Belt squat machines have been growing in popularity over the last few years and more and more people are looking to include them in their home gym setups.
As someone who suffered from back issues in the past and couldn’t squat comfortably, I turned to the belt squat machine there to save my ass, and save my ass it did!
While this is one of my favorite machines, not all belt squat machines are created equally and there’s actually a very large range when it comes to price and features.
Best Budget Option
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In this article we’re going to take a deeper look at 4 of the top standalone plate loaded belt squat machines.
I’ve picked these 4 because I think they’re the only decent belt squat machines actually worth considering in 2023!
I’m not going to be discussing belt squat rack attachments in this article as I’ve just finished a separate article discussing everything you need to know about those attachments.
Let’s dive straight into it!
When it comes to lever belt squat machines, the BOS is truly the boss. This belt squat machine is extremely well made and incredibly well priced making it the perfect addition to any home gym.
Best Value Belt Squat Machine
Coming in at just under $1,000, the Bells of Steel 2.0 is without a doubt the best budget belt squat machine for several reasons we’re about to get into.
First of all, this is a lever machine which means you will experience some forward knee/hip pull while squatting on here.
You can reduce this slightly by altering your stance, but it’s somewhat unavoidable.
For most people this certainly won’t be a deal breaker as the vast majority of belt squat machines are set up this way.
Ultra Simple & Practical Design
The foot platform for the BOS is not the prettiest looking thing but I actually prefer it to the diamond plate finish.
It’s literally just a great big hunk of powder coated metal but it’s super solid and feels incredibly stable to use.
This machine is fairly simple to assemble and definitely won’t take as long as the Rogue Rhino.
It weighs 264lbs, about half of what the Rhino does.
The Best Footprint For Home Gyms?
One cool thing about the Bells Of Steel is that you have the option of side loaded or top loaded weight pegs.
Although it’s a little more tedious to unrack top loaded systems, the top loaded setup will free up quite a bit of real estate in your home gym.
Using the top loaded setup, this machine is about 4’3″x4’3″ making it one of the most compact belt squat machines for home gyms.
If you’re going side loaded you’re looking at 4’3″x6’7″.
One other big benefit of using the top loaded weight pegs is that you don’t have to worry about weight plates hitting the ground at the bottom of your squat.
This is a fairly common problem some shorter users experience with belt squat machines.
Why The Bells Of Steel Belt Squat Machine Wins
In one word: sturdiness.
Cheaper belt squat machines start to have issues with slippage and the last thing you want is for the machine to be sliding around during a set.
This version of the BOS has been upgraded to 11 gauge steel making it way more solid than the original as well as other machines in this price range.
This machine can hold 700lbs on it with no issues, which is significantly more than what most people need.
Another great feature is the center cutout in the foot platform which allows the lever arm to move to a greater range of motion.
One big issue some people face with other machines is that the lever arm will hit the ground when you’re at the bottom of your squat, which in my eyes makes those machines functionally useless…
The BOS machine avoids any range of motion issues with this feature which was an excellent move.
Top and bottom band pegs are definitely a nice touch as well.
Oh and the weight ratio here is identical to a barbell back squat. The ‘starting weight’ is 45lbs which is the same as an empty barbell, so whatever you put on the machine is the equivalent of what you’d be putting on a barbell.
It’s Amazing, But Still Not Perfect…
There are a few minor flaws you should be aware of before purchasing a Bells Of Steel belt squat machine.
Non-adjustable Holding Bar
The horizontal holding bar/lever isn’t adjustable which you wouldn’t think would be the end of the world but it can definitely make the overall movement feel a lot more comfortable.
It’s such a simple feature to add that hopefully BOS gets that right in their next iteration.
No Safety Stopper
One other thing is that there’s no safety mechanism to catch the weight if you fail a rep.
The image above is from a Wenning belt squat, by the way.
Not having a safety stopper definitely isn’t a big deal in my opinion – even the Rhino doesn’t have one, but it definitely is a nice feature that is something Titan got right.
Non-adjustable Lever Arm
The other big thing I don’t like about the BOS machine is that it doesn’t have an adjustable lever arm.
This is what I’m referring to by the way…
Not having one of these is also a fairly minor thing, but it means you have to adjust your stance to fit the machine, which when combined with the non-adjustable horizontal hand rail, can make for a less comfortable overall experience.
