7 Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machines (For Home Gyms)

The latissimus dorsi muscles, commonly known as the lats, protect and stabilize your spine. They are also responsible for your overall back and shoulder strength as well as posture. It is important for anyone working out to focus on the lats at least once a week. 

One of the most common exercises is the lat pulldown. This is a technique that uses weights or resistance when pulling down on a bar from overhead. In most cases, you are seated to put more focus on the lats and less on the lower back. 

Plated lat pulldowns have a huge advantage for developing and maintaining the lat muscles. Is a plated lat pulldown machine right for you, though?

Differences Between Plate Loaded & Selectorized Strength Equipment 

The two types of machines for lat pulldowns are plate loaded and selectorized. Selectorized systems use weight stacks that are connected by rods and lifted with pulleys. The main draw here is that switching to a higher or lower weight only takes a couple of seconds, and you don't have to get up from your set. 

Plate loaded machines, however, have a higher weight limit. If you find the max weight of the selectorized machine too easy to lift, you can no longer use that machine for growth. A plate loaded machine, though, can continuously have new plates added to increase the weight as needed. 

If you are lifting heavy, a plate loaded machine is ideal. Your high-end limit is much further away and controlling the exact weight to lift is much easier.

Learn More - Plate-Loaded Vs Selectorized Machines


Buying Guide For Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machines

Weight Type Compatibility 

Almost all plate loaded machines will be compatible with any type of plate. However, it is important to check first. If your chosen machine isn’t compatible with your Olympic weights, for example, it may not be a wise purchase. 

Also, some brands make their own plates that will only work on their machines, causing you to spend more to replenish your weight stacks. Make sure you can use your equipment on all of your machines for the best overall value. 

Dimensions 

If you are here, you are most likely either building a home gym or expanding an existing one. Space is at a premium, and you need to know the dimensions of the equipment you are about to buy. 

This will include the fully assembled measurements, of course. But don’t forget to account for space to add and remove weights on the sides. You also need access to the back for cleaning, maintenance and adjustments, and even overhead clearance while working out. 

Adjustability Options 

People come in all different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the machines we buy to work out with generally don't. However, adjustments should be easy to make to allow for a proper fit and comfortable workout. 

You should look for an adjustable bench or seat so that you get the proper distance from the machine and off the floor. You want to adjust the height as well, and depending on your size, you may need to be able to adjust the height of the pulley. 

Load Capacity 

Most load capacities will tell you the user weight limit or the plate weight limit. However, it is important to note both. Some machines will also tell you a combined weight total of plates and user, which is helpful if you can find it. Otherwise, you will need to do the math yourself and make sure the machine is capable of handling your proper weight requirements.

Related Article - How Much Weight For Lat Pulldowns?

Available Pulley Options 

The pulleys are one of the most important yet overlooked parts. You want your pulleys to be strong and reliable. Stainless steel is great, but if the bearings are high friction, it can cause problems. 

Aluminum is also a high-quality pulley material, but again, you need to pair it with the right bearings. Before you buy, know what the pulleys are made of and which bearings are being used. 

Available Exercises 

Aside from lat pulldowns, there should be plenty of other lat exercise options. You don’t want to pay for a machine that only serves one purpose. This is a waste of money and your time. Curls, triceps workouts, butterflies, other pulldowns, and even pulleys that can be moved will offer you a piece of equipment that is more versatile and can be easily incorporated into your home gym. 

Quality & Durability 

Along with the pulleys, you also want to know what the machine itself is built from. High-quality steel is important, especially for heavy lifters. You also want to know if the steel is stainless, reinforced, or powder coated. 

You should also inquire about the cables and weight mounts. Are they high-quality steel, as well? Do the mounts support the needed weight? Once you can answer these questions, you will know if that machine is suitable for you. 

Ease of Assembly 

With the exception of a full Smith cage, your home gym equipment shouldn't be a workout just to put it together. Everything should be fairly simple with minimal tools. It should mount properly to your existing equipment or wall as a stand-alone. And once mounted, it should be stable. 

Warranty & Price 

Finally, the price and warranty are going to be major factors. Home gym equipment is something you shouldn’t skimp on in terms of quality and performance. These come with a higher price, though. 

Balancing your budget and the need for high-quality equipment can be tricky. Our reviews below will help you decide which is the best fit for your needs and budget. But don’t forget to look at the warranty. 

Warranty coverage is also important should something go wrong during assembly or use. Good customer service and expedited claims are critical for your time, effort, and investment. 


