The 9 best lat pulldown machines 2020

A lat pulldown machine is one of the best pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym. A lat pulldown machine can open up several good exercises, not just for your lats but also for your entire back, your arms, abs and shoulders. 

The great thing is, even if you don’t have the room for a lat machine, you can buy a lat attachment for your power rack, or even a single stack home gym that’s based around a lat pulldown. 

Regardless of your goals or the type of lat machine, it’s a great addition to any home gym. 

Let’s find out what the best lat pulldown machines are!

Quick Answer – The Best Lat Pulldown Machines

  1. Rogue Fitness Monster Lat Pulldown Machine – Best Overall
  2. Body-Solid Powerline PLM180X Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For Beginners
  3. Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine – Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine
  4. XMark XM 7618 Lat Pulldown & Low Row Machine – Best For Bodybuilders
  5. TDS Super Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For Strength Training
  6. Titan Fitness Lat Tower – Best Budget Weight Stack Lat Pulldown Machine
  7. Fasesh Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For General Conditioning
  8. Fitness Reality 710 Lat Pulldown Attachment For The Super Max Power Cage – The Best Lat Pulldown Attachment
  9. ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 – Best Budget Weight Stack Gym Lat Pulldown Machine

Reviews – The Best Lat Pulldown Machines

1. Rogue Fitness Monster Lat Pulldown Machine – Best Overall

The Rogue Fitness Monster Lat Pulldown Machine features a 300lb weight stack and is manufactured using 3” x 3” steel construction. 

This machine can be bolted to the floor for added security. It has durable 6” aluminum pulleys, 4” thick adjustable thigh pads, and an adjustable diamond tread footplate. The included lat bar is made from stainless steel. 

This is the stand-alone unit but there is a rack-mounted version as well. 

The Monster Lat Pulldown is not a big machine but it is 8’ tall, making it one of the tallest machines on this list. 

Assuming you have space, the downside to this machine may be the cost. Still, the exceptional quality and features of the Rogue Fitness Monster make it the best overall lat pulldown machine.

PROS

  • Made From Heavy Duty 3” x 3” Steel
  • 300lb Weight Stack
  • Adjustable Footplate

CONS

  • This Is An Expensive Lat Machine
  • At 8’ Tall, It May Not Fit In Every Exercise Space

2. Body-Solid Powerline PLM180X Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For Beginners

The Body-Solid Powerline PLM180X Lat Pulldown Machine is manufactured using sturdy steel construction and can handle loads up to 250lbs.

The PLM180X features both a high and low pulley and it has patented nylon bushings for smooth operation. Also, there are 8” foam thigh pads to hold you securely as you pull the weight. The seat is well padded for comfort and support. 

This is a plate loaded machine that can take either standard or Olympic plates. It does not take up much room, but it is 80” tall, so be sure you have high enough ceilings. 

All of these features and a good price point make the Body-Solid Powerline PLM180X the best lat pulldown machine for beginners.

PROS 

  • Features Sturdy Steel Construction
  • Patented Nylon Bushings For Smooth, Even Operation
  • High & Low Pulley Stations

CONS

  • May Be Too Tall For Some Exercise Spaces

 

3. Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine – Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine

The Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine is a commercial-level machine that has a lifetime warranty on the frame, and a 3-year warranty on the hardware. 

This machine features heavy-duty steel construction and has a thick, large Dura-Firm seat. 

There’s a high and low pulley with patented nylon bushings. The 8” foam thigh pads are adjustable and hold you securely in place as you train. 

The Body-Solid Pro also has a foot brace for the low pulley and a diamond plate stabilizer for more stability. 

This unit can hold up to 300lbs and takes standard as well as Olympic plates. 

We find the Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine to be the best plate loaded lat pulldown machine.  

PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty On The Frame
  • Holds Up To 300lbs
  • Takes Olympic Or Standard Plates

CONS

  • May Not Be Ideal For Taller Users

4. XMark XM 7618 Lat Pulldown & Low Row Machine – Best For Bodybuilders

The XMark XM 7618 Lat Pulldown & Low Row Machine is manufactured using 2” x 3” 11-gauge steel construction. 