All of these criticisms are very minor things.
You’ll notice the image of the Wenning machine above also doesn’t have an adjustable lever arm and this machine is several thousand dollars more expensive than the BOS!
Bells Of Steel got all the actual important stuff spot on:
- Center floor cutout + top loaded weight pegs to ensure everyone of any height can hit full depth when squatting.
- Solid as a rock and extremely durable.
I believe those two things alone are definitely worth the extra $300 you’ll pay for one of these as opposed to a Titan.
I’ve done a more detailed comparison of this belt squat machine and the Titan one towards the end of this article.
This machine will be the ideal choice for the vast majority of home gym owners. It’s super affordable but still amazing quality compared to cheaper options.
- Excellent construction quality, extremely sturdy and durable.
- Smallest footprint of any belt squat machine on this list, ideal for smaller home gyms.
- Center floor cutout allows for maximum range of motion, making it a great choice for taller athletes.
- Optional top loaded weight pegs, further reducing footprint and increasing range of motion while squatting.
- Extremely affordable – at around $1k this piece of kit is remarkable value for money.
- No safety mechanism (not that big of a deal).
- Non-adjustable center lever arm and non-adjustable hand rail – makes this design just slightly less comfortable to use.
Rogue’s Rhino is widely considered the bee’s knees of belt squat machines because of its superior cable design, amazingly user friendly experience, and affordable price point.
Best Overall Belt Squat Machine
Not only is the Rogue Rhino the best belt squat machine for home gyms, but it’s also an extremely affordable choice for any commercial gym.
When it comes to belt squat machines, you’ve got 3 different types: lever, cable, and free weight.
Why Cable Belt Squat Machines Are Superior
Being a cable belt squat machine, the Rhino offers a significantly better squatting experience than the cheap and popular lever machines which tend to pull your knees forward somewhat when squatting.
Because the cable attaches from the base of the unit, you’re able to stand directly over the cable which creates a far more natural feeling movement with virtually no forward knee pull.
Some lever belt squats also restrict your range of motion at the bottom of the squat where a number of users are unable to hit depth because the lever arm or weight plates will bang on the ground.
With a cable machine like the Rhino, regardless of how tall you are, you don’t have to worry about range of motion problems.
Since lever machines are mechanically quite simple, they’re also a lot cheaper than cable belt squats which is why for the Rhino you’ll pay more than twice what you would for a budget lever belt squat machine.
The Rhino Is A Remarkable Feat Of Engineering
This thing is seriously beautiful.
The cable and weight column move super smoothly, the welds are the best I’ve seen, and the machine is ridiculously solid.
Weighing a little over 500lbs, it might actually be a little too solid…
Once this thing is set up, it’s really quite difficult to move around the gym alone, and even with help.
Rogue decided to powder coat the diamond foot plate which I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of: seems like it’ll chip/scratch away pretty quickly, but it’s not a big deal either way.
Footprint: Perfect For A Home Gym?
The Rhino actually has one of the smaller footprints when it comes to belt squat machines at just 4’5″x5′ by 6’6″ tall.
Because the weight ‘horns’ are in the center of the unit, the weight doesn’t extend out the sides which keeps everything nice and compact.
If you’re quite tall, you’ll have to beware of the height. The platform is 7″ off the ground which means you might have to be careful around some lower ceilings.
Do I Really Have To Bolt It To The Floor?
Rogue strongly recommends bolting this machine to the floor before using it but, depending on what you’re using it for, I honestly don’t think that’s necessary.
So long as you’re standing on the platform while using it, you won’t run into any issues with stability even with some serious weight on it.
But if you’re doing anything off the platform, you’ll probably want to bolt it down.
What Makes The Rhino Superior?
Primarily, you’re paying for the fact that this is a cable belt squat machine as opposed to a lever setup.
No Forward Knee Pull
Being able to do squats that actually feel incredible as opposed to constantly fighting against the forward pull you get on lever machines is a pretty big thing here.
You’ve also got adjustable handles which isn’t exactly life changing but it’s a really nice bonus. Having just a static bar that won’t move up or down is actually one of the more common complaints about cheaper units.
