The Best Leg Press Machines in 2019
Leg presses are simple. You lay or sit down with the weights above you and press your legs against a metal plate to push the weight up and then down again. This simple movement recruits your quadriceps, calf muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and hip adductors. It is a way to make faster progress by cutting out several machines in favor of a single one.
The leg press machine is safer than a lot of other machines, too, as there is no way to drop the weights on yourself and muscle strain is less likely; the leg press puts no strain on your back. You can also switch up your workout and focus on different muscle groups just by moving your feet to different spots on the plate.
Read on to learn about the top ten leg press machines we found in our research.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 23 hours of research
Lets you do hack squats, too
Advanced roller construction
Some of the thickest padding we found
You can lock out/start your reps in different positions
10 Best Leg Press Machines
1. Body Solid
Lets you do hack squats, too
Advanced roller construction
Some of the thickest padding we found
You can lock out/start your reps in different positions
Some reviewers wished for a wider foot plate
The Body Solid Leg Press Hack Squat machine is a 45-degree incline leg press machine that provides you with a quad track roller system, giving you a stable track system with a consistently smooth motion.Read more
As the user, you experience a full range of knee friendly motion. The diamond foot plate provides you with a strong, secure pressing platform. An instant adjustment allows you to transition from a press to a hack squat.
The Body Solid Leg Press provides you with some helpful safety features, including three lockout positions that ensure you’ll never get stuck. The back and shoulder padding is four inches thick and is covered in tear and sweat resistant double stitched Durafirm.
Bones and joints are safe, too, with Body Solid's safety-oriented engineering design. You can use the lockout positions to adjust your start point and avoid hyperextension. The machine takes Olympic style weight plates, which Body Solid offers as an option. The 317-pound machine is commercially rated and comes with a complete lifetime warranty for home use.
Can take up to 1000 pounds weight
Narrow footprint saves space
Redundant safety mechanisms
Company has solid reputation
Footplate could have better traction
The Powertec Leg Press is a 45 degree horizontal powerhouse of a machine, equipped with four weight horns for a capacity of 1000 pounds.Read more
The large, oversized diamond deck foot plate provides ample foot placement options. This model has a reduced footprint compared to Powertec’s previous leg press, with 4 fewer inches of width on each side. The lower profile makes the Powertec ideal for confined spaces.
The Powertec press has abundant safety features, including large, easy to operate safety levers within easy reach on either side. If you can’t get the weight up, the safeties will provide an easy out. The carefully designed carriage system ensures a smooth, fluid lift and a full range of motion. Thick padding and a stylish matte black finish make for a stylish leg machine as well as a functional one.
The backrest is adjustable for comfort and support. Olympic plates and weight racks are an additional option. Nylon reinforcement on the wheels adds to the slick, smooth motion of this leg press.
3. Powerline PVLP156X Vertical
Price point is budget friendly
Extra weight post
Bushings made of quality nylon
Head and neck stay supported throughout
Lower back position takes some getting used to
The Powerline PVLP156X leg press is a budget machine that provides you with a vertical press, some safety features, and a choice of three start/stop positions.Read more
A vertical leg press machine puts your lower back in a slightly compromised position, but it does a good job of isolating your thighs and hamstrings. Safety comes courtesy of three locking pins.
Solid steel tubing makes for a sturdy base and unit upper for you to work with. The weight capacity is 400 pounds, more than enough for most fitness enthusiasts. The head and neck pad are contoured and form part of the thicker than average comfort back pad. Weight posts are one inch. Weights and locking collars are not included in the purchase.
The Powerline Leg Press machine uses nylon bushings for quiet, gliding operation. The footplate is designed to keep your feet from slipping. The locking pins are made from half inch steel. Powerline, an imprint of Body Solid, offers a 10-year frame warranty, with one year for parts. The assembled unit weighs just 93 pounds without weights and has a smaller footprint than many comparable units.
