A leg press machine can be a valuable addition to your home gym. This is especially true if you cannot safely perform squats or do not enjoy doing squats.
While it’s similar to squats, the leg press directly isolates the legs.
If you want complete leg development, you should include several exercises and the best leg press machines can help you do that. This guide will help you make the right choice.
Let’s get going!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick Answer – The 8 Best Leg Press Machines
- Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press – Best Overall
- TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press – Best Vertical Leg Press Machine
- Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat – Best Combo Leg Press Machine
- Body-Solid LVLP Leverage Horizontal Leg Press – Best Leverage Leg Press
- Body-Solid Powerline PVLP156X Vertical Leg Press – Best Budget Leg Press Machine
- Yukon Fitness VLP-154 Vertical Leg Press – Best Compact Vertical Leg Press
- Powertec Compact Leg Sled – Best Space Saving Leg Press
- Powertec 45 Degree Angled Leg Press – Best Compact 45 Degree Leg Press
Reviews – The Best Leg Press Machines
1. Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press – Best Overall
- Handles Up To 1000 lbs
- Quick Change From Leg Press To Hack Squat
- Band Pegs For Extra Resistance
- Fits Users Up To 7’ Tall
- May Be Too Big For Some Home Gyms
- A Little Pricey
The Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press is a combo leg press/hack squat unit that’s built using a 2″x 4″ steel mainframe.
This leg press can handle up to 1000 lbs and uses Olympic plates. It has a well-padded seat and can accommodate users up to 7’ tall.
It has an adjustable footplate and an exclusive adjustable calf block. There are 4 plate storage sleeves and 4 band pegs,5 racking positions and 5 safety lockout positions.
It also can change from leg press to hack squats quickly and easily. Plus, there’s a lifetime structural warranty.
The commercial level quality and features make the Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press the best overall leg press machine.
2. TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press – Best Vertical Leg Press Machine
- 1000lb Max Load
- Features 3” Padded Backrest
- Adjustable Safety Bars – Go As Deep As You Want
- Assembly Instructions May Be Hard To Follow
The TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press can handle up to 1000 lbs and can use either Olympic or standard plates.
This leg press is made using heavy-duty steel construction with an extra-wide steel footplate.
The backrest features 3” of dense padding for good back support. It’s positioned at a slight decline, which is ideal for pressing the weight directly upward.
The TDS Vertical Leg Press also has adjustable safety bars. The safety bars can be set at a variety of heights, so you can press as deep as you want in complete safety.
The build quality, lifetime warranty, and other features make the TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press the best vertical leg press machine.
3. Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat – Best Combo Leg Press Machine
- 2-In-1 Combo
- Holds up To 1,000 lbs
- Easy Change-Over From Leg Press To Hack Squat
- Does Not Use Standard Plates
- Leg Press Foot Plate Not As Wide As Hack Squat Foot Plate
The Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press is a combination 45 degree angled leg press/hack squat machine. This is a standard combination that you’ll find on many angled leg press machines.
The Body-Solid can handle up to 1000lbs and uses Olympic plates. It features a heavy-duty 2 in x 4 in 11 gauge steel mainframe for maximum strength and stability.
There’s a quad track roller system for smooth operation.
The back pads use a quick flip-and-lock mechanism for fast change-over from leg presses to hack squats.
There are 3 lockout positions for safety and to provide different stop/start options.
All of these features make the Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat the best combo leg press machine.
4. Body-Solid LVLP Leverage Horizontal Leg Press – Best Leverage Leg Press
- Lifetime Warranty
- Handles Up To 1000lbs
- Commercial Quality
- A Little Pricey
The Body-Solid LVLP Leverage Horizontal Leg Press is a commercial quality product that features heavy-duty 2″ x 3″ 11 gauge steel construction.
It has durable double-stitched padding and triple chromed plate holders.
This leg press can handle up to 1000lbs and uses Olympic plates. It features a direct drive press system for even resistance and a large pivoting footplate. It’s able to accommodate various foot positions and has an adjustable backrest.
This leg press is designed for commercial use. This means it has more than enough strength and stability for your home gym, no matter how hard you train.
Added to all these features is a full lifetime warranty on everything. That makes the Body-Solid LVLP Leverage Horizontal Leg Press the best leverage leg press machine.