High Quality Belt
It also comes with the Rogue multi belt which is specifically designed for belt squat machines as it has 5 different D-rings.
This allows you to quickly adjust where you’re attaching the cable based on where you want to bottom out in the movement.
This belt is a great option for when multiple people are using the machine at the same time as it saves having to adjust the J-cup.
It’s worth $95, is super comfortable, and is just plain better than some of the cheaper belt squat belts on the market.
Be sure to check out my full comparison of the Rogue multi belt with the Spud Inc belt squat belt!
High Weight Capacity
This is also one of the best machines for the really big boys moving some serious weight. Since the unit weighs over 500lbs and has over 30″ of plate loadable pegs, the Rhino should handle 1000lb loads quite nicely.
Very User Friendly
Once it’s all set up, this machine is way more user friendly than most, making it great for commercial gyms.
Oh and of course it’s got band pegs too.
Incredibly Well Priced
Perhaps the craziest thing about the Rhino is how insanely well priced it is. At $2,295 the quality and functionality of this machine is actually, in my opinion, superior to machines people are paying north of $3,000 for.
Yes, it’s more than twice the price of a Bells Of Steel/Titan belt squat machine, but that’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Since comparable systems are selling for a lot more than the Rhino, at $2,300 it’s an absolute steal.
Ideal for both commercial gyms as well as home gym owners who like high quality gear. Also great for taller athletes who will prefer the cable design. It’s also the best option for athletes planning on doing belt squat marches.
- Cable design offers a far more ergonomic experience.
- Extremely high weight capacity, great option for really strong athletes.
- Fairly small footprint – compared to other belt squat machines, the Rhino actually takes up less room, making it a great option for home gyms.
- Adjustable handles – very rare feature but super useful!
- Comes with one of the best belt squat belts on the market!
- Extremely competitively priced – this thing is way, way cheaper than other comparable belt squat machines!
- Quite heavy and bulky, making it pretty difficult to drag around the gym.
- You’re looking at about 2-3 hours assembly time.
Another Budget Friendly Belt Squat Machine…
While the Titan belt squat machine is far from perfect, it is still an absolutely fantastic machine that might just be the perfect choice for your home gym.
Like the BOS machine, the Titan is a lever design belt squat machine, so you can expect a bit of forward knee pull when using this.
That’s just the reality of going for a cheaper system: it simply won’t feel quite as good as cable or free weight machines do.
Why The Titan Belt Squat Machine Is Incredible
There’s so many features you’ll find on this belt squat machine that the others don’t have.
Weight Storage Rack
The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s a weight rack at the rear of the machine which allows you to store weight plates nice and close.
This is very handy but worth noting that it does increase the footprint of this machine.
The Titan comes with a safety stopper which will catch the weights at the bottom range of motion if you fail a rep.
Definitely a nice feature and one which many other machines have overlooked.
Adjustable Lever Arm
The center lever arm is also adjustable which I think is a great idea for lever machines as it gives the user some more control over exactly where they stand and how close they want to be to the hand rail.
This was a huge problem on the original Titan belt squat machine.
The lever arm was far too short and you were forced to stand virtually off the front of the foot platform just to get into a good position.
Nice to see Titan take feedback on board and fix this issue with version 2.0.
High Weight Capacity
Apparently this thing has a 1,000lb weight capacity, but I don’t really buy it. If the BOS only has a 700lb capacity, there’s absolutely no chance this one is 1,000.
Regardless of what the manufacturer says, you should probably be able to get 600-700lbs on here without any issues.
The finish on this machine is absolutely gorgeous.
The diamond plated foot platform is an amazing touch and the powder finish and welding is some of the best on this list, which is surprising considering the price.
The assembly is a walk in the park as well which is nice.
For the price, it does a really really great job and it’s going to work perfectly for 99% of users.
Its incredible price point is perhaps its biggest positive!
Really great value and I highly recommend it.
At just $1,099, this belt squat machine is currently priced the same as the Bells Of Steel one, which makes it once of the cheapest options available.
The Drawbacks Of The Titan Belt Squat Machine
In a nutshell, the problem with this belt squat machine is that it’s a little unstable.
Since it weighs just 232lbs and has quite a big footprint, it can get a little shaky at times particularly with heavier weights.
