9 Best Pec Deck Machines for Your Home Gym
A pec deck machine is a great way to build chest muscles that can really help boost your bench press. While the standard barbell bench press activates the muscle in your chest, these machines help to isolate chest muscles and strengthen all those hard-to-reach stabilization muscles.
If you find that your bench press has hit a wall, these machines may really help push past it by utilizing isolating your movements so that you don’t dump weight on stronger muscle groups. Many even include a weight stack that allows you to adjust your weights or engage in quick drop sets.
Whether you want to supplement your bench press or just want to sculpt a killer chest, we have gathered some of our very favorite pec deck machines to help you reach your personal goals.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hours of research
Variety of exercises
Easy resistance adjustment
Decent safety features
Preacher curl attachment
9 Best Pec Decks
1. Marcy MWM-990
Variety of exercises
Easy resistance adjustment
Decent safety features
Preacher curl attachment
Resistance tops out at 150 pounds
Our top pick, the Marcy MWM-990, is built from reinforced steel tubing to keep the weight stack ultra-stable for a safe and effective lifting session every time.Read more
The weight stack has a specialized lock that lets you easily adjust resistance. The lock has the added bonus of immobilizing the stack when not in use. It's a good safety backup if you have young children in the home.
The press arms are dual-action. This means you can do anything you want with your chest--presses, pec flys, and back exercises all by changing the position of a pin. A removable pad lets you isolate your biceps with preacher curls.
Like all our favorite home gyms, this one gives you an all-body workout even though it falls under the pec deck category. The machine is functional, versatile, and safe. The 150-pound weight stack is more than enough for most home gym enthusiasts. This multigym trainer is just what you would expect from Marcy.
2. Element Fitness Xenon
Best for heavy lifters
250-pound weight stack
Seated press option
Double-stitched leather pads
Looking for the best of the best and willing to spare no expense? This design from Element Fitness boasts a pretty hefty price tag, but the quality of commercial-grade components and modern features bring the power of the local gym right into your garage. This design provides a heavy weight stack, and additional features to work various muscle groups in your upper body.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it provides users with a weight stack that maxes out at 250 pounds. This design is one of the heaviest models out there on the market and a perfect fit for powerlifters that need to push some pretty heavy weights. It is also super easy to adjust for quick and snappy drop sets.
Users also love that the handles on this design are varied to engage in various lifts. Placing your hands on the wide grips for chest flys works your chest, and it even has a set of parallel handles for seated presses as well that is an incredible supplemental bench press lift. The pads are composed of sturdy double-stitched leather that will stand the test of time no matter how hard you train.
As we mentioned earlier, this design comes in at a pretty steep price point. However, if you are looking for something that will allow you to work with heavy weights to build power and work all of those little stabilizing muscles, this design is an excellent choice.
3. Marcy Smith Stack Gym
Best all in one option
Chest and leg stations
Standard issue preacher curl bench
Weight stack cannot upgrade--tops out at 150
This compact and effective unit is the smaller sibling of Marcy's enormous full featured Smith machines and other heavy equipment. It caters to smaller spaces, while still packing a wallop to help you with your strength development.Read more
The frame of the machine is 14 gauge tubular steel, giving you stability and a durable tool. The base has three points, two in the back and one up front, with rubberized feet to prevent damage to your floor. The weight stack goes up to 150 pounds. And yes, since it wouldn't be a pec deck machine otherwise, you can do both chest presses and fly with an easy adjustment of the central padded arm units.
You also get pulley stations, high and low for different muscle groups, all attached to 2,000 pounds tested and rated steel cables. The machine comes standard with a leg unit, for doing presses and extensions. Foam rollers protect your ankles, while a pivot point allows you to align your knees just right, avoiding hyperextension or ligament injury.
You also get an overhead lat station with a variety of back and shoulder developers, all from the same contoured handle for comfort and a secure grip. The finish is powder for scratch resistance and long-lasting performance. A preacher curl pad comes standard, no extra expense necessary, and you can adjust it to your ideal angle for working your biceps.
4. Body Solid EXM3000 LPS
The most compact
Can be used by up to three people
Targets every muscle group
Weight stacks for leg development
No sliding rower, which many comparable units have
By far the most expensive item on our list, this multi gym unit lets you and a partner work out at the same time, even following each other's routines if you desire. For the money, you do get access to nearly any strength training exercise you could think of, all powered by twin 210-pound weight stacks with pinned plate adjustments.Read more
A leg press on the side lets you do calf raises as well as donkey kickbacks and standard leg presses. A built-in adjustment can bring resistance for your legs up to 420 pounds.
