body-Solid Pro GLM83
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Thick, comfortable...
- DESIGN: Seated row foot brace and diamond...
- FEATURES: Comfortable, multi-position 8 in....
- VERSATILE: Pop pin adjustments, foam rollers,...
Body-Solid, a well-known fitness brand, is the manufacturer of the 5th lat pulldown machine on our list. The steel frame of this machine - the Pro GLM83 - is supported by a thick and comfortable durafirm seat pad. Thanks to the patented nylon bushings, the weight pulls are both smooth and sturdy, but the cable could use some improvement; it doesn't seem as sturdy as others on this list.
A user's thighs are secured by the machine's 8-inch foam roller. The lat pull bar is 48 inches long, which is longer than most, and the low seated bar is 20 inches long. Diamond plate stabilizers and the seated row foot brace adds extra comfort, security and stability.
The machine itself is only 52 pounds, and the dimensions are compact enough even for a small home gym (32 x 82 x 60 inches). You won't get Olympic adapters included with this one, so make sure to buy compatible standard weight plates.
6. Powerline Body-Solid Lat Machine PLM180X
- VERSATILE: Use this fitness equipment to...
- SOLID: Built to last with heavy gauge steel...
- SAFETY: This exercise system features dual...
- RESISTANCE: Build resistance during your...
Last but not least on our list of the best lat pulldown machines is another machine manufactured by Body-Solid.
Body-Solid's Powerline PLM180X is made of heavy-gauge steel construction, and similar to the Akonza lat pulldown, this one also has electro-statically applied powder-coat finish. It is well designed as long as you're OK using standard plates. The lat bar is pretty standard, but I do like that it's angled a bit with rubber ends for a more comfortable grip.
The seat is well padded, but not adjustable, and sadly this machine does not have a bottom row pulley. The assembled dimensions are 48 by 25 by 80 inches (L x W x H), the weight is 69 pounds and the total weight support is 250 pounds.
All in all, the PLM180X is a basic lat pulldown machine, but the price is right. So although it's missing some add-ons and helpful features, it's still a great choice if you're trying to stick to a budget.
Can I Skip Lat Pulldown? (Why Your Lat Muscles Are Important)
The back is one of the most neglected areas of the body when it comes to strength training. So many weight lifters are focused on the biceps, triceps, quads, and glutes - but what about the lats?
Your lat muscles are located on both sides of the back, so they play a role in a lot of our daily activities. Even an action as simple as opening the car door requires use of the lats, so if you're not already, it's time to give them their rightful place in your fitness routine.
Another big reason to start building these muscles is that they are directly linked to your ribs, spine, upper arms, and scapula. As a result, they contribute to a wide range of movements, like arm rotations, and they even play a role in how we breathe.
To top it off, they add support while you're doing other exercises, like deadlifts and bench presses.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Is lat pulldown the same as pull up?
Although lat pulldowns and pull ups target similar muscles, there are some differences between these two exercises. With a lat pulldown machine, you're able to replicate the pull up motion while eliminating the extreme challenge of pulling up your entire body weight.
However, you'll still see the same benefits from using a lat pulldown. Plus, it gives you the ability to do some additional exercises (especially if your lat pulldown machine has a low pulley system).
What muscles does the lat pulldown machine work?
The main focus of a lat pulldown machine is to strengthen the latissimus dorsi muscle, which is the broadest muscle of the back that stretches across the ribs.
Then there are also the "helper muscles", like the biceps and forearms. These aren't the main focus, but they get a solid workout with lat pulldowns.
What are some common technical problems when doing lat pulldowns?
If you want to see the best results and avoid injury, it's really important that you use your lat pulldown machine properly. Many people perform their pulldowns incorrectly, like pulling the bar behind the neck or gripping the bar with the hands too wide or too close together.
To start, hold the overhead bar with an overhand grip that's just wider than your shoulders. While seated with your thighs under the supports, start to pull the bar down. As you do this, make sure to keep your core engaged and pull the bar towards your chest (not your neck).
The key is to focus on drawing your shoulder blades together and down. After pulling the bar down past your chin and towards your collarbones, slowly release upwards. That's it!
There you have it - the complete list breaking down the best lat pulldown machines available today. A lat pulldown machine can be an affordable addition to your home gym, and it's great for strengthening the hard-to-target muscles of the back.
If you're still not sure which lat pulldown machine is for you, I suggest reviewing the buying guide (what to look for), setting your budget, and weighing the pros and cons of each of the machines listed above.