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Commercial vs Residential Smith Machine

The Smith Machine is a weight equipment containing a barbell fixed between steel rails. This machine allows users to perform different exercises such as squats, bench press, rows, seated overhead press, and drag curl. A Smith machine can be a valuable rehabilitation tool and makes for a great finisher after barbell or dumbbell exercises. The Smith Machine is a weight equipment that helps in resistance training especially to those casual or inexperienced strength trainees who do not know how to safely perform free weight exercises involving heavy weights. There are a lot of different types of Smith Machine available in the market. However, it is important to note that whatever type it is you must always look at certain specs and features in order to purchase a smith machine that will benefit you the most. These specs and features include, but are not limited to, linear bearings, weight capacity, attachments, and if they are counter balanced or not. These are important things to note especially if you are building your home gym and you are thinking of buying your own smith machine. A commercial and residential type of Smith Machines have wide differences between them. So to help you, here is a difference between the two based on its specs and features:

Residential Smith Machine

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

Residential Smith Machines are typically used for home gyms. Hence, compared to other counterparts such as the commercial ones, they are usually constructed using lighter grade frames, bars, and other materials. This is good for novice in resistance and weight training because only light materials are used and hence they are easier to lift. With these, you can also easily adjust the weight as you progress along your fitness journey. However, even when constructed with light grade materials, Residential or Personal home gym Smith machines are meticulously checked during production if the quality of materials has passed the national standards. Hence, you can really make sure that these products last even after years of use.

Residential or Personal home gym Smith machines can also be purchased as stand alone units or all in one unit that include other several features such as cable crossovers, squat cages, butterfly attachments and lat pulldowns. This is beneficial especially to those who are just starting to build up their home gyms.

Most Residential or personal home gym Smith machines utilize a hollow Smith machine bar with a 1” diameter for regular weight plates. Some available in the market will also include a 2” adaptor sleeve that permits users to use full sized olympic plates which can be helpful if you are already advanced in doing resistance and weight training exercises. The weight capacity of Residential or Personal home gym Smith machines are usually around 300 to 400 lbs.

In addition to that, most residential Smith machines, especially the economy models available in the market, will have a nylon bushing system. This nylon bushing system allows the bars to slide up and down. Moreover, these nylon bushing will travel on round chrome guide rods or chromed square steel tubing, depending on the manufacturer of the residential Smith machine. Compared to a Commercial Smith machine, a residential or personal home gym smith machine is equipped with nylon bushings that do not offer the silky smooth feel. However, these can be significantly improved through frequently wiping the guide rods or steel tubing with a lubricant such as silicon spray.

Hence, the residential Smith Machine can be utilized especially to those who are just beginning their weight and resistance training. With its relatively cheaper price than the Commercial Smith machine, it can still offer you a wide array of exercises that can help you improve your muscle strength and muscle mass, without compromising quality and safety.

Commercial Smith Machine

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

Commercial Smith machines are usually found in gyms and recreational centers. However, you can still purchase them and place them in your own home gym. Due to the fact that many users use gyms and other facilities, Commercial Smith machines are built for all day use. They are frequently stand alone units with no other stations included other than weight plate storage for faster and easier plate changes.

Because weight capacity is directly related to durability and quality of construction and machines with a more stable frame are going to be able to handle more weight safely, Commercial Smith machines are usually constructed using 11 gauge or 12 gauge 3” x 3” square tubing and/or 2” x 4” oval steel tubing which is welded and bolted together using heavy-duty bolts and other hardware. Commercial Smith machines are designed this way in order to emphasize safety even when users do the heaviest load and to reduce risk of failure even after years of use. They also have a 1000 lbs weight capacity. For additional stability and safety, most Commercial Smith machines available in the market have bolt-down tabs so that the machine can be bolted to the concrete floor. Commercial Smith Machines also utilize a full size 7” long 45 lbs olympic steel bar that is fully knurled frequently which can include center knurling for squatting. This olympic steel bar was utilized in order to make sure that heavy weight training can be performed safely. More importantly, weight sleeves rotate freely on bushings in order to remove any torque on the lifters wrists caused by spinning or wobbling plates. They are also equipped with adjustable height safety arms that can be set by users. Just like the Residential Smith machine, it has a walk-through design so your weight benches can be arranged properly in place.

In addition to that, Commercial smith machines are aesthetically furnished. The steel frames are electrostatically applied with powder coats which are melted so that it will adhere more to the raw steel. This procedure makes the steel frame chip-resistant and holds up far longer than regular paint, making sure that the aesthetic finished product stays like that for a long time even after multiple use by users.

Unlike Residential or Personal home Smith machines that are not counterbalanced, most of the Commercial Smith machines are. This indicated that there is a pulley system built in that effectively and significantly reduces the weight of the bar. This counterbalance system is composed of pulleys, cables, guide rods, bushings, and counterweights that are installed within the steel frame. This is beneficial especially for those who are just beginning their weight and resistance training or for those who are training smaller muscle groups such as the triceps. More than that, bystanders are protected from moving parts because of this counterbalance system for it includes a protective shroud.

Commercial smith machines usually use Linear bearings. This is one of the features that best differentiates a Residential or Personal Smith machine from a Commercial Smith machine. Linear bearings, seen on both sides of the Smith machine attached to the bar, are basically a series of ball bearings that connect the barbell to the supporting bar. These ball bearings permit the barbell to slide freely across the vertical support bars, giving you a smoother operation of the Smith machine. This also removes significant resistance during the vertical movement of the bar.

With all these, the Commercial Smith machine is really built for commercial and long use. Just like the Residential or Personal Smith Machine, you can perform a wide array of exercises in it such as squats, shoulder press, bench press, rows, lunges and many more, but the difference is you can significantly increase weight without having to fear for your safety because commercial Smith machines are ensured to be durable.

In conclusion, there are a lot of things to consider when you are thinking of buying your own smith machine. You must be keen in considering the specs and features of the Smith machine. These may include linear bearings, weight capacity, attachments, plates, and if they are counterbalanced or not. One of the easiest ways to know which one is fit for you is to based on your personal preference, needs, and goals. If you are a beginner for weight and resistance training and you want to have your personal Smith machine at home, then you can opt for the Residential Smith machine. But if you are already advanced in doing such training, then you can go with the Commercial Smith machine. In the end of the day, you must always do more research on information like those provided above so that you can find the perfect Smith machine for you that will help you in attaining your workout goals.

1. Fitnessator. 2017. Smith Machine Bar Weight (Special Guide And Best Tips). Retrieved from: https://fitnessator.com/smith-machine-bar-weight. Retrieved on 1 June 2020.
2. Iron Company. 2015. Choosing the Best Smith Machine for Weight Lifting. Retrieved from: https://www.ironcompany.com/blog/choosing-the-best-smith-machine/. Retrieved on 1 June 2020.
3. Sports Consumer. 2020. The 6 Best Smith Machines for 2020 : Home and Commercial Gyms. Retrieved from: https://sportconsumer.com/best-smith-machines/. Retrieved on 1 June 2020.
4. The Home Gym. 2019. The 6 Best Home Smith Machines Of 2020: A Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved from: https://the-home-gym.com/the-6-best-home-smith-machines-of-2019-plus-buyers-guide. Retrieved on 1 June 2020.

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