Legs. They never get the attention they deserve when it comes to working out. Everyone likes to show off their pecs and biceps but not many people give legs the credit they should get. Now with so many different options to stay home and work your legs, nearly everyone can afford one of the best leg extension leg curl machines for their home.
There are lots of options when it comes to purchasing a leg curl machine, so many in fact that it can be overwhelming when you start searching online for the best option. There are varying sizes, levels of quality, and designs. Most of them will require some assembly when they arrive at your house, so be prepared for that. None of them that I could find came with weights, so you should factor in the cost of buying some weights when you are checking out this list of the best leg extension and leg curl machines.
Best Overall Value Leg Curl & Extension Machine- Marcy Adjustable 6 Position Utility Bench with Leg Developer and High-Density Foam Padding SB-350
The Marcy Adjustable 6 Position Utility Bench with Leg Developer is a multi-use bench with a well-designed leg developer section. It is the best overall leg extension/curl machine based on quality, options, usability, and of course price. It is a dark gray seated bench that weighs 51 pounds. It can hold up to 600 pounds of weight, which should be more than enough for most users.
It is 64.5x23x42 inches which should fit easily into most bedrooms, rec rooms or basements. It is not the smallest machine, but it is not the largest either. It is somewhere in the middle of the road as far as size and compactness. It should fit reasonably well in most normal sized rooms.
- 6 Position Adjustable Back Pad- The bench can be modified and moved to fit your personal workout style. There is a sawtooth brace on the back which allows you to seat the bench where you need securely.
- High-Density Foam Padding- The foam padding is sturdy, but not so hard as to be uncomfortable. It is not quite memory foam, but it does hold its shape well while you are using it, making it feel nice and secure.
- Sturdy Build- The bench is made quite well considering the price you pay for it. The steel frame is powder-coated and bolted together well. The leg workout section is on a hinged mount that moves freely while you use it.
- Foam Rollers- The foam rollers are covered in a vinyl layer with a thick foam layer underneath. They feel soft against the skin even while heavy weights are added.
- Moveable- The Marcy SB-350 can fold up and has wheels so you can easily move it when needed.
- Versatile- can be used as a utility workout bench, or specifically as a leg extension or leg curl device.
- Well Made- It will last a long time with the steel construction.
- Will Work for Most Users- It is designed to fit the needs of almost any fitness enthusiast.
- Inexpensive- Compared to some of the other similar options, this one is not very expensive.
- Requires some basic assembly which can be annoying
The Marcy SB-350 is the best overall value in the leg extension or leg curl machine space. It is not the beefiest or the smallest or the lightest, but it is right in the middle. The thing that takes it over the top as far as being the best is the quality of the unit matched with the useability and the price. When you add up all those things, this unit comes out on top as the best choice for most people. It is versatile enough to be used for some different exercises, while still being high-quality and extremely effective at leg curl and leg extension workouts.
Most Durable- Body-Solid GCEC340 Cam Series Leg Extension and Curl Machine with Adjustable Seat, Hamstring Exerciser
The Body-Solid GCEC340 Cam Series Leg Extension and Curl Machine is a heavy-duty commercial grade leg machine. It is not the smallest or most compact, but it is a great value for someone working with heavy weights or a pro athlete. It is built like a tank and will not break. All this strength does make it a bit heavier and cumbersome to move around than some other options. However, if you are using heavy weights and need a machine that will hold up to your vigorous intense workouts, this is a good choice for you. The machine is 49x42x37 inches and weighs nearly 100 pounds (97 pounds to be precise). It looks like a simple machine, and it is, but it is very good at what it does.
- Heavy Duty Construction- This machine is made of 7-gauge steel which will support a serious workout with heavy weights. It is not designed for beginners or casual users.
- Adjustable- As a commercial-grade unit, it is adjustable with a pop-in pin like the ones you may be used to at the local gym. It is quick and easy to change positions.
- Comfortable- It has extra large foam rollers which make it comfy to use on your shins and ankles. It comes with special durafirm padding which is extra dense and will hold up against heavy loads while staying soft on your muscles and bones.
- Can withstand hardcore workouts
- Heavy-duty construction- will not break
- Simple smart design
- Suitable for professional athletes
The Body-Solid GCEC340 is not going to be a good match for everyone. However, if you are a serious athlete using heavy weights and need something that will hold up to your intense level of workouts. It is built like a tank and weighs almost 100 pounds, so it is not going to be a good choice for beginners, but for pro athletes or people using very heavy weights it is a solid smart choice. It is not cheap either, but for the quality you get, it is a fair price.
Best High Quality Regardless of Price- XMark Heavy Duty Adjustable Rotary Leg Extension and Curl Machine Features A 12 Position Adjustable Thigh Pad and 20 Position Adjustable Press Arm
The XMark is a rotary-style leg extension and leg curl machine that is a sitting-up style device specifically designed for leg workouts. It is not much of a utility machine like many others that will allow for sit-ups and other random exercises. The XMark is just for leg workouts and the design and quality level are geared toward that specific goal, which is why it is the best highest quality machine regardless of price. The Marcy is the best overall because the price is heavily considered in the rankings, and costs quite a bit less than this one. However, if the price is not your main concern and getting the best leg workout machine is your main concern, the XMark may be the one for you.
