Affiliate Disclosure
Leg Press Machines

8 BEST Leg Press Machines (Buyers Guide)

Leg press machines are a great way to safely work out your lower body. They’re great at simulating a squat movement in a controlled range, and many people prefer them for their safety and ease of use.

While leg press machines offer several advantages, it can be tough to pick one for home gyms or light commercial settings. We’ve analyzed hundreds of reviews, specs, features, promotional materials, and more to help you find the best leg press machine for your needs.

In this guide, you’ll learn about:


Quick Glance: 4 of 8
Titan Leg Press Hack Squat MachineBest 45-Degree: Titan 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

“This is a great leg press / hack squat combo machine for home gyms and low-volume professional settings.”
Check Price
Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat MachineBest Hack Squat Leg Press: Body-Solid 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

“Factoring in both quality and price, this is one of the best leg press / hack squat combo machines you can get for your home gym.”
Check Price
TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press MachineBest Vertical Leg Press Machine: TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press Machine

“For home gyms and light professional settings, this is the best vertical leg press machine you can get. It’s sturdy, high-quality, beautifully finished, and comes with a lifetime warranty.”
Check Price
Powertec Fitness Compact Leg Sled BlackBest Seated Leg Press: Powertec Fitness Compact Leg Sled

“This is a hardy, compact seated leg press machine that’s perfect for home gyms and smaller professional settings.”
Check Price

Types of Leg Press Machines

There are a few different types of leg press machines, each with their own advantages. Here’s a brief overview.

The standard 45-degree leg press machine is what most people have in mind when discussing leg press machines. They’re typically designed such that you recline in a seat with your back in a neutral, supported position. A plate above the seat angled at 45 degrees can be pressed by the legs from this position.

The 45-degree leg press machine is a safe alternative to squatting. While you won’t work the core and other stabilizing muscle groups as much, you don’t have to worry about failure. Practically all 45-degree leg press machines feature a safety mechanism to prevent the weight from pushing your knees too far back.

Hack squat leg press machines simulate more of a traditional squat movement. Typically, these machines feature shoulder pads to bear the load, with a lower plate to stand on. They’re often angled up to 45 degrees, resulting in a leaned back position when using the hack squat machine.

Hack squats themselves focus more on quadriceps recruitment than regular squats. The feet are placed a little farther forward on the plate to focus on this muscle group. However, hack squat machines can also be used to perform regular machine-loaded squats by adjusting the position of your feet.

Like other leg press machines, one of the advantages of hack squat leg press machines is that they’re typically safer than regular squats. Most hack squat leg press machines have a safety lock that prevents the shoulder pads from getting too close to the floor. This helps to ensure your don’t get crushed if you fail a repetition.

As the name suggests, vertical leg press machines are set up vertically, with the weight directly above the user. Vertical leg press machines are more commonly seen in home gyms as they tend to be a little more inexpensive.

There are a few trade-offs for the cheaper price tag. For one, lying down on your back to perform a squat movement is a little awkward. Some people may have issues with too much blood running to the head. However, the vertical leg press machine is a very economical way to simulate the seated leg press movement.

As with most leg press machines, high-quality vertical leg press machines are built with a safety mechanism to prevent the weight from crashing down on you. If you fail a repetition, the platform will typically be stopped at position high enough for you to slip out.

Seated leg press machines come in a few varieties. Either the seat will be moved with the user while loaded with weight, or a plate will be loaded and pressed away from the seat. These leg press machines are usually closer to horizontal than most other machines, but can be angled somewhat.

Seated leg press machines are useful in that they work muscle groups differently than regular squats. The seated position changes the body mechanics of the movement. The level of quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes involvement can be altered by changing your foot placement.

Seated leg press machines are among the safest leg machines. The closer-to-horizontal position ensures your body is more upright and gives you better control over your positioning. If you fail a repetition and go all the way down to the safety mechanism, they tend to be easier to slip out of.


Top 2 45-Degree Leg Press Machines

Best 45-Degree Leg Press Machine

Titan 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

Type: 45 degree / hack squat

Max Load: 875 lb / 397 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

This is our number one pick for the best 45-degree leg press machine. You’ll notice right off the bat that it’s a hybrid. It’s cleverly designed such that you can perform either the traditional leg press by lying on the lower portion or a hack squat by standing up.

For the 45-degree leg press portion, you start by simply lowering the upper plate and loading Olympic weight plates onto the weight posts toward the top. After ensuring the backrest is flipped into the proper position, you recline into the seat. When your legs are supporting the plate, the safety handles below the seat can be used to unlock the leg press machine.