4. Body Solid Leverage Horizontal
Carriage system stable for consistent movement
Seat aligns itself automatically
Steel frame is durable
Foot plate has pivot feature
Unit is quite pricey
The Body Solid Leverage horizontal plate loaded leg press features a direct drive system which provides the smoothest and most consistent pressing motion of any home unit we have encountered.Read more
The oversized footplate pivots to let you get the ideal foot placement. The dual self-aligning, one and a half inch, linear bearing seat carriage is designed to fit all body types. The back support contains generous padding, and you can also adjust it for your optimal position.
The two inch by three-inch heavy gauge steel framing of this machine provides rugged strength and durability. Sealed ball bearing pivot points provide a smooth carriage ride and help you experience a full range of motion. Weight plate holders provide convenient plate storage and also help make the machine more stable.
In addition to letting you press the weight, the footplate will keep you aligned throughout each repetition. The back support also helps with this, ensuring you an injury-free experience no matter how much weight you press. The unit weighs in at 525 pounds after assembly and comes with a lifetime residential warranty. Weights are sold separately.
5. BodyCraft F660
1000 pound weight capacity
Lets you do leg presses with an easy adjustment
Generous custom fit shoulder pads
Linear bearings are industrial quality
Some reviewers say the unit is hard to assemble
Constructed from heavy gauge steel, and capable of handling a combined max user weight and plate load of 1000 pounds, The BodyCraft F660 is a combination angled leg press machine and hack squat machine.Read more
Adjustable padded shoulder pads accommodate a range of user heights with no need to extend the framing. That makes this a compact unit, ideal for home use. The industrial grade linear bearings will never flatten or wear out.
The large diamond deck foot plate folds away to let you do hack squats. It is also adjustable to provide a range of pressing angles. This machine is designed to be used with Olympic plates. It is finished in a stylish grey scratch resistant powder coating.
The BodyCraft F660 comes with a lifetime warranty.
In addition to all this, the F660 provides a calf block to let you do standing calf exercises. A donkey squat pad, used with the calf block, lets you do donkey squats to tighten up your glutes. Weights load underneath the moving part of the sled, saving you space. The back pad used with the leg press gives you lumbar support and also moves into place for hack squats.
Bodycraft even provides a full-color gallery and user manual, copious specs, weight chart, exercise guide and even the owners manual on their website. You can completely check out the leg press machine before making a purchase decision.
6. Powerline BSGLPX
Narrow footprint is home gym friendly
Machine is budget conscious
Range of motion is complete and consistent
Adjusts so you can perform leg curls
160 pound weight capacity will not be enough for some
Rather than a full-fledged leg press machine, the Powerline BSGLPX is an add-on attachment for Powerline's BSG10X home gym. It provides reliable performance for your leg press needs.Read more
The BSGLPX is only compatible with the one home gym. It is budget friendly, though, if you are not looking to buy a separate standalone leg press machine. The home gym's weight stack will go up to 160 pounds. This is a starter leg press machine, but may be all you need if you do not play kicking sports or have a need to bulk up your legs.
The Powerline BSGGLPX provides a smooth range of motion, though taller people may not be able to get a full extension of the thigh. It features quality cabling and bushes that ensure a fluid gliding motion. This product comes with a 10-year warranty.
The attachment weighs just 24 pounds and is easy to install on the BSG10X. Some reviewers indicated problems with the pulleys, in the home gym, when BSGLPX is attached. An extra pulley comes with the attachment. You can also do leg curls with this attachment.
7. Monster Ultimate 45 Degree
Sturdy, well made frame
Extra weight storage
Covered by warranty
Machine is heavy and bulky
This machine will develop all the muscle groups in your legs, and it is trusted by trainers and other gym professionals who train their clients on it.Read more
As the name says, you can do both leg presses and hack squats on the Monster. The design allows for deeper squats. You can also move your feet around to isolate and target different muscle groups. The large footplate, in the seated position, is also adjustable for a customized workout. The frame features a laser-precise powder coating to avoid superficial damage.
Steel joints are 11 and 13 gauge sizes. The adjustments can accommodate users as tall as seven feet. The machine has a 1000 pound weight plate capacity. Plate horns provide convenient weight storage when you are not using the machine. 5 safety lockouts and 5 more racking options will supercharge your workout in new ways.