5. Body-Solid Powerline PVLP156X Vertical Leg Press – Best Budget Leg Press Machine
- Good Design For Smaller Home Gyms
- Holds Up To 400lbs
- Features Back & Neck Support
- Not Enough Weight For Stronger Lifters
The Body-Solid Powerline PVLP156X Vertical Leg Press is a good choice for budget-conscious home gym owners.
It’s made using an alloy steel frame and can handle up to 400lbs.
The PVLP156X features thick padding for good back support and a thickly padded neck pad. It’s plate loaded and will take Olympic or standard plates. There’s also 3 different starting and stopping positions.
The downside is that the PVLP156X won’t hold enough weight for more advanced lifters. Still, the features, space-efficient design, and value price point make the Body-Solid Powerline PVLP156X Vertical Leg Press the best budget leg press machine.
6. Yukon Fitness VLP-154 Vertical Leg Press – Best Compact Vertical Leg Press
- Holds Up To 600 lbs.
- Well Padded Back Support & Head Rest
- Narrow, Compact Design
- Good Price Point
- Uses Plastic Bushings
- May Be Too Noisy For Some Users
The Yukon Fitness VLP-154 Vertical Leg Press is designed for small home gyms due to its narrow design.
It can handle up to 600 lbs, making it a good choice for all but the strongest lifters.
The VLP-154 uses either standard or Olympic plates and features a padded angled back support and headrest. It’s manufactured using heavy-duty 2” x 2” steel tubing and has a non-slip diamond tread footplate.
The features of this leg press combined with its compact design and good price point make the Yukon Fitness VLP-154 the best compact vertical leg press.
7. Powertec Compact Leg Sled – Best Space Saving Leg Press
- Designed To Fit In Small Home Gyms
- Handles Up To 700lbs
- Works Well For Calf Raises
- May Be Too Small For Taller Users
The Powertec Compact Leg Sled is made using heavy-duty steel construction and can handle up to 700lbs.
The Leg Sled uses 8 nylon bearing wheels that provide smooth operation. It features a well-padded, adjustable seat that helps prevent back pain.
The adjustable over-sized foot plate and hand grips lock into place to ensure the right path of motion. The Powertec Compact Leg Sled is a good choice for shorter users and is designed to fit in small home gyms. It’s meant to be the most compact leg press in its class. These features make the Powertec Compact Leg Sled the best space saving leg press machine.
8. Powertec 45 Degree Angled Leg Press – Best Compact 45 Degree Leg Press
- Handles Up To 1000lbs
- Compact Design
- Features A Unique Roller System For Smooth Operation
- Only Uses Olympic Plates
The Powertec 45 Degree Angled Leg Press features a compact design yet can handle up to 1000 lbs. This leg press features heavy-duty steel construction.
The carriage is driven by a roller system that uses bearing-driven, nylon reinforced wheels for smooth operation.
Additionally, the Powertec has dual safety catches on each side. Plus, it has a large footplate and an adjustable backrest for different leg press start and stop positions.
These features make the Powertec 45 Degree Angled Leg Press the best compact 45-degree leg press machine.
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Leg Press Machine
Types Of Leg Press Machines
There are several different types of leg press machines available. Here’s a look at each type:
Vertical Leg Press
This is the original type of leg press machine. With this design, you’re flat on your back with your legs directly under the weights. You lower and push the weight back up with 100% leg strength. This is a version of the leg press you will definitely feel in your back. It’s important to choose a model with good, thick padding to avoid back pain.
Seated (Horizontal) Leg Press
The seated leg press start position is like sitting in a chair with your legs straight out, as if your legs were resting on an ottoman. The seated leg press will either have a footplate that moves while you stay stationary or will have a seat that moves as you press the weight.
45 Degree Angled Leg Press
This is the most modern version of the leg press machine. These machines are also designed to be a hack squat machine. It positions you and the weights at a 45-degree angle.
The Difference Between An Angled Leg Press Machine & Hack Squat Machine
An angled leg press machine and hack squat machine look similar. Often, the same machine can be used for both exercises. Unless a machine is specifically designed for both exercises, these are two separate leg machines. Here’s the difference between exercises: the leg press is done by pressing with your lower body while your back, neck & head are stationary. A hack squat is done by resting the pads on your shoulders and squatting up and down.