7 Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machines Reviewed

1. XMark Lat Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine

Our Top Pick!

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

56.7 x 48 x 82.7 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

400 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

11 gauge, 2x3-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

14 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

42 inches 

Our top pick comes from Xmark. The Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown machine is built to last and comes with multiple pulleys for additional exercises. Not only do you get the top pulley for lat pulldowns, triceps, rows, and other over-the-head workouts, but also a low pulley. 

The low pulley can be used for leg kicks, bicep curls, low rows, and much more. Combined, you get a lat pulldown machine that is not only capable but sturdy as well. Made from high-grade steel, this small-footprint frame packs a punch. When working with the upper pulley, you should put the footrest down and stand on it to help stability. 

When working with the lower pulley, the footrest goes up to give you a solid foundation to push against. The 11-gauge steel can support a great amount of weight, and the loading sleeves will accommodate standard and Olympic weight plates. 

The seat isn’t the best in the world, though it is thick and tear-proof. It is a bit on the smaller side, so it may be uncomfortable for some users. However, it is important to note that this is not a common issue, but it is worth pointing out. 

You will find that the adjustable seat and thigh pads are strong, thick, and durable, giving you years of constant use without the worry of breaking down. Adding to the comfort are the chrome-plated handlebars, each with textured rubber hand grips to prevent slipping and hand fatigue while you work out. 

Read our full X-Mark Lat Pulldown review here!

Pros

  • Limited lifetime warranty 
  • Fully adjustable seat and thigh pads 
  • Dual cable for high and low workouts 
  • Easy assembly 
  • Upgraded accessories available 

Cons

  • Seat may be too small for some users 
  • Seat is not as padded as other models

2. Vanswe LAT Pulldown Low Row Cable Pull Down Machine

Budget Model

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

46.8 x 24.2 x 76 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

250 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

10-gauge, 2-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

Not Specified

Lat Handle Length 

40 inches 

If you have a smaller budget or need to save money for more plates, then the best budget lat pulldown machine is for you. Made by Vanswe, this multi-use pulldown machine uses only three pulleys and one cable, so there isn’t much confusion or worrying about where cables need to be routed. 

When using as a lat pull down, triceps dips, reverse shrugs, or other over-head style moves, you only need to use the standard cable and the correct handle. If you need to do leg kicks, rows or bicep curls, you simply attach the lower cable to the carabiner and pull from the third bottom pulley. 

The 2-inch steel frame is sturdy and reliable, with wide feet capped with solid rubber end caps. It is vital to use the flip-up footplate when standing, though, as higher weight limits can make the frame bounce a bit. 

The machine comes ready for standard weight plates but also ships with sleeve extensions to accommodate Olympic plates, too. No matter what you work out with, the Vanswe lat pulldown will be a good fit. 

Learn More - X-Mark Lat Pulldown Full Review

Pros

  • 10-year warranty 
  • Wide, thick padded seat 
  • Fits all standard and Olympic plates 
  • 4-position adjustable thigh pads 
  • Comfort grip lat bar and low row bar included 

Cons

  • Some users report issues with weak cables 
  • Assembly can be challenging 

3. Elikliv Fitness Lat and Lift

Best Pulley Only System

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

17.5 x 6.7 x 78 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

220 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

Stainless, 2-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

14.96 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

15.6 inches 

If you already have a home gym and just need a pulley system for doing pulldowns or other target-specific exercises, the best pulley only system may be for you. That system is the Fitness Lat and Lift pulley system gym by Elikliv. 

The gym setup uses three pulleys to give you the ability to lift, pull or push plates from various heights and angles to work on lats, forearms, shoulders, and more. Depending on which pulley you use (high or low), you can lift up to 220 pounds of free weights with controlled and sturdy lifting. 

The wall mount design means it takes up no space, and you can use it virtually anywhere. Of course, you must install the pulleys on a wall stud, though a reinforced stud is preferred. Because there isn't a frame, the entire setup is fully customizable. 

It is recommended to install at the height of about 78 inches, but taller users can go higher and shorter uses can go lower, if needed. 

This system also utilizes three handles, including the short lat bar, dual cable handles, and triceps ropes. Installation does take a lot of measuring but is simple enough to complete in a few minutes once you have your holes marked. 

Another plus side is that this kit includes everything you need for installation, including electric-powered hammer drill bits. However, it has been noted that the expansion bolts that come with the kit are not very strong and it is highly recommended you purchase stronger lag bolts for installation. 

