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Lat Pulldown Machine Buying Guide

Lat Pulldown Machine Buying Guide

When it comes to kitting out a gym one of the staple pieces of strength training equipment is the lat pulldown machine. It's everyone's favourite accessory for growing their back muscles, but we know deciding which one to choose can sometimes leave you with more questions than answers. 

To guide along the buying process we've created an in-depth lat pulldown machine buying guide, to give everyone an overview of what needs to be considered before buying their next piece of strength equipment. We will discuss the different types, break down the most common questions we see, and help you choose the right lat pulldown machine for your gym.

Before we get into things, if we had to choose the best overall lat pulldown machine then the overall winner would have to go to the Impulse IF93 Dual Strength Machine. We found it to be the best overall across numerous categories including price, features, durability, and overall performance. To some of our favourite options, check out the box below. 


Best Lat Pulldown Machine 
Overall Winner Impulse IF93 Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine
Best Value  Impulse Dual Strength
Most Suitable for Commercial Gyms  Origin Multi Station
Most Adjustable  Impulse Encore Multi Gym 
Most Versatile  Impulse Multifunctional Cable Machine 
Best for Isolation Impulse Diverging Lat Pulldown




Types of Lat Pulldown Machines

The best lat pulldown machine will vary depending on the space available, the needs, and of course what you aim to get out of using the machine. The main lat pulldown machines we're going to look at will be: 


Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machines 



Plate-loaded machines have been a great option for years, becoming popular with home gyms where access to free weights and weight plates is more prominent. Many home gyms now use these, but commercial gyms can also benefit from their use. They offer a low-cost option as only the frame is being purchased and not an additional weight stack.  

Simplicity and efficiency are at the heart of this type of lat pulldown machine which makes it perfectly suited for a range of gym types including commercial gyms, fitness studios, and home gyms. Designs will differ across manufacturers but options like the Impulse Lat Pulldown are a great starting point. 

In this model as an example, curved handles allow the back muscles to be targeted from different angles precisely. It also has a smaller footprint than other models on this list making it a great option for anyone requiring a more space-saving solution.  

Plate-loaded machines like this also feature additional weight plate pegs at the back of the machine which is convenient as additional storage does not need to be purchased. When buying one of these machines look for features such as durable steel frames, non-slip seat padding, and locking foam rollers. 



Dual Strength Lat Pulldown Machines 



This type of lat pulldown machine provides two machines for the price of one making them quite a versatile option. One of the most common versions is the Vertical Row/Lat Pulldown, which is a great choice again for gyms short on floor space and it also enables members to superset during training. 

Duel strength lat pulldown machines are convenient as they have many features like adjustable thigh pads and foot plate supports that are a nice upgrade on previous models. This is not only an upgrade from the plate-loaded machine types but also helps to add another dimension to training.

These machines are perfect for targeting multiple muscle groups in the upper body like arms, back and shoulders to increase upper body strength. The only drawback is that it may not be as industrial as some of the other options on this list if looking for equipment that can withstand high volumes of use from members.



Diverging Lat Pulldown Machine


Typically found in commercial sites the the diverging lat pulldown comes in both plate-loaded and weight stack/selectorised versions. Independent arms allow for more isolated training of the back muscles which makes this lat pulldown well-suited to helping fix muscular imbalances. 

Requiring a larger space compared to other models on this list, they are the perfect choice for facilities looking to equip a strength area with additional high-quality equipment. While this style might look intimidating to beginners, they are actually very user-friendly. 

Biomechanically these work super well having a wide range of motion making training more effective and comfortable. Models will differ in features on offer but will be upgraded again on previous models with more durable parts, better-quality upholstery, and improved pulley systems which is perfect for commercial settings.  



Multifunctional Cable Machine



Taking things one step further Multifunctional Cable Machines are the modern evolution of the lat pulldown machine. With independent arms like the diverging machine we just looked at, multifunctional machines allow for an even greater range of motion compared to traditional lat pulldowns. 

These machines are a premium option for those facilities wishing to offer their members the best modern gym equipment. Being super adaptable has made them a favourite for sport-specific training such as golf, with this model recently being used at The Open, and football as they're perfect for helping athletes take their training to the next level. 

Cable machines like this are also a great complement to traditional free weight training as muscle groups can be targeted from a range of angles with constant tension being held. This makes them ideal for members looking to fix muscular imbalances, develop better form, or improve technique.

Not only do these machines undergo the most rigorous manufacturing, testing, and quality processes, but they also utilise the strongest available parts for the cables and belt drive, increasing durability and the ability to withstand heavy use. This makes them perfect for busy commercial facilities where they will see high levels of use. 