It features a scratch-resistant powder coat finish for durability. It can hold up to 400lbs and takes standard or Olympic plates. 

There are nylon-coated aircraft quality cables to handle the weight. Also, this machine has a 3” padded seat, 4” thick adjustable thigh pads, and a sturdy footplate for low pulley exercises. 

This unit is 82.7” tall so you’ll need to be sure and measure your space. Still, it has a small footprint compared to many exercise machines, making it a great addition to your home gym. 

The features of this unit combined with the exercises you can do make the XMark XM 7618 the best lat pulldown machine for bodybuilders.

PROS

  • Handles Up To 400lbs
  • High & Low Pulley Station For Good Exercise Variety
  • 2” x 3” 11-Gauge Steel Construction

CONS

  • A Little Taller Than Many Of The Other Lat Pulldown Machines In This Guide

5. TDS Super Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For Strength Training 

The TDS Super Lat Pulldown Machine has a unique dual guide rod system that includes sealed ball bearings. This allows for stable, smooth performance. 

The TDS is manufactured using heavy-duty steel construction, a steel tubing base, and a steel deck plate. This machine can hold up to 800lbs and has a thickly padded adjustable seat. The thick thigh pads are also adjustable. 

There’s a footplate for low pulley exercises and it can use both standard or Olympic plates. 

With a load limit of 800lbs, the TDS Super Lat Pulldown Machine is the best choice for strength training.

PROS

  • Handles Up To 800lbs
  • Unique Dual Guide Rods For Smooth Operation
  • Uses Olympic Or Standard Plates

CONS

  • Build Quality May Be A Little Subpar

6. Titan Fitness Lat Tower – Best Budget Weight Stack Lat Pulldown Machine

The Titan Fitness Lat Tower is manufactured using steel construction and comes with a 300lb weight stack. 

This machine has a powder coat finish for durability and is resistant to chips and rust. 

The thick thigh pads that can be adjusted to 6 positions. There’s also an 8-position adjustable footplate. This means the Lat Tower can fit a user of any size. 

Finally, there are band pegs for resistance bands if you want a greater load. These features and a good price point make the Titan Fitness Lat Tower the best budget weight stack lat pulldown machine.

PROS

  • 300lb Weight Stack & Resistance Band Pegs
  • 6-Position Adjustable Thigh Pads
  • 8-Position Adjustable Footplate

CONS

  • The Low Row Handle Is An Extra Cost Option
CHECK CURRENT PRICE

7. Fasesh Lat Pulldown Machine – Best For General Conditioning

The Fasesh Lat Pulldown machine is well constructed and designed for general conditioning as well as fitness enthusiasts. 

It’s manufactured using 11 gauge steel and can handle loads up to 395lbs. 

It includes a well-padded seat and thick padded knee pads. 

The downside is that there’s no footplate, but you can use the bottom frame if needed. 

The Fasesh comes in at an entry-level price point yet has good features. It accommodates standard plates but Olympic plates can be used with adapter sleeves. 

These features make the Fasesh Lat Pulldown Machine the best lat pulldown for general conditioning.

PROS

  • Features Heavy Duty Steel Construction
  • Holds Up To 395lbs
  • Well-Padded Seat & Knee Pads

CONS

  • Does Not Include A Footplate

8. Fitness Reality 710 Lat Pulldown Attachment For The Super Max Power Cage – The Best Lat Pulldown Attachment 

The Fitness Reality 710 Lat Attachment is meant to be an extra cost option for their Super Max Power Cage. This is a common option for most power racks and helps turn your rack into a self-contained home gym. 

The 710 can hold up to 270lbs. It takes standard or Olympic plates. There’s both a high and low pulley. 

There’s a cross-bar with thick padded thigh pads that attaches to the sides of the rack. This is an inventive feature you don’t see with many lat attachments. 

There’s also a bar extension on the bottom that acts as a footplate, again something you don’t usually see. 