Pros

  • Space-saving design 
  • Includes three handle types 
  • Easy assembly and installation 
  • Upgraded version includes plate stack pole 

Cons

  • Included hardware may not be the strongest 
  • Must purchase additional pulleys for rows or seated exercises 

4. Body Solid Powerline PLM180X

Best For Beginners

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

48 x 25 x 80 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

250 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

11 gauge 1-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

10 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

42 inches 

The Powerline PLM180X is a lat pulldown machine built by one of the best known brands in the business. Body-Solid is known for their durable, reliable, and long-lasting home gym equipment. The Powerline lat pulldown machine is no different. 

Similar to the Vanswe model on this list, the Powerline is a three pulley system that requires the use of a cable extension for the lower pulley. With that extension, though, you can perform pulls, curls, and rows from a seated position. 

Speaking of seats, the small, adjustable seat is the right size for most users when performing the lat pulldowns, and the thigh pads adjust to give you the support and comfort you need. 

The seat must be removed to utilize the lower pulley, though, an extra step most other models of this type don’t have. What you do get, though, is the Body-Line warranty (25 years) and patented nylon bushings for smooth pulley operation. 

Assembly and set up is as easy as it gets, and you can be pulling and pushing standard or Olympic plates in just a couple of hours. As part of the massive Powerline series, you can customize your entire home gym or pick and choose only the pieces you want or need. 

Related Article - Body-Solid Lat Pulldown Machines Reviewed

Pros

  • 25-year warranty 
  • Easy assembly 
  • Made by a known and trusted brand 
  • Part of a home gym set up or stand-alone 
  • High-quality, patented parts 

Cons

  • Separate purchases needed for Olympic weight use 
  • Lower pulley use is more difficult 
  • No footplate 

5. Titan Plate Loadable Lat Tower V2

Best Value For Money

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

57 x 47 x 85 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

400 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

Stainless, 1-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

13 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

37.5 inches 

If you are looking for the best value for the money, you just found it. The Lat Tower V2 from Titan Fitness is the ideal stand alone lat pulldown system for home use. It features a deep, powder-coated steel frame with smooth pulleys and adjustable, padded seat and thigh pads. 

Everything you want, everything you need, and it comes in a single package. However, assembly is a little more complicated than other models as it has a few extra pieces, and the pulley setup can be confusing. 

However, once fully assembled, you won't have to worry about anything for several years, if ever. You also have the option to permanently mount the machine in your home gym using the four bolt holes located in each foot. 

Another great feature is the handle holds. Both above and below, you will find mounting hooks to rest the handles on so they stay out of the way. You don't need to swap pulleys, run extra cables, or anything, ever. The unused cable or handle stays out of the way and ready for use at any time. 

With a full load capacity of 400 pounds, you can get the workout you need, too. Works with both standard and Olympic weight plates; you can use what you already have or order the ones you prefer without fear. 

Pros

  • High user and load capacity weight limits 
  • Optional permanent install available 
  • High-quality steel construction 
  • Free shipping 

Cons

  • 1-year warranty 
  • Assembly is a bit confusing 

6. Champion Barbell Plate-Loaded 

Top Of The Range

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

65 x 30 x 86 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

185 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

11 gauge, 2-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

10 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

48 inches 

For those that want the best, the top-of-the-range models are all that will suffice. The Champion lat pulldown machine from BSN Sports is one such model. With a compact design, easy assembly and high weight limit, this machine is one of the best. 

The multi-pulley system enables you to go from high to low without running extra cables or stopping your workout. You can maintain heart rate and motivation regardless if you are working your shoulders, back, or switch to seated rows. 

The included handles also feature comfort grip handles to keep sweaty hands from slipping. With fully adjustable, 4-point thigh pads, you will have the support and comfort you need to push out that extra rep or two. 

The one downfall is that the footrest for the seated rows doesn’t lay flat. Some users report forgetting about it while doing lat pulldowns and clipping their calves when they stand up. As long as you are mindful of the footrest when switching position, though, you will be fine. 

Pros

  • Extremely sturdy build 
  • You don't have to move cables or pulleys 
  • Handles hundreds of pounds of free weights 
  • Smooth glide and easy pull at all times 

Cons

  • Seat is non-adjustable 
  • Footrest doesn’t collapse 

7. Fitness Reality X-Class

Best All In One Machine

 Dimensions 

(L*W*H)

47 x 44 x 81 inches

Weight Load Capacity 

600 lbs 

Steel Gauge & Thickness 

12 gauge, 2 & 3-inch steel 

Loadable Sleeve Length 

10 inches 

Lat Handle Length 

44 inches 

For the best all in one home gym option, Fitness Reality steps in. The X-Class lat pulldown machine is a sight to behold and a workout you want to do. This power cage can be customized to fit your needs and is an excellent base for a home gym system you build piece by piece. 

