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Which lat pulldown machine is best?

If you are 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 that 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 will use either weight plates or weight stacks. Generally, weight plates will need to be purchased separately, while weight stacks come with the machine. 

When it comes to weight plates, there are two types, 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 also purchase 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 are designed to handle. On the low end, some models designed for home use max out at just 150 pounds. On the upper end of the spectrum, you can find some machines that can handle 400 or 500 pounds. If you are a heavy lifter, make sure to pay close attention to this, as using a lat machine with more than the stated maximum weight can damage it and potentially cause injury.

Features 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 is durable and easy to sanitize. It does tend to get slippery when it gets wet though. This can be mitigated by choosing a machine that features textured upholstery. However, this does make it a bit more difficult to sanitize as thoroughly. For added durability, look for upholstery that has reinforced box stitching.

Height adjustability

Not everyone has the same body dimensions, which means that you may not want the seat or overhead bar in the same position as someone else. For this reason, some lat pulldown machines have height-adjustable seats and leg braces. Not only does this help you achieve the most ergonomic position for your body, but it also helps ensure that you will 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 of these is a low row station. However, you can also find machines that feature curl, ab, fly and leg developer stations, among others. This helps you to get the most out of your money.

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

Most lat pulldown machines cost between $200-$900.

Lat pulldown machine FAQ

Do lat pulldown machines require any maintenance?

  1. Lat pulldown machines utilize a pulley system. To keep your machine in good working order, you should lubricate the pulleys once every 3-6 months, or whenever you notice that they aren’t operating as smoothly. This should be done with a lubricant specifically designed for gym equipment or machine oil.

What muscles do lat pulldowns target?

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

What is 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, the XMark Pulldown machine features a 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 features a low pulley station for rows. Also, the included bar has a nice textured rubber grip for a secure and comfortable hold.

What you should consider: It may not offer a full range of motion for individuals 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 affordably-priced 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 for 5 inches of range of motion adjustment to fit a wide range of users. Also, it features a lat bar storage hook so it isn’t dangling in the way when using 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 for the machine 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


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

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