Benefits Of A Leg Press Machine
Training with a leg press machine has several benefits, including:
Safety – Regular squatting with heavy weight can put a lot of strain on your back. The use of a leg press machine with well-padded back support allows you to reduce stress on the back. On several leg press machines, you can adjust your position so that you can press in the most back-comfortable position. While it’s true you can squat safely in a power rack, you can perform leg presses in complete safety. You can also safely handle a huge amount of weight, usually more than you can squat.
Targeted Exercise – As mentioned above, you can handle a lot of weight on the leg press, and it’s all targeted directly on the legs. You can adjust most machines for depth, so you can go deep on this exercise. Squats are an exercise that works the whole body while leg presses isolate the legs. If your legs are a priority in your exercise program, by all means squat, but then rack the bar and jump on a leg press machine.
Convenience – A complete home gym will include a leg press. Set your home gym up right, and you’ll never pay for a regular gym membership again.
No Spine/Core Engagement – If your back is problematic, leg presses are the way to go. They do not engage the back muscles the way squats do. Also, if your core is weak, you can work heavy leg presses while doing separate work on your core.
More Weight – The leg press lets you handle more weight since you’re pushing from a stable position. It’s not uncommon for bodybuilders and other athletes to be able to handle ridiculous amounts of weight on the leg press.
Variety – Depending on the machine, you can do more than just a leg press. You can do calf raises and hack squats. Also, by changing your foot position, you can easily target different areas of the thighs and calves.
What You Should Look For In A Leg Press Machine
Budget – Be mindful of your budget. A leg press machine is not always inexpensive, so you may have to look for good price points. Also, remember to buy to support your goals. In other words, don’t sacrifice weight capacity, options, and quality for a low price. Of course, there’s no need to buy a big machine that can handle 1000 pounds if you only plan to press around 300-400lbs.
Weight Capacity – As noted above, think about how much you plan to lift. What are your goals? If you’re a bodybuilder or athlete where strength matters, then, by all means, think in terms of a machine that can handle 1000 lbs. If you are a fitness-minded person and press 200-300lbs with no interest in moving up in weight, there are great options that can hold 400-600lbs. It’s all based on your goals.
Footprint – Leg press machines can be big. Sure, there are compact designs available, but you have to be sure you have space. Once it’s in place, chances are it’s not going anywhere. You should measure the space you have available and make sure it will fit. You’ll want to be sure you have room to move around it. We have featured several compact designs in this guide. This way you can make the best choice no matter what the size your home gym is.
Features – What features are you looking for? Can it also be used as a hack-squat machine? Or do you only want a basic machine? Again, this is goal-related, and you should choose accordingly.
Well Manufactured – Quality construction and warranty go hand in hand. If you plan to put 1000lbs on your leg press machine, you better be sure it can handle it. Look for heavy-duty steel construction. Also, look for a lifetime warranty.
Is The Leg Press An Effective Machine For A Home Gym
When it comes to legs, many home gyms owners stick with squats and possibly leg extensions/leg curls. Calf raises can be hard to do if you want to use a lot of weight. The addition of a leg press machine, as noted above, is based on goals. Of course, squats are your go-to leg exercise because they work so many muscle groups. Still, a leg press can be the better choice if injuries prevent you from doing squats. Often, a leg press is used as part of rehab, so having a machine as part of your home gym can help. Not to mention, serious bodybuilders go for complete development, and the leg press is one more assurance of a completely developed leg. To that end, here are the muscles worked by the leg press:
- Gluteus maximus
If you’re serious about your home gym and your overall development, a leg press machine is a valuable addition. Think about how many pieces of equipment you have. Now think about all the exercises you can do for the upper body. If all you have available for legs is squats, you may be short-changing your development.
Investing in a leg press machine makes a lot of sense. The best choice comes down to space, budget, and goals.
If you have space and a good budget, the Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press is our best overall. It’s a combination leg press/hack squat machine that’s built to last with a 2″ x 4″ steel mainframe. The Force USA can handle up to 1000 lbs, so you know you won’t outgrow it.
If space is a concern, the Powertec Compact Leg Sled is the best space saving leg press machine. It’s made using heavy-duty steel construction and holds up to 700lbs. It’s a great choice for shorter users and small home gyms.
If budget is a concern, the Body-Solid Powerline PVLP156X Vertical Leg Press is the best budget vertical leg press machine. It features an alloy steel frame, can hold up to 400lbs, and will take Olympic or standard plates.
As you can see, there are several good choices available. If you want a leg press machine for your home gym, let this guide help you make the investment today!