The lat pulldown attachment part of the cage is an essential buy and allows you to perform dozens of push/pull back and shoulder workouts. It also features weight supports to help assist you in lifting barbells. 

The cage also features a front pull-up bar and plenty of room for a bench, weight stacks, and bars. In addition, it comes with the lat bar handle and a free weight post that holds up to 600 pounds. The entire cage, though, can support a massive 1500 pounds, so you can set up an entire workout at any time. 

The solid steel construction and relatively straightforward assembly make it a favorite for home gym enthusiasts as well as serious workout people. So whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting your fitness journey, this cage is for you. 

Because it is just the cage, though, you will need to supply your own weights, seat, bench, and barbells. You will also need additional pulleys and cables for seated rows, bicep curls, or other workouts requiring a low pulley setup. But, with the safety bars, dip handles, and extended warranty, you won't be disappointed. 

Pros

  • 15-year warranty 
  • Strong cables and pulleys 
  • Easily lift or pull up to 600 pounds of free weight 
  • Assembly is easy and straightforward 

Cons

  • All additional needs are a separate purchase 
  • No accessories sold 

Common Exercises When Using A Plate-Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine

The main purpose of the lat pulldown machine is, obviously, the lat pulldown. However, depending on the setup and design of your device, you can also complete other exercises. For example, most shoulder and upper back work is possible, including triceps pulldowns, chest expansions, and shoulder shrugs. 

To perform the namesake exercise, though, you need to make preparations and adjustments before you can even begin. 

  1. 1
    First, you want to set it on the seat and adjust the thigh pads, so they are tight enough on your quads to not allow you to rise. 
  2. 2
    After the seat and pads are adjusted, you want to set the weights. Add the plates on both sides to your preferred workout weight. 
  3. 3
    Next, you will stand and grab the bar or handles over your head. Make sure your grip is tight and sit down, bringing the bar with you. 
  4. 4
    When you start working out, you will sit up straight and pull the bar slowly and steadily towards your chest. Lift your chest to the bar as well to isolate the lats. To finish the pull, you want to squeeze your shoulder blades together like you are trying to hold a pen between them. 
  5. 5
    You want to hold the pull for a few seconds and then take 1 to 2 seconds to return the bar overhead. However, you do not want to lock your elbows, which keeps the strain and contraction on the lat muscles. 
  6. 6
    Repeat for your desired reps and complete your set. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is a lat pulldown a compound exercise? 

The lat pulldown machine is, indeed, a compound exercise. While the focus is on the lat muscles, the remainder of the back, shoulders, and even traps are included in the workouts. 

Do I need to do lat pulldowns If I do pull ups? 

Pull ups utilize full upper body strength and do include the lat muscles. However, the focus is more on the mid and upper back, arms, and shoulders. If you want to develop your entire upper body, both exercises are needed. It is okay to use them both on the same day or to alternate days. 

Learn More - Pull Ups Vs Lat Pulldowns

What can you do instead of lat pulldowns? 

Lat pulldowns are among the most effective and efficient exercises to target the namesake muscles. However, there are plenty of other exercises that incorporate the latissimus dorsi muscles. These exercises include dumbbell rows, bent-over barbell rows, dumbbell pullovers, seated cable rows, and any other activity that puts the focus on the lower shoulders and mid-back or spine areas. You can read the complete list of alternative exercises here. 

Related Article - Lat Pulldown Alternative Exercises

How much does a lat pulldown plate weigh? 

The bars will vary in weight based on brand, size, and specifications. However, you can adjust the weight you are lifting (or pulling) depending on the plates you place on the machine. Most machines will use all weight plates from 2.5 to 45 pounds. The limit of weight you can add will also depend on the size and type of machine you ultimately buy and use. 


Conclusion

Lat pulldown machines are among the most needed but overlooked pieces of home gym equipment. Working one of the largest muscle groups in the back, this exercise helps with posture, spine strength, and back power. 

Finding the right plate loaded lat pulldown machine can be a difficult task. You want one that will hold the weight you need to work out with and fit in your space with enough room to maneuver. If you are still on the fence, take a closer look at our top pick, the XMark Heavy Duty LAT Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine. It fits most home gyms and performs better than most other brands and stand-alone systems.