Depending on how much weight you’re moving and how much weight you’ve got on the racks, this machine may move around a little bit during your set, which is definitely not ideal.
It’s by no means floating away in the wind, but will shift a bit from its starting point.
I think Titan were banking on the weight racks to act as a counterbalance because it actually helps stabilize the machine quite a bit.
If you don’t have weight on the racks, you can expect some movement.
Angled Weight Racks
Also worth mentioning is that the pegs are angled upwards slightly as you’ll notice below.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it actually is quite annoying when you’re trying to take plates off the rack as you can’t just grab them with your fingers and slide them off, or take them off with one hand.
You actually have to bend down a pick them up with both hands which is definitely a minor inconvenience, but probably more of a personal gripe than anything…
As far as footprint goes, these are the biggest belt squat machines we’ve looked at yet at 5’x7’6″, so if you’re low on room, you might be better off going for the Bells Of Steel machine.
The belt that comes with this machine is definitely the worst on the list and appears to be just a generic type bare minimum belt.
Some users complained about it being quite uncomfortable when using heavier weights.
Range Of Motion
By far the biggest con with the way this machine is designed is that shorter athletes will struggle to get to depth in the bottom of a squat.
The lowest setting on the safety stopper actually inhibits range of motion for some users, so they’re forced to remove the safety stopper entirely in order to get the depth they’re after.
Not a huge deal, but not really something you should have to contend with either.
If for whatever reason you weren’t a fan of the Bells Of Steel machine, this is going to be your next best option for anyone on a budget.
- Super quick and easy to assemble.
- Plenty of cool features: safety mechanism, adjustable lever arm, weight storage racks.
- Ridiculously affordable at under $1,000!
- Lacks stability when there’s no weights on the rack as a counterbalance.
- Potentially limited range of motion for shorter users.
- Fairly large footprint.
Best Belt Squat Machine For Squatting
While this machine is definitely not the most user friendly and is honestly a bit of an eye sore, it’s quite possibly the most effective belt squat machine on this list.
Free Weight Belt Squat Machines Simply Feel Better
We talked earlier about how there’s lever, cable, and free weight machines and the Squatmax-MD is what we’d call a free weight design.
The idea is that since the weight is directly below you, there’s zero forward hip/knee pull like you experience with a lever machine.
It feels very similar to using a cable machine but it’s actually quite a bit easier to balance this way and really requires no hand rail to use since the weight is pulling you straight down.
The Science Says They Work Better Too!
One recent study compared the Squatmax-MD to the Rogue Rhino and Sorinex Pit Shark belt squat machines.
They tested to see which device would result in more muscle activation in the quads and glutes.
ANOVA revealed the SquatMax-MD belt squat resulted in the highest muscle activation in every muscle, with significantly higher activity in the rectus femoris, vastus medialis oblique, and gluteus medius muscles. The Monster Rhino belt squat produced the second highest muscle activation with the Pit Shark belt squat creating the lowest muscle activation. In totality, the SquatMax-MD produced 38.7% greater muscle activation than the Pit Shark and 12.2% greater activation than the Monster Rhino.1https://www.heighpubs.org/jnpr/jnpr-aid1035.php
So we know this particular belt squat machine is going to give you a better overall workout, but let’s take a closer look at what else is to like about the Squatmax-MD.
Reasons To Choose The Squatmax-MD
Personally I think the fact that it’ll activate more muscle fibers than the other machines is plenty good of a reason to strongly consider one of these.
Assembly & Portability
This is easily the quickest belt squat machine to put together and requires only a screwdriver to get the job done.
This makes it really easy to disassemble if you want to free up more room for whatever reason.
The base unit is only 130lbs so you can move it around the gym quite easily.
At just 3’9″x3’3″, this is the most compact belt squat setup on this list and until you start adding attachments, this is going to fit really nicely into most home gyms.
Just beware that the platform is 20 inches off the ground, so some people will definitely have problems being too tall depending on their ceiling height.
High Weight Capacity
You can load up with virtually whatever weight you can fit between your legs.
There’s videos of people doing 600lbs on YouTube with absolutely no problems!
Lots Of Useful Attachments
The Squatmax-MD comes stock with a box squat seat attachment which is pretty useful, but there’s plenty of other attachments you can order as well.