- 12 position adjustable thigh pad- It has a thick thigh pad that can be adjusted to 12 completely different positions with a simple move of the pad.
- 20 position press arm which is also adjustable. This allows the press arm to be adjusted as well as the thigh pad.
- Solid Construction- 11-gauge steel frame with gray powder coat finish which is also scratch-resistant.
- Comfy thick cushions- 3” thick provide good support while also remaining soft and comfortable. They are also durable with a rip-resistant vinyl covering.
- Oversized rollers- The rollers are extremely thick at 4.33” each. This will keep your workouts comfortable.
- Small footprint- The machine is not large compared to some of the other options. This makes it possible to fit it in almost any room in your house.
- Extremely functional as a leg workout machine- Designed just for leg curls and leg extensions.
- Extra comfy to work out on- The thick pads and rotary disc make it easy and comfortable to work out with.
- Does not come with weights
- More expensive than comparable machines
If you are not concerned with budget and just want the best possible machine for leg curls and leg extensions, this machine is the best choice out there. It is not the cheapest, but it is the best design and form for the job. It does not come with any weights so you will need to purchase them separately. However, for the money you spend it is worth it to have a machine that is so well designed and built specifically for this purpose.
Best Compact- Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Workout Bench GGBE19615
If you need a leg curl machine but do not have much space in your home to place a machine, the Gold’s Gym XRS 20 could be a great choice for you. Many of these leg extension machines are great values but they are simply too big for small rooms. This machine is easy to set up and will not take up much more room than a kid’s school desk and chair. It will not hold as much weight as some of the bigger machines, but at a 300-pound capacity, it will work for most casual fitness enthusiasts with no problem. It has a familiar look and form, but there are some interesting features offered here.
- Adjustable- There are multiple incline positions you can use with the adjustable backbench. This allows you to target specific areas of your leg muscles.
- Rolled Preacher Pad- It has a preacher pad with soft foam padding which allows you to do curls safely while not hurting your arms.
- Can be used with Olympic weights- Comes with an Olympic weight adapter 2” spring clip device so you can switch from smaller weights to Olympic-sized weights easily.
- Upper and Lower Body- It can be used for lower body and leg workouts as well as arms and upper body workouts as well.
- Compact design makes it a great choice for small spaces
- Inexpensive price makes it affordable for many people
- Versatile since it can do upper and lower body exercises
- To small for intense workouts with extremely heavy weights
For people with limited space in their homes for exercise gear, this machine is a great choice. It will allow you to get your leg curls and leg extensions in as well as some good upper body workouts. It is small enough to fit in almost any spare bedroom or basement, but functional enough to allow you to get serious workouts in when you need to. With a simple setup and small footprint, it will suit most beginners. The real downside here is that it is a small machine and not suitable for hardcore athletes using massive weights all the time.
Best for Short People- Body-Solid Powerline PLCE165X Leg Extension and Curl Weight Machine for Home Gym Workouts, Black
If you are short, you may have realized some of these machines are difficult to use. It is best to be able to place your feet on the ground while you are doing certain exercises or resting. Of all the machines out there, the Body-Solid PLCE165X is the most suited to short fitness enthusiasts. It has a low profile which allows your feet to rest on the ground. It is also a fully functional leg workout machine focusing on curls and extensions. It is 62x25x27 inches which is small and low profile, easy to deal with as a short person.
- Adjustable- It is a fully adjustable machine that features hold-down grips on the thigh pads as well as the back pads which offer significant stability.
- Strength Building- The Body-Solid is designed to build your quadriceps and hamstrings while keeping your muscles and joints safe during the workout. Some machines can put unnecessary stress on the joints, the Body-Solid does not do this.
- Well Built- This machine is well made with steel construction and will not easily break or bend if you drop or damage it. It has a simple, basic design that does not put too much pressure on any individual part of the frame.
- Warranty- It comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame and 1 year on all the other parts.
- Excellent machine for short people
- Simple design which makes workouts easy and hassle-free
- Easy to set up
- Comfortable to use
- Expensive considering what it is
For short people, many exercise machines can be an extra hassle. In the case of this machine, it is easy to set up and use for short people. It is a great value for anyone even if you are not short. The best features of this machine are its simplicity, strength, and low profile. If you are looking for a killer leg workout but are tired of massive machines that are too hard to use, give this one a try.
Most Versatile- Body Champ BCB5860 Olympic Weight Bench with Preacher Curl, Leg Developer and Crunch Handle, Dark Gray/Black
The Body Champ BCB5860 is a versatile Olympic weight bench that includes a leg curl & leg extension section. It has an ab crunch attachment, bench press, 7 position backrest, and built-in safety hooks. While most of the other machines on this list are mainly designed for leg exercises, this one is a fully functional versatile Olympic weight bench that will do almost all the most common exercises. It is a full-size weight bench, and it weighs almost 80 pounds. It is 76x56x55 inches in size, so it is not the smallest machine.