This kind of innovative thinking makes the Fitness Reality 710 Lat Pulldown the best lat attachment available.

PROS

  • Features Knee Pads & Footplate
  • Handles Up To 270lbs
  • Can Use Olympic Or Standard Plates

CONS

  • You Have To Own A Super Max Power Cage To Use This Attachment

9. ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 – Best Budget Weight Stack Gym Lat Pulldown Machine

The ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 is a complete single-stack, multi-station home gym. 

The centerpiece of this type of unit is the lat pulldown feature. Like stand-alone lat machines, you can use this for both high and low pulley exercises. 

While there aren’t thigh pads, you can easily face towards the machine, or away from it. This allows a different feel for the lat pulldown exercise. 

Additionally, the low pulley on a machine allows for more variety with arm work. 

A lat pulldown machine is a unit that comes in more than one type, in this case, it is the primary feature that this home gym is built around. 

The other advantage of the XRS 50 is that it is an affordable option for most fitness enthusiasts. It’s also a good option for senior exercisers that want a simple, self-contained home gym with a lat pulldown machine included. 

The Gold’s Gym XRS 50 is no doubt the best budget weight stack home gym-based lat pulldown machine.

PROS

  • Affordable Home Gym With Lat Pulldown Machine
  • Good Variety Of High/Low Pulley Exercises
  • Good For Fitness & Older Exercisers

CONS

  • Not A Good Choice For Bodybuilders Or Athletes 

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Lat Pulldown Machine?

What Is A Lat Pulldown Machine

A lat pulldown machine is a piece of exercise equipment that allows you to work your lats the same way chin-ups and pull-ups do, but with less weight. 

Rather than pulling yourself up, you pull a bar down towards your upper chest. This means if you are not strong enough to do a lot of chins or pulls, you can build strength and effectively work your lats. 

When performing a lat pulldown, the most important point to remember is to think of your arms as hooks. You must begin the pull with your lats, and let the arms follow. Otherwise, you’re just working your biceps and your lats are not doing anything.

Types Of Lat Pulldown Machines

Stand-Alone – This is a self-contained machine that stands by itself. It’s not a big piece of equipment, so it will fit in most home gyms. The only downside is that it is tall, you’ll have to be sure your ceilings are high enough. 

Power Rack Attachment – Many users base their home gyms around a power rack. These units are designed to take a lat pulldown attachment. This is a good option when space and budget are limited. 

Single Stack Home Gym Attachment – A single stack home gym can come with any number of features. However, they will always come with a lat pulldown as a primary feature of the machine. This is another space and budget-saving option for your home gym. This is also a good choice for exercisers that just want to get in better shape, regardless of their age or experience.

Which one is best? The best choice is more about your goals, the amount of room you have, and how much you want to spend. Some of the best home gyms are little more than a power rack and either a free-standing lat pulldown or a lat attachment. This guide reviews the best choices available for any type of lat pulldown machine.

Benefits Of A Lat Pulldown Machine

Some users focus on bodyweight chins and pull-ups to work their lats. Other users either don’t have the strength or want a more versatile approach. 

Exercises You Can Do

There’s more to a lat machine than just pulldowns. You can also do triceps pressdowns, bicep curls, low cable rows, standing or seated low cable curls, and cable T-bar rows. There are numerous handles you can use which can open up even more exercises. This kind of versatility just doesn’t apply to a regular chin-up bar. 

Muscles Worked:

A vertical pulling motion as used with a lat pulldown machine will activate your latissimus dorsi (or, lat) muscles. Looking at the lat pulldown only, there are a lot of other muscles involved. 