There’s a chest pad attachment that allows you to do all sorts of movements like seal rows and chest supported rows, making this a super versatile setup.
There’s also a hip thrust attachment you can get for the Squatmax-MD, so there’s not much you can’t do with it!
Includes Band Pegs & Bands
This belt squat machines comes with band pegs and 4 elastic bands which are fitted inside/underneath the unit (you can see them in the initial animation above).
This is an effective way of adding resistance without having to take all the weight plates.
Includes One Of The Best Belts
The Squatmax-MD comes with the Overachieve/Henny multi belt which is designed specifically for belt squat machines.
This belt has 5 different attachments you can hook onto which allows multiple different users to squat to different depths without having to adjust the J-cups/depth the belt squat machine will go to.
It’s also one of the most comfortable belts on the market!
Narrow Stance Overlay
You might be wondering whether you need to do wide stance squats to be able to use this thing…
Luckily, each Squatmax-MD comes with a narrow stance overlay which allows you to get your foot positioning right where you want it.
However you can only use up to 35lb “smaller diameter” plates, so if you’ve only got Olympic plates, they’re not going to work with the narrow stance overlay.
Using the overlay I’m told you can manage a 14″ wide stance, which should be around shoulder width for most athletes.
You can also only fit up to 350lbs on the machine using the narrow stance overlay with smaller diameter plates.
Having said that, Brian, the creator, has told me that guys who barbell back squat 550lbs struggle with 300lbs on the Squatmax-MD, so weight capacity shouldn’t be an issue for most.
Why You Might Pass On The Squatmax-MD
Although this is overall a really excellent belt squat option, there’s a couple things I’m not in love with about the design.
Suboptimal Foot Positioning
Since you’re standing over quite a big hole, most people are forced into a wider than shoulder width stance when using the Squatmax-MD, unless they’re using the narrow stance overlay.
Unless you have smaller diameter plates available, you likely won’t be able to use the overlay either.
Unfortunately that also means belt squat marches are out of the question for the strongmen out there!
Difficult To Unload
Because it’s a top loaded system, unloading weight plates is difficult at the best of times.
I highly recommend using some 1-2kg smaller plates in between your main weight plates since it’ll give you better grip when unracking the machine.
It’s not uncommon to occasionally scrape your knuckles on the sides of the circular cutout when unloading the weight plates.
This is a decent choice for athletes who want the best possible squat workout!
- Higher muscle fiber activation when doing squats.
- Easy to assemble and fairly portable.
- The available attachments can make this machine quite versatile.
- The closest stance you can use is 14″, which might be too wide for some users.
- Difficult to load/unload.
- Not so cheap.
At the end of the day, each of the above 4 belt squat machines are fantastic and which one is best for you will largely be determined by the following factors…
What Are You Doing With It? Who’s It For?
Are you an elite powerlifter who needs to be able to move 500lb+ on your belt squat machine?
Perhaps you’re shopping for a commercial/private gym where it’s likely to be used by people who might be?
If so, avoid the Titan machine as it’s far too unstable.
Also avoid the Squatmax-MD as it’s not very user-friendly and customers won’t know how to use it.
For commercial gym settings, either the Rogue Rhino or the Bells Of Steel are your best bet.
If you’re a bodybuilder or athlete who’s ears perk up at the sound of ‘increased muscle fiber activation’, perhaps the Squatmax-MD is right for you.
How Much Room Do You Have?
The Squatmax-MD is best for really small spaces and wins in terms of portability. But it’s the worst for low ceilings.
The BOS machine is the next best in terms of footprint.
The Rogue Rhino is a tank of a machine, but also has a relatively small footprint. It’s just super difficult to move around and isn’t ideal in places with a very low ceiling.
The Titan is by far the biggest machine and might not fit in every home gym.
How Much Cash Do You Have To Spend?
*Note the below prices do fluctuate quite often!
Titan – $1,099
Bells Of Steel – $1,099
Rogue Monster Rhino – $2,650
Squatmax-MD – $1,690
The Titan, BOS, and Rhino are all really exceptionally well priced for the product you’re getting.
I don’t quite feel the same way about the Squatmax-MD but definitely don’t think it’s a terrible price either.
How Important Is Functionality?