There are even extra weight storage slots under the machine. It weighs 463 pounds when assembled. Safety and structural features enable you to safely train until you are exhausted.
8. Yukon Fitness Vertical VLP-154
600 pound weight capacity
Easy to assemble
May not feel as stable as more expensive units.
This is an affordable vertical unit that features back and head support so you will not experience neck strain while lying on your back doing leg presses.Read more
The Yukon has a narrow structure that is meant for tight spaces. It will take either standard or Olympic plates, and does come with a partial warranty. Foam covered handles help you ease into the machine. Slides are covered in chrome to ensure they move fluidly each time.
A nonslip foot plate helps with stability and safety. The assembled unit only weighs 91 pounds. At 43 inches long, 40 inches wide, and 68 inches tall, the Yukon really does have a smaller footprint than most of the units we reviewed.
Reviewers mentioned the need to tighten bolts during assembly. This will help with unit integrity later since it does not have welded joints as more expensive leg press machines do. The machine has a 600-pound weight capacity.
9. TDS Horizontal
4000 pound tested cable
800 pound max weight capacity
Supports up to a 6’4” user height
Mid price model for such high quality
Requires 83 inches of height
The TDS Horizontal Leg Press is a straight horizontal machine that allows you to get a full extension and contraction on every rep.Read more
This machine uses a cable system and has a 4000 pound tested cable, so it will handle anything you throw at it. The weight plate holders are designed to accommodate both standard and Olympic weight plates. The seat and back padding are quite comfortable according to many reviewers.
The machine has a max weight capacity of 800 pounds. The seat carriage on this unit slides on eight, two-inch rollers to provide the exercise movement. The unit is capable of supporting a user height of up to 6’4”. The carriage is heavy duty, as are the rollers, giving you smooth motion and safety during use.
The machine weighs 190 pounds fully assembled. In spite of the cable, the unit uses weight plates rather than a weight stack. It is in the middle of the road for pricing; while not as expensive as some gym grade models, the TDS has sound engineering to give you consistent results from your leg workouts.
10. Powertec Compact
45 degree decline
Nylon bearing wheels
Foot tube for calf raises
Designed for small spaces
Taller users cannot get a full leg extension
The Powertec Compact Leg Press is a is a mini compact leg press machine that has a unique 45 degree decline position.Read more
The seat moves and has attached weight pins that are in line with your body positioning. Nylon bearing wheels drive the sled, ensuring consistent fluid operation. An adjustable angle foot-plate and multi-position seat lock you in place to provide perfect body alignment as you perform the press.
The Powertec compact leg machine has a maximum user capacity of 700 pounds. It includes a foot tube for doing calf raises. This machine operates similarly to a hack squat machine, which provides an effective tension on your front quads and glutes. It takes two-inch Olympic weight plates.
This is one of the most compact leg sleds you can buy. It weighs 98 pounds when assembled. Users report the machine is easy to assemble and can be moved without disassembling with a two-person lift. The Powertec Compact Leg Sled will go easy on your neck and shoulders.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
A leg press machine can give you an intense workout, but still be easy to use.
Some of the features that make leg press machines easy to use include padding, weight loading and storage, welding, rollers and bearings, padding covers, and even access, meaning how easily you can get into and out of the machine.
Padding should be thick, covered in vinyl or Durafilm, and should not have too much give in it. The coverings will be double stitched for the longest life. This includes back, shoulder, and head or neck pads if they are present.
Weights should be easy to load. Nearly all leg press machines use plates, so there will be some picking up and putting the plates on the horns. Some machines will have bottom storage for the plates, when they are not in use.
Units that are bolted together instead of having solid welding may seem less stable than welded units.
Rollers and bearings should be sealed. Nylon bearings are good quality, and the bearings, rollers, and carriage should all work together for consistent motion.
Machines that allow you to sit, rather than laying on a flat surface, will have the easiest access. However, some of the more affordable units will be vertical and will have flat portions for you to lie on.
If you invest in a leg press machine, you deserve to see results.
Effectiveness is one of the hardest things to measure or describe in reviews. We can tell how durable or adaptable a machine is by reading reviews and manufacturer specs. But since results rarely appear overnight, and are the result of sustained long term effort, we don't always feel qualified to make a prediction.