The pec station offers flys with chest presses on the other side. You can also do shoulder exercises and ab crunches using the pec station. You access the rowing station by getting on the floor and pulling; low, upright, and bent over rowing are all possible. There is no sliding rower like you see on some home gyms.
Finally, on the side opposite the pec station, you get a chest press main area that lets you perform chest and shoulder presses, lat pulldowns, and leg curls/extensions. With an option called VKR30, three people can use the gym at once, rotating out positions as you each finish sets.
The Selectorized weighs 947 pounds when assembled. Seat pads are adjustable for all body shapes and sizes. The unit has a surprisingly small footprint at just 91 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 83 inches tall. If you were only going to get one piece of equipment for your solo or shared gym, you could do a lot worse.
5. Weider Home Gym 214
The affordable option
214 pounds of resistance
Cable friction and a weight stack
Does not take up much room
Durable comfy padding
Assembly is detailed, time-consuming
Here is another seated chest exerciser that will fit in a corner of your home gym and won't break the bank. You get six workout stations, including high and low pulleys, chest flys and presses, a preacher bar, and a leg station. The friction resistance, from cables, gives you up to 214 pounds of resistance.Read more
There is also a weight stack with 81 pounds of vinyl weight plates. You are not able to combine the resistances, so your max lifting weight at one time is 214 pounds.
The overhead lat pulldown station lets you target any of the muscles in your back and shoulders, all without changing position from the chest station seat. Seats and leg rollers are padded, giving the comfort and durability Weider has always been known for. The weight stack is not upgradeable.
Though not as versatile as many of the models we found, the Weider home gym is durable and represents a good general use station at a value price. Reviewers and Amazon stated the machine comes in two separate boxes which may not arrive on the same day. Assembly is not too difficult but may take up to six hours. The fully assembled unit is fairly compact and will definitely be a two-person lift, should you ever decide to move it.
6. Gold’s Gym XR55
Easy to assemble
330 pounds of resistance
The machine fits most home gym spaces
The seat is uncomfortable for larger bodies
This attractive unit offers a good bit more resistance than some of the others on our list, and it squeezes both a high and low pulley option into its neat frame. Max resistance is 330 pounds, more than enough for most fitness buffs to get strong and avoid injury.Read more
The leg attachment lets you do your curls and extensions with the comfort of padded rollers and the ease of cable resistance. The gym is made for you to train your entire body efficiently and effectively.
Chest press and fly station lets you target your chest muscles with careful motion control and adjustable arms. You get a full range of motion without any risk of hyperextension. An overhead lat pull bar lets you switch from the core to back muscles on a dime, and the resistance is easy to adjust with a solid weight stack pin.
Reviewers indicate the machine assembles easily and is quite durable for long term use. Seats are padded and vinyl covered, simple to wipe down and keep looking new. The Gold's Gym XR 55 is about six and a half feet tall, an easy fit for most residential ceilings.
This is designed for home use, not commercial use, and the price reflects that. You do still get a 90-day warranty and full-color workout poster, created by a trainer.
The most versatile option
Additional pulley system
Difficult to assemble
GoPlus is a trusted brand in the home equipment industry that brings quality machines to your home at an affordable price point. This machine doesn’t support a higher weight capacity than some of the higher-end designs, but it is a great option for bodybuilders or casual lifters looking to tone and build muscle with multiple reps. Plus, it boasts additional features to work other muscle groups in your upper back.Read more
Besides the affordable price point, users really love the functionality of this design. It provides users with durable fly bars with comfortable rubber grips to knock out quite a few sets. The fly bars provide padded forearm rests that allow you to really dig into heavier weights, and allows you to switch up your grip as needed.
This design comes with a weight stack that tops out at 100 pounds. It’s not the heaviest weight stack out there, which may not be ideal for dedicated powerlifters, but it is a great option for bodybuilders or CrossFitters. We love that it also includes a pulley system and a pulldown bar to work your upper back as well as your chest.
If you are in the market for something that is a little more versatile than a dedicated pec deck that comes in at an affordable price point, this design from Goplus is a perfect fit for any home gym. It’s important to note, however, that some users found that it is a little difficult to set up, so you may want to call in the pros for this machine to ensure that it is set up properly.
The best value
Additional pulley system
Very difficult to assemble
Arrives in multiple shipments
If you are a patient person and have mad assembly skills, this design from Sporzon is an excellent value. While many of the previous users found that this design is pretty difficult to assemble, the finished product is a great tool to help build muscle. This design comes complete with a weight stack that is a little heavier than some of the more budget-friendly options and boasts additional tools to work additional muscle groups in your upper body.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it comes complete with a weight stack that maxes out at 125 pounds. The stack is coated in a durable layer of plastic, and making adjustments for snappy drop-sets is as easy as pulling out a pin. It is composed of high-quality steel that can comfortably accommodate up to 400 pounds.