These other muscles include: 

  • Rhomboids – Located on each side of the upper back, the rhomboid minor and rhomboid major help to retract the scapula.
  • Trapezius – This large triangular-shaped muscle extends from the middle of the spine, out to the shoulder, and to the base of the neck. Among bodybuilders, the traps really stand out in certain poses, such as the most-muscular pose.
  • Serratus anterior – This muscle sits on the front of your body and runs from the first to the eighth rib. It extends from the side of the chest over to the scapula.
  • Levator scapulae – Located at the back and side of your neck, this muscle helps lift the scapula.
  • Posterior deltoids – These are the outside back shoulder muscles. They help with the downward pulling motion. 
  • Pectoralis minor – This is the upper chest muscle. It’s a thin, triangle-shaped muscle that acts to draw the scapula up.
  • Biceps – In the lat pulldown, your biceps help with the pulling motion. As noted above, if your form is off, they will take over the movement and turn it into a biceps exercise. It bears repeating: start the pull with the lats and let the biceps follow. (1)

What To Look For In A lat Pulldown Machine

Seat – The seat of the pulldown machine will either make or break your workout experience. If a pulldown machine has an adjustable seat, you can adjust it to the right height to comfortably get the most out of your exercises. 

Weights Used – Most lat pulldown machines do not come with weight. If you are buying a plate loaded lat machine, the plates will be an extra cost option. However, if you have plates from a barbell set, they will work fine on a lat machine. 

Load Capacity – If you are a beginning exercise enthusiast, you may have an idea of how much weight you plan to lift. Take a look at the maximum weight capacity of the machine and think about your goals. Part of your choice should reflect the amount of weight you plan to lift.

Low Pulley – Most lat machines include a low pulley but you might find a pulldown machine without one. A pulldown machine with a low pulley allows you to do numerous exercises, such as curls and seated rows. 

Quality – A well-made lat pulldown machine will be more expensive but is worth the price. A good quality pulldown machine should be able to handle a lot of weight. It should have an adjustable seat, thigh pads, and even footplate. It should be made of heavy-duty steel for durability and strength.

Warranty – Most machines have a warranty. Look for a lat pulldown machine that has a lifetime warranty. 

Common Technique Problems

There are some common technique problems people develop when doing lat pulldown exercises. Poor technique means at best an ineffective workout and at worst, an injury.

Do Not Start The Pull With Your Biceps – As noted above, begin by flexing and pulling with your lats. Keep your biceps un-flexed and allow them to follow the pull. You can even try a thumbless grip to limit biceps involvement. You want to work your lats, not your arms.

Do Not Use Momentum – Let your muscles do the work, not momentum. If you cheat to pull the weight down, then just let it pull itself back to the starting position, you are not getting any benefit out of the exercise. Don’t worry about how much weight is on the machine, worry about how hard your muscles are working. If you need to, drop weight. Focus on the exercise, not on the weight stack. 

Do Not Pull the Bar Too Low – While you should pull the bar towards the top of your chest, you’ll take the lats out of the movement. You can also irritate your shoulders. Keep your form tight and don’t pull the bar too far down. If you can pull way down your chest for reps, you need to add a little weight.

Do Not Use a Super Wide Grip – Use a shoulder-width grip, or slightly wider. Don’t go too wide on the bar. Additionally, keep your chest out, and don’t let your elbows move forward. Your form is everything. (1)

Conclusion 

As you can see, there’s more to a lat pulldown machine than you may have thought. There are several types and a lot of choices but the Rogue Fitness Monster Lat Pulldown Machine is our best overall. 

The Rogue features a 300lb weight stack and is constructed using heavy-duty steel. It also has thick adjustable thigh pads and an adjustable footplate. 

If you want even more weight, the TDS Super Lat Pulldown Machine handles up to a whopping 800lbs. To handle that kind of weight, there’s a dual guide rod system with sealed ball bearings. The TDS Super Lat Pulldown is the best lat machine for strength training. 

If you are more interested in general fitness and conditioning, The Fasesh Lat Pulldown Machine is a sturdy unit designed for general conditioning and fitness. It can handle a lot of weight but has a price point that appeals to general exercisers. 

The best lat pulldown machines are right here in this guide, take a look and find the one that’s the best fit for you!

References:

  1. https://parallelcoaching.co.uk/lat-pull-down-technique-how-to-correct-a-client#:~:text=Anatomy%20fact%20of%20the%20Lat%20Pull%20Down%20technique,notably%20the%20latissimus%20dorsi%20or%20lats%20for%20short.
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