Instead, we examine reviews and ratings, construction, weight capacity, comfort level, and manufacturer warranties. If someone is willing to provide a long term or lifetime warranty for their product, we can be assured it is something that will grant results.
Comfort level is important because, as we have always said, an uncomfortable or awkward machine is a machine you will not use consistently. Most people will avoid discomfort, and certainly, nobody wants to be injured. So when we consider these factors, we are confident in stating you will get results from each of these units, if you use them consistently over time and follow the manufacturer's directions.
The value of a product isn't just about how much money you spend.
Some of the units in this review can cost up to 2,000 dollars when you factor in shipping and optional weight plates or Olympic sleeve adapters.
Is such a machine still a good value? We think so. The high end, costly machines are that way because they are commercial gym quality. When used in your home, they almost always have a lifetime warranty. These units are all used by trainers to get pain free results for their clients. If you are able to make a large upfront investment, you can replicate these results without having to join a gym.
You don't need to go overboard lifting weights, but you do need room to grow.
The capacity of a leg press machine includes the weight it can handle and, sometimes, the user weight.
How much weight capacity you need will depend on how much you want to pay, as well as your fitness goals. If you are not a powerlifter, you will not need the capability to press 1000 pounds or more.
When you first bring home a leg press machine, make sure you have allowed room for strength increases. 400 pounds may be plenty when you start. But as you grow stronger with leg presses, as part of an overall organized program, you may find yourself surpassing the limits of your machine if you have not allowed for extra weight.
The machine should do the work of supporting you, while you do the work of lifting the weights.
No matter how much you pay for a leg press machine, whether it is a bargain unit or a commercial grade behemoth, it needs to provide support in order to keep you safe.
Support includes padding, but it can also mean safety lockouts that support the weight and prevent you from being injured.
The footplate should be big and have non-slip coatings, and you should be able to target different muscle groups by moving your feet, knowing you will be supported and stabilized anywhere on the plate.
While the work of pushing and pulling the resistance is up to you, a good leg press machine will act as an assistant, taking care of stability needs so you can focus on the movements that will get you to the finish line you set for yourself.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Leg presses are great because they build large muscle groups quickly, including your quadriceps and calves. Done properly and consistently, the leg press can help condition you for just about any sport while contributing to your overall daily strength and energy level. But as with any exercise, there are some precautions you must follow to prevent injury.
Positioning is vital, both for injury prevention and to make sure you get the most out of each repetition. Your back and head need to be immobilized against the backrest piece. To start, put your feet about hip-width apart from each other. Your heels will remain flat. This gives you the stable base you need, just like you would need if you were doing squats. The movement is reversed, but the same principles apply when dealing with heavy weights.
Your legs should be about 90 degrees when you start. At the top of the motion, your legs will be almost straight. Keep your ab muscles pulled in tight, and grasp the side handles (if provided) to keep your head and neck from trying to help with the exertion.
Don't forget to pause at the apex of each rep, and start out with lightweight when you first start using the leg press machine.
The leg press and barbell squat go together because they are both exercises that recruit the large muscle groups in your legs. Squats have more of an all-body benefit because you use your back and core muscles. But both the squat and leg press are functional exercises that will help you in your regular life outside the gym.
The leg press, though, is not a secret formula for squat success. You should look at it as something that will supplement your squats, not take the place of them. When you are starting out, or if you have an injury that prevents you from doing barbell squats, the leg press is a fantastic substitute that places no pressure on your neck, spine, or arms. Many squat machines will let you do standing calf raises or donkey squats, too, with special attachments. Any machine that gives you that much versatility is a good thing.
One word of caution: if you are doing squats and leg presses on the same day, within the same routine, do not max out on each machine. Doing so is a fast track too injury, including spine and joint damage. If you want to see how much you can squat--and you have a friend who is willing to act as a spotter--do that on a dedicated day, where you will be leaving your leg and back muscles alone otherwise.
Other Factors to Consider
There really aren't many features you can add to a leg press machine. A cup holder would just get in the way. You can listen to your music or podcasts, but the media shelf will most likely be your pocket or the floor next to you.