We also love that this machine provides an additional pulley system to work various muscles in your upper back. The main pec bar has two angled grips for flies or presses and provides users with a padded forearm rest so that you can really dig into those lifts. It even had a top wide grip bar to activate muscle in your upper back and traps.
As we mentioned earlier, this design is a bit of a pain to set up. It ships and multiple boxes (some of which arrive at different times). Some users even found some bolts missing. However, if you consider yourself to be pretty handy and know your way around a toolbox, the finished product is strong and sturdy, and comes in at one of the most affordable price points out there on the market!
9. ICON Fitness XRS 50
Easiest to assemble
Easy to assemble
Additional pulley system
112-pound weight stack
Short range of motion
The XRS 50 is another affordable option that really beats up those muscle groups while taking it easy on your wallet. It comes with a 112-pound weight stack that is perfect for casual lifters or bodybuilders and includes additional features to help trigger various muscle groups. The best part about this machine (aside from the affordable price) is that users find that it is fairly easy to assemble.Read more
One of the things that users love most about this design is that it boasts a slightly smaller footprint when compared to similar models out there on the market. It is a perfect option for those that want to sculpt their chest muscles but are working with limited space in their home gym.
This design comes equipped with a 112-pound weight stack that is super easy to adjust for quick and speedy drop sets. It also comes with an additional pulley system for lat pulldowns and even seated rows along the bottom. The fly bars provide angled grips to work for various muscle groups and offer comfortable pads to place your forearms so that you can really dig into your lifts.
If you are in the market for something a little smaller and more affordable than some of the other designs that we have seen, this option is worth checking out. Users found that it is fairly easy to assemble, and it is composed of quality materials that hold up quite well over the years.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The machine should always fit its user, not the other way around.
We gave priority and higher ratings to machines with adjustable ranges of motion. Not everybody has the same arm length, height, or level of flexibility.
With a good pec machine, you can easily spread your arms up to your comfort level, lock the unit arms in, put your forearms up to the padding, and go. You should not have to worry about whether you can complete a full rep or not.
Technically, a machine only has to do two exercises to be called a pec station.
Those two exercises are:
- Chest press, which recruits roughly the same muscles as a typical bench press from a seated position.
- Chest flys, which take the place of dumbbell flys. The motion of pushing the resistance to and away from your chest is similar to a butterfly wing pattern.
If you could only use one machine, then, to do all your chest exercises, a good pec deck could do that for you. Usually, you can switch between the two exercises by pulling and replacing a pin. In our reviews, we looked for the machines whose design centered around this simple requirement.
Other accessories and attachments are fine, in fact, more is often better, but we did not want designs where the make had clearly lost track of why people buy chest machines.
The machine user is one kind of capacity, and the weight stack's potential is another.
A good rule of thumb is that you can always lift more with a bench and barbell than you can with a machine. Meaning, the capacity or potential of the equipment takes longer for you to outgrow. It is not uncommon for long term lifters to e able to bench their own body weight or more.
That is because, steel frame or not, weight stacks, cables, and pulleys are not designed to lift massive amounts of weight and still be on a stable platform. Many of the machines on our list topped out at 200 pounds.
So, in fairness to chest machines, we did not give low ratings based solely on low resistance. We did give you a heads up that some of the machines don't go up very high, and another heads-up when you have to pay extra to upgrade a machine to its full potential.
Too many features can cause a machine to lose focus.
In other words, a chest machine that is worth your time and money will give you a chest workout that delivers results. We weren't able to test every machine, of course, so we relied on customer reviews and industry write-ups.
We are also able to evaluate based on the manufacturer's specs. If something is poorly designed or has less than the best parts, we know it will not give you in need. Keeping our knowledge and our sources in mind, we are confident that each of the machines we looked at will be effective over time with consistent use.
The motion control enforced by a machine is what can keep you from getting injured.
Most accidents with gym machines are not from equipment failure, or from falling weight stacks or anything similar. Accidents happen through improper use. For example, doing leg curls without aligning your knees to the pivot point will leave you unable to curl anything after a while. The best way for manufacturers to encourage proper use is to enforce it.
So our top-rated equipment has plenty of features to keep you moving within the limits of your particular situation. You can and should push yourself, but with the right equipment, you will not hurt yourself through improper motion.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you have spent much time shopping around for home fitness equipment, you have certainly encountered the words "aircraft cables," "aircraft grade cables," or perhaps "aviation cables." They sound strong, after all, airplanes weigh more than any of us can bench press, but what do these phrases really mean?