If you just want a belt squat machine that’ll get the job done, and don’t care too much about quality, I’d go for the Titan option because it does exactly that.
If you’ve got the extra $180, you’ll probably think upgrading to the BOS is worthwhile.
If you want a truly amazing belt squat experience, go for the Rhino.
And if you absolutely need the best possible muscle stimulation, go for the Squatmax-MD.
Personally, I’d pick the Bells Of Steel belt squat machine because it’s compact, well designed, and the quality is very high for its price.
If I had the cash or if I was shopping for a bigger gym, I’d go for the Rogue Monster Rhino, hands down.
My Belt Squat Machine Research & Review Process
I always make it my mission to be as comprehensive as possible with these product reviews so I can be as helpful as possible to my readers.
Unfortunately, I’ve not yet been able to test any of these belt squat machines, as getting products imported into Thailand (where I’m currently based) can be a fairly slow and arduous process… Some of these products don’t ship internationally at all!
So in the interest of full transparency, I cannot yet speak about these products from first hand experience.
I have however had extensive experience using other belt squat machines (namely the Valhalla machine) here at my local gym, so I have a good idea about what things to look for.
I compiled this list using price, features, and customer satisfaction to determine the order of products.
Since there wasn’t a ton of information available on the internet about belt squat machines, I decided to take the time to research each of these options and put together this list anyway, hoping some of you would find it helpful.
It took me a good couple days of digging deep into the belt squat machine market to come up with what I believe are the only belt squat machines worth considering in 2023.
Confirming Product Details With Manufacturers
Part of my research included reaching out to each of these companies to confirm a number of small details about each product you often won’t find listed on the products’ sales pages.
I’m talking about small but important things such as the minimum width stance you can use on the Squatmax-MD machine, or the prices of other belt squat machines not listed on their websites/sales pages.
These are all things you might want to know as a user which I’ve been able to take into account in this article.
Continually Updating With New Products & Information
I’m constantly on the hunt for new belt squat machines that can offer value to the marketplace for inclusion in this article.
If you’re a belt squat machine manufacturer and want your equipment reviewed and included in this article, please get in touch.
I will be updating this article whenever there’s new information regarding the products listed here.
Feel free to read more about my product testing standards and review process.
Most Compact Belt Squat Machine?
The Squatmax-MD is the most compact belt squat setup with just a 3’9″x3’3″ footprint.
Weighing only 130lbs and disassembling quite quickly, this is definitely the most portable belt squat machine on the market.
The issue is ceiling clearance as the platform is 20″ off the ground, so that might cause issue in some gyms.
The next most compact belt squat machine is the Bells Of Steel machine which has a 4’3″x4’3″ footprint when using the top loaded peg configuration.
The Rogue Rhino is slightly bigger still and the Titan is the largest.
Best Home Gym Belt Squat Machine?
Really this comes down to your budget and how much room you’ve got to work with.
If you’ve got the money for the Rogue Rhino, this is definitely the most popular home gym belt squat machine.
You definitely won’t be disappointed.
If you’re a big fan of the Squatmax-MD, it should fit really nicely into any home gym setup.
If those options are too expensive for your taste, it’ll largely come down to the Bells Of Steel vs Titan…
Bells Of Steel Vs. Titan Belt Squat Machine
These two belt squat machines are easily the most popular budget belt squat machines on the market, but which is better?
Previously there was a $300 price difference to consider but now the products are priced exactly the same.
- Titan comes with weight plate racks and BOS doesn’t.
- Titan has a safety stopper and BOS doesn’t.
- Titan has an depth adjustable lever arm and BOS doesn’t.
- BOS is considerably more stable and won’t move around during sets like the Titan does.
- BOS has no issues when it comes to squat depth whereas the Titan does.
- BOS belt is slightly better than the Titan.
I bolded the two most important points in favor of the BOS machine.
I personally think those aspects are desirable enough that I would choose the BOS over the Titan all day long!
How Much Does A Belt Squat Machine Weigh?
The weight of a belt squat machine will vary a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer but the average weight is 288lbs.
|Bells Of Steel||264lbs (120kg)|
|Rogue Monster Rhino||530lbs (240kg)|
Other Decent Belt Squat Machines
There’s a long list of different belt squat machine manufacturers in the game today, but I’ve only discussed what I believe are the top 4 that work fine for 99% of users.