But features don't always include things you can see. Many leg presses will cost more because of bearing and roller type. Nylon bearings are durable and smooth. Many companies have proprietary rollers which will also increase ride and glide quality. A pivoting footplate, which low-end machines do not have, lets you target different muscle groups more effectively.
The best way to learn about unseen or advanced features is to read the manufacturer's specifications. Often these same specs will appear on Amazon, but not always. Many companies will even let you read the owner's manuals and look at photo galleries or diagrams before you buy. The features you need and want should definitely be part of your comparison shopping and ultimate purchase decision.
What determines fit on a leg press machine? For us, it consists of padding, footplate size, backrest type, and range of motion control. These are all things you can learn about online, and we provide these reviews as one of those resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Isn't it uncomfortable to lay all the way down on the floor?
It can be for some users. As we've learned, many less expensive machines will not have inclined rests that lift you off the ground. Sometimes this style of backrest can put you at an awkward or unnatural angle. We have tried to be honest about this in our reviews.
If you have a history of back problems or a previous spine injury, these budget machines may not be for you. It may be worth saving money or finding alternative exercises until you can afford a commercial quality leg press machine. There are plenty of exercises you can do that will strengthen the same muscles as a leg press does, even if it means combining different exercises to cross hatch your own routine.
q: How can I avoid injury when I am pressing such a heavy weight?
The best way to avoid injury is to use the machine as directed. If you have access to a trainer, you can ask them to help you with form. Use light or no weight at first, and always warm up before you lift.
Never use your toes to lift the weight. Always press your feet in all the way, and keep your feet apart at hip width. Always use both feet, as one leg will not be enough to press the weight and will lead to overexertion. Keep your range of motion within your limits, but make sure you are not shortchanging yourself into a reduced range of motion.
Many machines also come with safety lockouts. These are mechanical devices designed to immobilize the weight in an emergency situation. If your leg press machine has lockouts, be sure to read all the documentation and make sure you know how to use the lockouts and what they can and cannot do for you.
q: What are the benefits of the leg press machine?
The leg press can help strengthen your quad, glute, and calf muscle groups. It also provides some benefit to your feet and knees, giving you better balance and endurance while helping you avoid injuries to these sensitive areas. By removing your spine from the squat equation, too, the leg press can emulate many of the benefits you get from squats while reducing the risk of injury. The leg press, especially on gym quality machines, will also help you stay injury free by locking you into proper form with its various features.
The leg press will also keep your workout from getting stale since there are so many variations in how to place your feet on an oversized plate. Keeping your workouts fresh is something many of us don't think about, but that can keep you going; doing the same exercises over and over can stifle progress and also set you up for repetitive motion injuries.
q: What do lifetime warranties cover?
This is a tricky question. Sometimes a lifetime warranty will only cover the frame of a leg press machine. Often, manufacturers will provide limited lifetime warranties. It pays to read the fine print and ask questions of the manufacturer or dealer before you make a purchase.
The best lifetime warranties, in every sense of the term, will always come from expensive, high-end machines that are commercially rated for gym use. If you can afford one of these for your home gym, you can be assured that you will always be covered no matter what.
q: What's a hack squat?
A hack squat is a squat form that lets you rest at 45 degrees on a body length sled that moves on rollers so you can move the resistance from that angle. You would not be able to hold still at a 45-degree angle without a sled to support your body weight.
Not every leg press machine features a sled, so you may not be able to do hack squats depending on which model you purchase.
The benefits of hack squats include complete leg muscle isolation. the ability to squat larger amounts of weight without spinal overload, the option of single leg training, and extra stability, which can be especially useful if you are rehabbing from an injury.
Although a machine will always provide greater support, comfort, and muscle group isolation, you can do hack squats with a barbell. There are many professional bodybuilding sites that will help you with this. Here is a video we found that can better explain the barbell hack squat.
- Barbell Hack Squat for Bigger Quadriceps, Video ,
- Effect of pre-exhaustion exercise on lower-extremity muscle activation during a leg press exercise, Scholarly research article ,
- Video: Seated leg press with weight machine, Health Institution Website ,