Multi Station Lat Pulldown Machines



While single-station lat pulldown machines are fairly common, many commercial gyms will also have a lat pulldown machine as part of a multi-stack station as the centrepiece of the gym if they have the space. They offer the most amount of equipment for developing back muscles. 

A range of attachments can also be used to add variety to workouts and allows the lat pulldown machine to be used for seated lat pulldowns, standing lat pulldowns, or even pull-ups. Interchanging between different attachments allows the widest range of back muscles to be targeted. 

Not limited to just a lat pulldown machine, multi-stations also allow gyms to combine numerous training stations into one place. This means if the space is available it can be an overall cost-saving benefit by not needing to purchase additional equipment if it is part of the multi-station. 

Safety is another reason for picking a multi-station. If members push too hard with one of the cable machines, the weight can be easily dropped or returned to its starting point by letting go of the weight. This can be a great alternative to someone dropping a dumbbell or kettlebell on themselves. 



Multi Gym Lat Pulldown Machines



Multi-gyms are a reliable low-maintenance choice for anyone wanting commercial-grade equipment for home gym or commercial use. They are great for targetting the back through the different attachments available like the straight bar for lat pushdowns to the fixed smith machine barbell for rows. 

Designed to be sleek it can support full-body training through a wide range of exercises targetting the upper and lower body. Multi gyms normally include additional weight plate storage pegs to keep plates close by for workouts and also have built-in safety locking mechanisms to keep users safe using the fixed barbell.  

These can be a great choice for home gyms as they are a miniature version of the larger multi-stations without requiring quite as much floor space. If a weight bench is added the versatility increases again as it allows it to be used for benching, shoulder, and arm workouts.



Lat Pulldown Attachments

If you really want to give members the full experience of what a lat pulldown machine can offer then cable machine attachments are going to be a must. If you aren't sure where to start we wanted to give you a helping hand on what to pick: 



Fabric Cable Attachments

To make sure the gym is an inclusive environment consider stocking fabric attachments. These are specifically designed for anyone with grip issues from arthritis, disabilities, missing limbs/fingers, and OAP's. They have been crafted to make rowing, pulling, or lifting weights easier for all ability levels.

The Fabric V Handle has a large padded opening that makes it great for rowing, especially with a secure loop for safety. Having fabric handle pairs is good for isolateral or bilateral movements, which is great for anyone suffering from grip issues. Lastly, Fabric Tricep Straps are ideal for hitting arms and back muscle groups from long or short positions. 



Final Points to Consider 

When choosing a lat pulldown machine it's always worth checking these additional areas: 

Part Quality: Machines from different manufacturers will be made with different quality parts. Make sure to check individual parts are fit for purpose including the seat, handles, frame, and cable system. Plate-loaded versions likely won't be as durable as the multi-station options in busier commercial sites. 

Pulleys and Cables: This is a key component in a lat pulldown machine having thick quality tubing, cables, and a good pulley ratio is a must. A pulley ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 is the most ideal ratio. The higher the ratio the longer the cable which means less resistance will be faced when using the machine. 

Additional Features: Certain lat pulldowns will include different training tools such as feedback monitors and displays. To get the most out of training look out for rep timers, programs, and more when choosing. 

Warranty: Always keep an eye on the warranty for parts on the lat pulldown machine you choose. This will keep you informed on when the equipment likely needs serviced, repaired, or even replaced helping you make the most of the warranty. 

Plate Loaded or Weight Stack: It comes down to preference, but the main difference will normally be cost. Plate-loaded machines don't include a weight stack which reduces cost a good amount This makes them a favourite for home gyms, whereas commercial sites will tend to favour weight stack lat pulldown machines due to the quality of parts, durability, and additional features.

Budget: Each gym has different equipment needs. If you're purchasing a single machine a plate-loaded version may be best as they are on the lower end of the price range spectrum. The budget for these is probably in the £2,000 mark especially once you add in needing to buy additional weight plates. If you're looking to kit out a commercial site you might want to look at a more sturdy lat pulldown machine option that's going to last with high use which will start to set you back £5,000 or more per machine. 




We hope this guide has given a good understanding as to what should be looked at when purchasing the next lat pulldown machine for your gym. Whether it's the plate-loaded choice in a home gym or the multi-stack for a commercial space, we hope you've found something to suit. If you need help choosing the right option then get in touch with our team today on 0333 2000 750 or email us at [email protected]



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