Briefly I’ll run through some of the other ones.
Pit Shark Belt Squat Machine
The Pit Shark machine is overall pretty solid but I simply can’t see how the $3,800 price tag is justified.
I quoted a study earlier which showed the Pit Shark machine activated significantly less muscle fibers during squats than the Rogue Monster Rhino which is more than a thousand dollars cheaper!2https://www.heighpubs.org/jnpr/jnpr-aid1035.php
Wenning Belt Squat Machine
This is definitely one of the better designed lever belt squat machines, but it’s still overpriced.
Just by looking at this one picture I can see issues with it: it doesn’t have an adjustable hand rail, the weight storage pegs are angled, the lever arm isn’t adjustable, etc.
All those things can be overlooked if the price is right but at $3,900, it’s simply too much money.
Primal Strength Belt Squat Machine
This belt squat machine is so painfully close to perfect that it breaks my heart that I can’t recommend it here…
This machine has so many cool features I’ve never seen before such as it allows you to perform pin squats.
Pin squats help you train using isometric movements, enabling you to develop strength at particular sticking points.
It also has a super solid dip bar attachment which looks really nice.
While researching this belt squat machine, someone pointed out the following…
The belt squat suffers from one major achilleas heel – the strength curve is the opposite to that of a squat.
The arc is such that the weight gets heavier as you go down – whereas in a squat the deeper knee flexion the lower the force production.
This results in the feeling of it being way too easy for the majority of the lift and then at the bottom utterly impossible which feels horrible to use.
If the curve was flipped, IE the fulcrum was raised by 50cm and so the arc was reversed, and difficulty was more consistent throughout.
While this was just a random YouTube commenter, the remainder of the comment made it seem as though they’d used the machine and experienced this sensation first hand.
That to me is a deal breaker as lever machines don’t feel great to begin with, so anything else that makes the movement feel more awkward is not acceptable for me.
If that wasn’t the case, at $3,200 I think this price would actually be quite fair, although I’d personally find it difficult justifying paying so much for any lever machine.
Westside Athletic Training Platform
While I think Louie Simmons is a God, as the guy practically invented belt squat machines over at Westside Barbell, I think the ATP is a bit of a relic and isn’t really a practical option in today’s market.
The thing is huge and while there are benefits to having a large platform, this to me is simply not worth $4,200.
Edge Fitness Belt Squat Machine
I almost decided to include this belt squat machine in this list, but decided against it for a few reasons.
Looking at their website it was as though they didn’t want to sell any of these things…
The manufacturer failed to provide simple information such as dimensions and would instead just say things like “it fits fine in a 6’x4′ area”.
This is not acceptable and doesn’t help people who have very limited space figure out if it’s going to work in their home gym or not.
The weight ratio is between 65-70% of a normal barbell squat… again it just seems as though they were too lazy to actually measure it.
They’ve listed the weight as 150-200lbs… I mean come on!
It’s a shame because even though it looks like a fairly rudimentary machine, it might actually be a decent option for many people at the $700 price range.
D8X Belt Squat Machine
This belt squat machine seems pretty solid overall and I imagine it’s a decent product.
If this machine had adjustable hand rails and band pegs I might have thought about including it in this article, but at $1,500, I don’t think it brings enough to the table currently.
Hammer Strength Belt Squat Machine
The Hammer Strength belt squat machine looks phenomenal if I’m being completely honest.
It would be nice to see some more information on their website regarding this machine. I noticed the tech specs say the starting weight is 45lbs whereas in a demonstration video it said it was 68lbs which is a bit odd.
The price of a Hammer Strength belt squat machine is $5,000.
It could potentially be higher than that but price information isn’t currently publicly disclosed on their website.
While the machine looks extremely nice overall, I think it’s probably still overpriced even for commercial gyms.
If anyone wants me to do a deep dive on this machine, send me an email and I’d be happy to!
There’s definitely a few other belt squat machines on the market but until I think any of them can viably compete for a spot in the top 4, I’m not going to take a closer look.
If you’d like me to do a write up on any of the other machines, or feel as though I’ve made an error in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Cheers and may your squats be strong!