To use this machine in the hack squat mode, you make a few quick adjustments. First, the upper plate is flipped down into its backrest position and the lower backrest is flipped up to reveal the lower platform. Next, load up your Olympic plates onto the same weight posts. Finally, when in position, simply flip the safety bars on either side of the leg press machine to begin the movement.

This video demonstrates the similar function of the Body-Solid Leg Press / Hack Squat machine, featured below. The Body-Solid machine is a little more high-end, but this video does a great job at demonstrating the use of these combo machines.

This leg press machine has a few other features and goodies. For example, the lower backrest for the 45-degree leg press can be adjusted. Using a simple pull pin, you can change the angle of the backrest to alter the targeted muscle groups.

As a bonus, this leg press machine also features a storage option for your Olympic weight plates. Two vertical weight posts at the back can hold your plates while they’re not in use.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a great leg press / hack squat combo machine for home gyms and low-volume professional settings.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 leg press / hack squat combo
  • High weight capacity (875 lb)
  • Olympic-size weight posts
  • Professional quality, home gym pricing

Cons

  • The leg press plate isn’t super wide
  • Hack squat may be too short for people taller than roughly 6′ 5″
  • The cushioning is good, but not great

Runner-Up 45-Degree Leg Press Machine

Powertec Fitness Leg Press

Type: 45 degree leg press

Max Load: 1000 lb / 454 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

This is your standard, high-quality 45-degree leg pres machine. If features a reclined seated with nearby safety handlebars used to release or lock up the weight. With four different weight posts, the top plate can be loaded with up to 1000 pounds of Olympic-size weight plates.

Here’s a video of the Powertec Fitness leg press machine in action:

At a maximum load of 1000 pounds and a relatively low price compared to other leg press machines, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value. It’s the perfect 45-degree leg press machine for home gyms.

Another factor that makes this leg press machine great for home gyms is its small footprint. This machine is 79 inches long and 36.6 inches wide, making it one of the smallest leg press machines available.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a sturdy leg press machine with a small footprint. At a max load of 1000 lb, it’s a great pick for even the most intense athlete’s home gym.

Pros

  • Really high max load (1000 lb)
  • Fantastic price-to-max-load ratio
  • Small footprint (79″ x 36.6″)
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Instructions are poorly written (though assembly is fairly easy)
  • Weight posts are roughly textured, making adding/removing plates a little more effortful

Top 2 Hack Squat Leg Press Machines

Best Hack Squat Leg Press

Body-Solid 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

Type: Hack squat / leg press

Max Load: 1000 lb / 454 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

This is an absolutely fantastic 2-in-1 hack squat and leg press machine for home gyms. As the name implies, it can be used both as a standard 45-degree leg press machine as well as a hack squat machine, with only a few quick tweaks.

The two weight posts on either side of the sled can bear up to 1000 pounds combined. For even the most demanding athletes, this should be more than enough weight capacity. And, of course, the weight posts are Olympic size.

This leg press / hack squat combo machine features heavily cushioned shoulder pads to offer maximum protection and weight distribution. In addition, both the hack squat back support and leg press back support feature ergonomic curves to help keep your spine in a neutral position.

This leg press machine features three different safety lockout positions so you can choose the height that works best for you. And it goes without saying, but the bottom-end safety will help to prevent injury in the case of failing a repetition.

BOTTOM LINE

Factoring in both quality and price, this is one of the best leg press / hack squat combo machines you can get for your home gym.

Pros

  • Really high max load (1000 lb)
  • Thick padding
  • Ergonomic back support
  • Lots of glowing reviews on Amazon

Cons

  • No Olympic plate storage
  • Assembly instructions could use improvement

Professional Pick

Bodycraft 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hip Sled

Type: Hack squat / leg press

Max Load: 1000 lb / 454 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

This is a sturdy, comfortable, high-end hack squat and leg press machine perfect for professional environments. It’s built with oversized shoulder pads to provide more cushion and support while squatting. And, naturally, it’s quick and easy to switch to leg press mode.

This hack squat and leg press machine can support a hefty maximum load of up to 1000 pounds. The two weight posts on either side of the sled hold up to this weight in standard Olympic weight plates. Without the plates, the starting weight is 75 pounds.

The top plate for the leg press portion of the machine can be adjusted to 5 different angles. You can alter the angle and foot positioning to focus on different muscle groups. You can also simply place your heels off the edge of the plate to perform calf raises.

In addition, this hack squat / leg press machine combo comes with a 3-inch block that’s perfect for calf raises. And for those who are a little shorter, the block can also be used to get a little more height without bottoming out on the machine.