Aircraft cable, according to several cable manufacturer sites we visited, is wire rope made from strands of either stainless steel or galvanized steel. It comes in diameters from .047" to .375". It is, of course, use to secure almost any heavy part on an airplane, but this cable is also used in bike locks, dog runs, tow ropes for ships, and, as we already know, fitness equipment.
Aircraft cable is called aircraft cable because of its use in the aviation field. It mostly secures control surfaces. But it is a bit misleading to say that the cables in your pec deck machine are the same as the ones used on planes. The grade and strength of steel stranding for the planes are much higher and held to exacting federal standards. The cables on your equipment are tested for tensile strength and safety, but they would be dangerous if used on an actual airliner.
The thing that the two have in common is being made of braided steel strands. The joining process makes the steel very strong and durable.
In any machine with rotating parts, the bearings are the objects that absorb the friction between the moving part (cable) and the piece that holds the moving part in place (pulley). Because of the bearings, you get the fluid, easy motion you expect when you pull a cable under resistance.
Bearings in modern fitness equipment can be either steel or nylon. Nylon, shaped and hardened into round plastic, can also be used. Let's take a look at some of the differences. It's important because so many manufacturers tout their products as having nylon bearings.
Metal bearings are higher maintenance than nylon. Usually, metal bearings have to be lubricated regularly. If the bearings are sealed, this can get labor-intensive. But nylon bearings have treatments to help them self-lubricate, and the plastic is more durable under the constant movement conditions of frequent use.
For these reasons, the nylon bearings will last longer than the steel ones. This is true even for thin-walled nylon bearings. They will last longer and need less service than even thick metal bearings.
Because of their longevity and low maintenance, nylon bearings have become the preferred standard for fitness equipment in recent years.
Other Factors to Consider
Going back to our foundation, a pec deck machine really only has to let you do chest presses and flys in order to be effective and valuable. But we know that many of our readers expect more.
Several of the machines on our list can actually replace half a room full of equipment. They cost more money upfront but once installed, you do not have to worry about needing another station down the road. And some of these units will even let more than one person use them at once.
The bigger you go with home gyms, the less portable they get and the less flexibility you have.
We think it is important to examine just how much these units weigh because often home gym owners will need to clear a room that doubles as a guest room, or something similar. As a general rule, pec deck machines that only offer flys and presses will weight the least.
Of course, many basic machines offer optional attachments and upgrades. This could lead to a situation where you have to partially disassemble the unit before you can tuck it away somewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is the pec deck effective?
Absolutely! While standard dumbbells or bench presses are designed to activate your chest muscles, they cannot really isolate your chest muscles. When your chest muscles fatigue during a bench press, your supplementary muscles in your upper back, biceps, and triceps work to pick up the slack.
On a pec deck, however, the isolated movement means that you cannot count on additional muscle groups to push up the weight.
q: What muscles does a chest press target?
The chest presses you can perform on most of our machines will target your upper and lower pectorals, triceps, and shoulders. This is beneficial because you do not need to do long sets of dumbbell curls or other moves that target the only triceps, for example.
q: What about flys?
Flys also target your pectoralis minor and major, but from slightly different angles to recruit muscles that can be left out when you do a press.
Your biceps, including the large muscles between your shoulder and elbow, the elbow joint flexor, and the muscles that rotate your arms, will also get a strength benefit.
q: Is the lat pull down just for my back?
Not at all! Once you get the hang of it, there is almost nothing you can't do with the lat pull down for your upper body. It all depends on how you grip the bar and whether you bring it in front of your chest or behind your head. You can hit each muscle group in your arms just by widening and closing the distance between your hands.
We encourage you to get a machine that has several interchangeable handles, for the lat bar, as well as a booklet or poster with some of the different exercises on it.
q: Does pec deck work lower chest?
One of the biggest misconceptions of these machines is that they only work the upper chest, and that couldn’t be further from the truth!
These machines effectively work your upper and lower chest, as well as your anterior deltoid and the short head of your biceps.
q: Is there an advantage to having an adjustable bench press?
Yes. You can target different muscle groups and get more intensity by going flat, incline, or upright on a bench. Most of the machines on this list are just for seated presses, but some of the more expensive ones will let you do presses either horizontally or at an angle.
Just like moving your hands closer together or farther apart, on a barbell press, can target different muscle groups, so can any change to the angle of a bench or seat.
q: Are gadgets like the Iron Chest Master really effective?
It depends on the gadget. We tend not to trust those that market themselves on late-night television infomercials. We'd rather look at professional and user reviews, from writers who have nothing to gain by giving a good review.
Manufacturer's websites are useful, too, because they will give you specs that you can compare to other similar products.
Finally, sometimes this kind of tool is designed for a specific type of user. For example, NASA has endorsed a few portable gyms for use in space. We can't think of a greater endorsement than that, really.