There comes a time in every home gym owner’s life when it’s time to buy a bench.
After all, you can’t bench press without a bench and if you can’t bench then what’s the point of having your own gym, am I right?
However, like most pieces of gym equipment, the number of options out there for benches can be overwhelming. The best place to start when figuring out what bench you’d like to buy is deciding if you want a flat bench or an incline bench.
In this article, I’m going to compare the pros and cons of a flat bench versus an incline bench and hopefully, in just a few minutes you’ll know which is right for you and your home gym.
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Table of Contents
Flat Bench vs Incline Bench
First, when I say Incline Bench, what I’m really referring to is an adjustable bench. You may even see them referred to as an FID Bench (Flat, Incline, Decline).
When it comes to variability, it’s a no-brainer that the adjustable bench is better.
Not only does it give you options like 30 and 45-degree incline bench, but if it adjusts all the way up to 90 degrees you can do seated shoulder presses on it as well.
It’s not just extra bench movements that become available to you. Chest-supported rows and incline curls are two of my favorite exercises to do on an incline bench.
This isn’t to say flat benches aren’t versatile because they are. There are countless exercises that you can use a bench for other than bench press. For example, One Arm Rows, as a foothold for RFE Split Squats and Bench Dips just to name a few.
It’s just that an adjustable bench is going to be able to do all of those exercises and quite a few more.
Round 1 goes to the Incline Bench.
With all things being equal – buying new, same brand, no crazy sale, etc – a flat bench is always going to be a good bit cheaper than an adjustable bench. Which makes total sense.
Fewer pieces + Less moving parts = Less cost.
Of course, you can get lucky and find something used on Craigslist or FB Marketplace (personally I love estate sales for buying used gym equipment). You can also catch something on sale or buy a cheaper brand to get your cost down, but that’s not apples to apples.
A good, but still budget-friendly flat bench is going to cost you somewhere in the range of $150 to $250. If you’re patient on a sale you can even catch one for close to $100.
A good adjustable bench on the other hand is going to run you at least $300 to $400 and likely more than that (my two recommendations I’ll give you in just a minute are both over $400.)
Notice I emphasized the word ‘good’. Can you buy a bench cheaper than the ranges I’m giving you? Absolutely. But, in my opinion, you’re rolling the dice on whether you’re getting a bench that will end up being total junk.
Round 2 goes to the flat bench and now we’re all tied up.
Versatility is great and obviously cost is important, but for me, durability is king when it comes to buying equipment for a home gym.
Gym equipment is not cheap, but good gym equipment will last a really long time. Nothing is more frustrating and will hit your wallet harder than having to buy the same piece of equipment multiple times.
When it comes to durability, a flat bench is the better choice.
The same thing that makes an incline bench more versatile (and more expensive) is also its downfall when it comes to durability – more pieces and more moving parts.
The more complex a piece of equipment, the more moving parts and joints – the more opportunity there is for something to break.
This isn’t to say all adjustable benches are going to break down on you. Can incline benches be durable? Absolutely.
I’ve worked in weight rooms with adjustable benches that were a decade old, used by dozens of athletes every single day and still worked great. However, they also were not cheap.
If you want an adjustable bench that will last forever, get a Hammer Strength adjustable bench. The only problem is it’s going to set you back about $700, but if you have the money to spend I could argue that it’s worth it.
For the rest of us spending a couple of hundred bucks on a bench, flat benches are more likely to last you longer than an adjustable bench.
Flat Bench vs Incline Bench – Winner
I’m giving two out of the three categories to the flat bench. Also, for me personally, I’d lean toward a flat bench if I was choosing between the two.
However, if you really love incline benching, then get an incline bench.
There is no right or wrong here, no winner or loser. Ultimately, it’s your gym and your workouts. Which one you prefer is totally up to you.
I’m going to finish this off by giving you a couple of recommendations for both flat benches and incline benches. One more budget-friendly and one a little higher end for both flat benches and incline.
|Titan||Flat Weight Bench||$149*||Titan|
|Rep Fitness||REP PR FB-5000 Flat Bench||$209||Rep Fitness|
*Keep in mind Titan offers Free Shipping on everything. That can make a big difference in the final cost.
|Incline Benches aka Adjustable Benches|
|Rep Fitness||AB-5100 Adjustable Weight Bench||$459 – $499||Rep Fitness|
|Rogue||Adjustable Bench 3.0||$695||Rogue|
Whether or not a flat bench or incline bench is better is completely dependent upon what your priorities are.
Is budget a huge factor? Or a bench that will be budget-friendly and still be durable? A flat bench is probably the way to go.
Is DB Incline Bench one of your favorite exercises that you can’t imagine not being able to do? Spend the cash and get yourself a quality adjustable bench.