Bodycraft also offers a fairly extensive warranty on this hack squat / leg press machine combo. For residential use, they offer a lifetime warranty on defects and workmanship of both the frame and parts. For light commercial settings, they offer 10 years on the frame, 2 years on the parts, and 6 months on wear items.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a top-notch, professional-level hack squat and leg press combo machine. You can’t go wrong with the sturdy build quality and extensive warranty.

Pros

  • Really high max load (1000 lb)
  • Dense foam padding
  • Premium build quality
  • Extensive warranty
  • Highly-reviewed on Amazon

Cons

  • Without the added block, the range is a little lacking for shorter users

Top 2 Vertical Leg Press Machines

Best Vertical Leg Press Machine

TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press Machine

Type: Vertical leg press

Max Load: 1000 lb / 454 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

When it comes to raw specs, this is one of the best vertical leg press machines you can buy. This sturdy vertical leg press machine can support up to 1000 pounds of standard or Olympic plates. The heavy-duty steel construction finished in silver grey is built to handle even the most intense workouts.

The backrest is built at a slight decline to put you in the ideal position to press the weight directly upward. It’s upholstered with three inches of dense padding, held together with thick stitching.

One advantage this vertical leg press machine has over others is its adjustable safety bars. Without the stoppers in place, the bar can go all the way down to the backrest. As the safety stoppers can be placed at a variety of heights, you can ensure your press is as deep as you want it without compromising on safety.

All things considered, this is a superb vertical leg press machine with excellent build quality and finish. It’s ready for high-performance leg workouts, perfect for both home gyms and professional settings. TDS also offers a lifetime warranty on this vertical leg press machine.

BOTTOM LINE

For home gyms and light professional settings, this is the best vertical leg press machine you can get. It’s sturdy, high-quality, beautifully finished, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Really high max load (1000 lb)
  • Supports standard and Olympic plates
  • Super sturdy build quality
  • Adjustable safety levels

Cons

  • Assembly instructions could use improvement

Runner-Up Vertical Leg Press Machine

Valor Fitness Vertical Leg Press Machine

Type: Vertical leg press

Max Load: 500 lb / 227 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

Price to performance, this is the one of the best vertical leg press machines for home gyms. It’s built tough and adaptable, supporting up to 500 pounds of standard or Olympic size plates, so you can get a squat-simulating workout at home.

This heavy-duty steel vertical leg press machine is fitted with a slightly declined backrest and inclined headrest, putting you in the perfect position to leg press straight upward. The backrest and headrest are upholstered with high-density, dual-layered vinyl padding to ensure longevity.

For the main mechanism, two solid steel shafts are joined by a foot plate topped with three weight posts that can be fitted with Olympic sleeve adapters. The height of the vertical bars allows for a full range of motion when performing the leg press, but the frame safely stops the bars if you fail a repetition.

This vertical leg press machine comes with a fairly decent warranty. Valor Fitness offers a 3-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty on the padding, and 1-year warranty on the hardware.

BOTTOM LINE

This compact, robust vertical leg press machine is a great option for home gyms.

Pros

  • Respectable maximum weight (500 lb)
  • Supports standard and Olympic plates
  • Lower price point
  • Small footprint
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Backrest angle isn’t adjustable
  • Footplate is a little narrow

Other Leg Press Machines

Best Seated Leg Press Machine

Powertec Fitness Compact Leg Sled

Type: 45 degree leg press

Max Load: 700 lb / 318 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

This seated sled leg press is a great option for home gyms. As this is a sled leg press, the seat itself smoothly glides along the rails while the user pushes against the bottom plate. The weight posts on either side of the seat can hold a combined 700 pounds—plenty for most people. (That’s in addition to user weight.)

The seat has an adjustable back, allowing the seat angle to be adjusted with a simple pull pin. Similarly, the bottom plate angle can be adjusted with a pull pin to alter your foot placement. A combination of angle changes and alternate foot placement can be used to focus on different muscle groups.

This leg press machine also has a small footprint. At only 67.1 inches long and 46.5 inches wide, it’s a perfect option for home gyms and more compact professional settings.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a hardy, compact seated leg press machine that’s perfect for home gyms and smaller professional settings.

Pros

  • High maximum load (700 lb)
  • Adjustable back and bottom plate
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Assembly may be tricky for some

Leg Press Alternative

Body-Solid Leverage Squat and Calf Raise Machine

Type: 45 degree leg press

Max Load: 800 lb / 363 kg

Material: Steel

Safety: Yes

As an alternative to leg press machines, Body-Solid’s leverage squat and calf raise machine is a great option for leg workouts. After loading Olympic weight plates onto the side weight posts, you can lift the load via the shoulder pads and perform squats or calf raises.

