What are the best leg press machines of 2021?
The leg press machine is one of the pieces of equipment that fitness enthusiasts are the most excited to add to their home gyms.
These machines optimize each rep to build optimal lower body strength safely. Strong legs and glutes look great, but they also help you run faster and jump higher.
When choosing a leg press machine, you’ll have to consider how much space you have for it, and which elements will make the machine the safest and easiest to use.
For example, traditional plate-loaded leg-press machines can be more difficult for users to load and unload compared to selectorized weight stack machines, which allow users to insert pins at their desired weight they need. And with a vertical leg press machine, you’ll gain extra protection for your spine and neck, but there’s a slight risk with a vertical machine of getting stuck at the bottom of a rep if you’re not limber enough.
With that in mind, let’s explore some of the most popular leg press machines of 2021, and explain the advantages of each model.
Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press & Hack Squat
BEST OVERALL LEG PRESS
This is the best-selling model of leg press machine on our site. In fact, it’s so popular that it has been difficult to keep them in stock.
This plate-loaded machine was engineered to minimize impact on bones and joints by operating super smoothly, thanks to a quad track roller system. The heavy-duty steel frame provides a solid foundation for every workout.
The Body-Solid GLPH1100 Leg Press & Hack Squat features three locked start/stop positions. The user can actually switch the lock positions during a workout, which makes workouts more comfortable and safe.
The back and shoulder pads are 4 inches thick, contoured for maximum support, and are double-stitched and built to last. The back pads also have a quick flip-and-lock mechanism to make it easier to get settled in for your workout.
Plates are optional, but if you do decide to use them, you’ll need Olympic-style plates only. It’s easy to load the plates with the machine’s easy-access under-carriage plate load system.
Body-Solid Pro Clubline SLP500G Leg Press
BEST SEATED LEG PRESS
Although this machine is technically geared toward commercial gyms, we end up selling it to many residential clients who are interested in a leg press with a selectorized weight system.
This machine boasts “sophisticated pillow block and sealed ball-bearings for precision alignment and friction-free movement.” The machine was designed to reduce spinal compression “while allowing full range-of-motion in a natural biomechanical movement.”
The back pad is fully adjustable and made of high grade DuraFirm™ foam, which is extra-tough and tear-resistant.
The press plate was ergonomically designed for users of all sizes to get a complete leg and calf workout.
The machine uses nylon-coated, self-lubricating, aircraft-quality steel cables, fiberglass reinforced nylon pulleys with v-grooved channels, and chrome-plated solid steel guide rods and selector rods for smooth movement.
York Barbell STS 35-degree Leg Press
BEST COMMERCIAL LEG PRESS
This plate-loaded leg-press machine is ideal for commercial use. It has a wide range of seat-back adjustments to maximize range of motion for a variety of users and extra-wide footplate that accommodates users of all sizes. It also has built-in weight storage and can accommodate up to 1,200 pounds and heavy-duty linear bearings for smooth, low-friction movement.
Steelflex PLDP Plate Loaded Decline Leg Press
BEST LEG PRESS FOR SMALL GYMS (LIGHT COMMERCIAL)
The Steelflex PLDP Plate Loaded Decline Leg Press is another solid choice for a plate-loaded machine. It has a 12 gauge steel frame with an electro-statically applied powder coat, and industrial rated bearings that are sealed at all pivot points. With this machine, springs make it easy to make adjustments to the seat and weight.
Body-Solid Powerline PVLP 156x Vertical Leg Press
BEST VERTICAL LEG PRESS
This vertical machine has a smaller overall footprint than the other machines on this list, which makes it great for residential use. As the only vertical machine on this list, it may have special appeal to people who want to protect their back and neck. The Body-Solid Powerline PVLP 156x has an extra-thick back pad and contoured head and neck pad to lock you into the proper exercise position.
This machine is crafted of durable alloy steel with an extremely tough powder coat finish.
Features include dual adjustable 1/2" steel locking pins, three different starting and stopping positions, and a diamond plate steel press deck for no-slip control.
The three plate posts are one inch for standard weight plates, but you can add Olympic adapter sleeves to accommodate Olympic plates.
TDS 4-Way Leg Press, Hip Sled, Hack Squat TDS-35755-G
BEST LEG PRESS FOR HOME GYMS
This machine’s main benefit is its versatility. The 4-Way Hip Sled involves pushing the platform up and down and is easily converted from leg press (with options for 30, 40, and 45 degree angles) to calf raise to hack squat to forward thrust.
Another benefit of the 4-Way Hip Sled is that it’s relatively simple to learn to use, and it’s easy to adjust thanks to its adjustable solid steel deck plate.
The machine has four side thrust wheels to add stability to the exercise, as well as thick-stitched contoured shoulder pads and specially designed heavy-duty side frames.
This machine was built for use with Olympic plates.
Steelflex Plate Loaded Leg Press PLLP
BEST LEVERAGE LEG PRESS
The Steelflex PLLP Leg Press is a high-performance leg press machine that can press up to 500lbs. Its back pad adjusts to angles of 114 degrees, 121 degrees, and 127 degrees.
Like the other Steelflex model listed at #4, this machine has an electro-statically applied powder coat, industrial rated bearings, sealed bearings at all pivot points, and springs that make adjustments quick and easy.