Which lat pulldown machine is best?

If you’re trying to strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back, the lat pulldown is one of the best exercises to perform. Lat pulldowns are performed on lat pulldown machines. These keep you in a seated position with braces for your legs and have an overhead bar you pull down to chest level, before releasing to an extended arm position.

The XMark Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown Machine is a great multifunctional machine that can be used to perform several exercises.

What to know before you buy a lat pulldown machine

Types of weights

Lat pulldown machines use either weight plates or weight stacks. Generally, weight plates need to be purchased separately, while weight stacks come with the machine. 

There are two types of weight plates, so you make sure you purchase the correct type for your machine. Olympic weight plates have a 2-inch hole in the center, and standard weight plates have a 1-inch hole in the center. You can buy adapter sleeves for your lat machine if it has 1-inch posts and you want to use Olympic plates on it.

Weight capacity

Lat pulldown machines vary in how much weight they can handle. Some models designed for home use max out at just 150 pounds. On the upper end of the spectrum, you can find machines that can handle 400 or 500 pounds. If you’re a heavy lifter, pay close attention to this, as using a lat machine with more than the stated maximum weight can damage it and cause injury.

What to look for in a quality lat pulldown machine


Padding is important for comfort on practically every piece of workout equipment. On lat pulldown machines, there should be high-density padding on the seat and leg braces, as well as the backrest, if there is one.


Most manufacturers use vinyl upholstery on their workout machines because it’s durable and easy to sanitize. It does tend to get slippery when wet, though. This can be mitigated by choosing a machine with textured upholstery, though this makes it a bit more difficult to sanitize as thoroughly. For added durability, look for upholstery with reinforced box stitching.

Height adjustability

Not everyone has the same body dimensions, which means you may not want the seat or overhead bar in the same position as someone else. That’s why some lat pulldown machines have height-adjustable seats and leg braces. Not only does this help you find the best position for your body, it also helps ensure you’ll be able to go through the entire range of motion when performing an exercise. 

Additional workout stations

Many lat pulldown machines incorporate a variety of other workout stations for added versatility. The most common is a low row station. However, you can also find machines that feature curl, ab, fly and leg developer stations, among others.

How much can you expect to spend on a lat pulldown machine

Most lat pulldown machines cost $200-$900.

Lat pulldown machine FAQ

Q. Do lat pulldown machines require maintenance?

A. Lat pulldown machines use a pulley system. To keep your machine in good working order, lubricate the pulleys every three to six months, or whenever you notice they aren’t operating as smoothly. This should be done with machine oil or a lubricant designed for gym equipment.

Q. What muscles do lat pulldowns target?

A. As the name implies, lat pulldowns emphasize the latissimus dorsi muscles. They also target the biceps, especially when you place your hands on the bar in an underhand closed-grip position. Additionally, lat pulldowns activate the rhomboids, posterior deltoid, rotator cuff, trapezius, teres major, teres minor and infraspinatus.

What’s the best lat pulldown machine to buy?

Top lat pulldown machine

XMark Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown Machine

XMark Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown Machine

What you need to know: Made with serious lifters in mind, it features heavy-duty 11-gauge steel construction and has a maximum load capacity of 400 pounds.

What you’ll love: It comes with adapters so it can be used with Olympic or standard plates, and it offers a low pulley station for rows. Also, the included bar has a textured rubber grip for a secure and comfortable hold.

What you should consider: It may not offer a full range of motion for people 6 feet or taller. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top lat pulldown machine for the money

Valor Fitness CB-12 Lat Pulldown Machine

Valor Fitness CB-12 Lat Pulldown Machine

What you need to know: This affordable machine may not be up to the demands of a busy commercial gym, but it’s surprisingly sturdy for the price.

What you’ll love: It has a four-position seat that allows 5 inches of range of motion adjustment to fit a variety of users. Also, it has a lat bar storage hook so the bar isn’t dangling in the way when you use the machine for other exercises.

What you should consider: Its cable system can only support up to 200 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Marcy 150-pound Stack Home Gym

Marcy 150-Pound Stack Home Gym

What you need to know: More than just a lat pulldown machine, this home gym can be used to perform exercises on nearly every major muscle group.

What you’ll love: It includes the weight stack, so you won’t need to worry about purchasing that separately, and it comes with a large sticker that acts as a handy guide for inexperienced users.

What you should consider: You can adjust the seat or back positioning to fit your body.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.