This high-tensile, 12-gauge steel leg press machine alternative can handle up to 800 pounds of Olympic plates. The dense, durable padding is positioned such that the load is distributed across your shoulders and upper back. Simply place your feet on the angled plate to perform squats. You can also place the front of your feet on the crossbar to perform calf raises.

When in position, you can easily reach the spring-loaded lockout handle to engage the weight. Once disengaged, the machine allows you to squat deep enough to get a full range of motion. And, of course, it will bottom out at a low position with the safety catch so you can bail from a failed repetition.

Body-Solid also offers a fairly extensive warranty for this machine. For home use, they offer a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. They also offer a more limited warranty for commercial environments.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a fantastic, high-quality leverage squat and calf raise machine that’s perfect for home gyms and low-volume professional settings.

Pros

  • High weight capacity (800 lb)
  • Olympic-size weight posts
  • Super sturdy build quality
  • Thick padding
  • Extensive warranty

Cons

  • Assembly instructions could use improvement

Weight Plates

Once you’ve picked your leg press machine, you’ll need some weight plates! Here are three we recommend.

Best Olympic Weight Plates

CAP Barbell 2-Inch Olympic Grip Plate

This is one of the highest quality sets of Olympic weight plates available on Amazon. The reviews are glowing and plentiful.

Solid cast iron

Baked enamel coating

Available in 5 to 45 lb

Best Bumper Plates

HulkFit Color Coded Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates

If you plan on using your Olympic weight plates for any free lifting, it might be a good idea to get bumper plates. You don’t have to worry about these rubber-coated plates scuffing up your floor or equipment.

Solid rubber

Color coded

Available in 10 to 45 lb

Best Bulk Bumper Set

OneFitWonder 230 lb Black Bumper Plates Set

If you’re looking to save some money on a full set, this complete set of 230 pounds of bumper plates is a good choice. It’s also a great option for anyone who doesn’t like color-coded bumper plates.

Solid rubber

Bulk value

2 x 45, 35, 25, 10 lb ea


Benefits of Leg Press Machines

Why would anyone choose a leg press machine instead of a squat rack or something similar? There are a few benefits of leg press machines compared against other options

  • Safety

First of all, leg press machines are generally safer than free weight alternatives. Squat racks can be quite dangerous for the inexperienced. They’re even more dangerous without safety bars.

Leg press machines, on the other hand, almost always feature safety mechanisms. If you fail a repetition on a leg press machine, it can stop the weight at a certain point to protect your joint. You just have to make sure your machine has a safety feature that like.

Every leg press machine listed in this buyers guide features some sort of safety mechanism.

  • Ease of Use

In a similar vein, one of the benefits of leg press machines is that they require less experience than squatting with a barbell. It can take quite a bit of experience and practice to work up to the ideal squat form. There are lots of biomechanical factors to take into account.

While leg press machines do obviously require proper form, it’s a lot easier to learn how to use them. You don’t have to worry nearly as much about, say, the exact position of your back and hips. Typically, leg press machines are built to put you into the best position.

  • Muscle Groups

Another benefit of leg press machines is that they simulate real world squats fairly well. While leg extension and leg curl machines are great in their own right, they only work isolated muscle groups. Leg press machines, on the other hand, work several different muscles groups, much like squats.

Muscles Worked:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Calves
Man squatting - Leg Press Machines
Leg press machines are safe alternative to free weight squats.
  • Versatility

One benefit of leg press machines compared to other machines is their versatility. By moving your feet into different positions, you can focus more work on your quadriceps or hamstrings. Leg extension and leg curls machines, on the other hand, can only each focus on a single muscle group.

Leg press machines can also be used for calf workouts. By placing the fronts of your feet on the platform with your heels off, you can push down with your feet to work you calves.

By keeping your legs straight, you can focus more on the gastrocnemius. That’s the larger muscle higher up in the calf that most people think of as “the calf.” By bending your knees slightly, you can focus more on the soleus. That’s the smaller muscle in the lower portion of the calf.

  • Price

A huge benefit of leg press machines is their price. Compared to a full-fledged squat rack, leg press machines can be much more inexpensive.

Of course, high-end leg press machines can still be pretty pricey. But compared to high-end squat racks, they’re still much cheaper. If you’re deciding between a leg press machine a squat rack and price is a big factor, a leg press machine might be the best option.


Summary

Leg press machines are a safe and effective alternative to free weight squats. They come in several different varieties, each with their own advantages. Adding a leg press machine to your routine can help take your lower body workouts to the next level.

Equipped with the information from this buyers guide, you should be able to pick the best leg press machine for your needs.

Best Leg Press Machines Overview
Titan Leg Press Hack Squat MachineBest 45-Degree: Titan 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

“This is a great leg press / hack squat combo machine for home gyms and low-volume professional settings.”
Check Price
Powertec Fitness Leg Press, Black45-Degree Runner-Up: Powertec Fitness Leg Press

“This is a sturdy leg press machine with a small footprint. At a max load of 1000 lb, it’s a great pick for even the most intense athlete’s home gym.”
Check Price
Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press/Hack Squat MachineBest Hack Squat Leg Press: Body-Solid 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine

“Factoring in both quality and price, this is one of the best leg press / hack squat combo machines you can get for your home gym.”
Check Price
Bodycraft F660 Leg Press/Hip SledHack Squat Professional Pick: Bodycraft 2-in-1 Leg Press / Hip Sled

“This is a top-notch, professional-level hack squat and leg press combo machine. You can’t go wrong with the sturdy build quality and extensive warranty.”
Check Price
TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press MachineBest Vertical Leg Press Machine: TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press Machine

“For home gyms and light professional settings, this is the best vertical leg press machine you can get. It’s sturdy, high-quality, beautifully finished, and comes with a lifetime warranty.”
Check Price
Valor Fitness CC-10 Home Gym Vertical Leg Press Machine - Strengthens and Tones Glutes, Hamstrings, and CalvesRunner-Up Vertical Leg Press Machine: Valor Fitness Vertical Leg Press Machine

“This compact, robust vertical leg press machine is a great option for home gyms.”
Check Price
Powertec Fitness Compact Leg Sled BlackBest Seated Leg Press: Powertec Fitness Compact Leg Sled

“This is a hardy, compact seated leg press machine that’s perfect for home gyms and smaller professional settings.”
Check Price
Body-Solid Leverage Squat and Calf Raise Machine (GSCL360)Leg Press Alternative: Body-Solid Leverage Squat and Calf Raise Machine

“This is a fantastic, high-quality leverage squat and calf raise machine that’s perfect for home gyms and low-volume professional settings.”
Check Price


More for You

Rice Protein Powder
Best Rice Protein Powders (2019 Guide)
Rice protein is one of the best types of plant-based protein sources. But which rice protein powder is the best Read more.
Stair Stepper Machine Buyers Guide
Stair Stepper Machines: 2019 Buyers Guide
Since Rocky’s training montage in the titular 1976 film, stair climbing has been a widely popular form of cardio and Read more.
White, Beige, and Brown Fat
White, Beige, and Brown Fat Explained
There’s been a lot of buzz around brown fat over the past decade or so. But what is brown fat, Read more.
Best Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements
Best Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements
Turmeric is a root in the ginger family with an earthy flavor. It’s a popular cooking spice in India, and Read more.
Cable Crossover Machines Buyers Guide
Cable Crossover Machines: 2019 Buyers Guide
Looking to flesh out your home gym? Cable crossover machines are some of the most useful pieces of fitness equipment, Read more.
Portable Infrared Saunas Guide
The BEST Portable Infrared Saunas (Buyers Guide & Health Benefits)
Sitting in sweltering heat may seem like torture, but sauna use has been a relaxing tradition for centuries. From Native Read more.
Adjustable Kettlebells
11 BEST Adjustable Kettlebells (2019 Buyers Guide)
Kettlebells are all the rage. They’re a super versatile piece of fitness equipment, and much cheaper than giant machines. Adjustable Read more.
Portable Steam Saunas Guide
Portable Steam Saunas: Top 5 Picks + Science-Backed Benefits
Enduring hot, sweaty temperatures in a small tent isn’t a new fad. Various cultures have carried out similar traditions since Read more.
Leg Press Machines
8 BEST Leg Press Machines (Buyers Guide)
Leg press machines are a great way to safely work out your lower body. They’re great at simulating a squat Read more.
Treadmills Under $1000
Treadmills Under $1000: 2019 Buyers Guide
Treadmills are powerful tools for improving health and fitness, but they can be spendy. To stay on budget, many home Read more.
Best Manual Treadmills Guide
Manual Treadmills: 2019 Buyers Guide
Manual treadmills are a great way to work on cardio while saving money, space, and power. And they do it Read more.
Stall Bars Guide
Stall Bars / Swedish Ladders: 2019 Guide & Reviews
Stall bars (also called wall bars, stall walls, Swedish ladders, and Swedish walls) are pieces of gymnastics equipment featured in Read more.