- Safe and Comfortable- The front leg stabilizer is a U-shape that provides stability and safety while you are working out. The weight racks have safety catches and hooks and a safe grip feature to avoid getting your hand pinched while racking weights.
- 7 Position Backrest- The backrest has seven different positions, as well as an adjustable leg extension and arm curl bar with foam rollers.
- Includes attachments- Comes with the following attachments:
- Curl pad
- Plate adapter
- Preacher curl pad
- Spring clip for leg developer
- Arm curl bar
- Ab crunch with foam grip handles attachment
- Compatible with Most Sets- It is compatible with most 6 or 7-foot sets.
- Most versatile weight bench
- Excellent value for money
- Does leg and upper body exercises
- Comes with accessories
- Large and requires lots of assembly
The Body Champ BCB5860 is the most versatile leg developer machine out there. It can do arm curls, bench presses, ab crunches, and of course leg extensions and leg curls. It is not small and will take up a fair amount of space in your room, but if you need a full-service exercise machine or weight bench at a fair price, this could be a great fit for your needs. It is not the most inexpensive weight bench, but it is like having four or five specialty machines in one device, so it is worth the money. You can work out your whole body with the Body Champ BCB5860.
Honorable Mention- Merax Utility Weight Bench with Leg Extension for Full Body Workout, 550LBS Weightlifting and Strength Training Workout Bench with Adjustable Flat Incline Decline 6+3 Positions for Home Gym
The Merax Utility Bench is a good value-for-the-money home gym style bench that is fairly new to the marketplace and rising in popularity. It will allow you to do leg extensions and leg curls as well as many other upper body exercises. It is a heavy-duty steel frame bench that will use standard and Olympic size weights. It has a capacity of 550 pounds and an adjustable backrest that will do 9 positions total. It is a well-built bench that has been thoughtfully designed and priced at a fair market price. For these reasons, it makes the list for an honorable mention.
- 550-pound capacity- Built with 12 gauge steel, it is quite sturdy.
- Adjustable incline and decline- There are 6 adjustments and 3 seat sitting positons which give a total of 9 different positions possible while working out.
- Thick comfortable padding- The padding is 2 inches thick and covered with waterproof leather material that will be able to handle your workouts with no problems.
- Easy to Move- Has a non-slip handle under the seat.
- Versatile bench
- High-quality construction
- Fair price
- Still a new product without too much history to judge it by
This is a well-made utility workout bench that includes leg extension and leg curls. It is not specifically designed for leg workouts; they are included but not the focus. It is not the best machine overall, but it is affordable and has many good features and benefits as well as a fair price. If you are looking for an affordable all-around weight bench at a relatively low investment, this could be a good fit for you.
Leg Extension & Curl Machines Buyers Guide
On this list of the best leg extension and curl machines, there are seven excellent choices, each one has a different thing it excels at. Knowing what a particular machine is good at allows you to choose one based on what it is the best at doing, however, what other things should you be looking for when you are ready to purchase one of these machines? Here we will examine more about these machines and explore what to look for to ensure you get the right one for your specific situation.
Leg Extension VS Leg Curl- Differences, Similarities, Pros & Cons
Both popular exercises are important to do if you want to make sure your leg muscles are toned and strong, but what makes them different? Which one is better?
Leg Extension Definition
Leg extensions are strength training exercises. They work on strengthening your quadriceps. Leg extensions are typically done while you are sitting down, the leg will lift a weight, putting pressure and resistance on the quadriceps muscles.
Leg Curl Definition
Leg curls are exercises that you can do while laying on your stomach usually. Weights are placed on the back of the ankle or lower calf area, to add resistance. The leg is bent at the knee bringing the ankle toward the buttocks. Leg curls are also called hamstring curls and they will strengthen the hamstrings with repeated workouts.
Leg extensions work your quadriceps which are the large muscles in the front of your legs. These muscles are used heavily during sports like cycling and kicking. Many MMA fighters and professional football and soccer players have leg extensions in their daily routine and report significant improvement in their leg strength.
Leg curls work your hamstrings which are the muscles in the back of your legs. They are done on a padded machine. The hamstrings are engaged to bend your knee. The knees must be bent over and over while running, walking, or swimming. Swimmers and professional marathon runners like to use leg curls to strengthen their hamstrings and improve their strength while swimming or running.
In summary, leg curls and leg extensions isolate different muscle groups. Leg extensions focus on the quadriceps while leg extensions work the hamstrings.
Both exercises are necessary if you want to have strong and healthy leg muscles. If you avoid leg extensions, you may end up with weak quads and if you don’t do enough leg curls your hamstrings may not be strong enough.
They are both performed best on a special machine, like the ones featured here on this list. Professional athletes use both exercises to improve their lower body strength and endurance.
Leg Extension Pros
- Easy to do on the right machine
- Strengthen your quadriceps
- Rewarding to see your muscles increase in size
- Having strong quads makes the entire body stronger
Leg Extension Cons
- Causes stress on the knee joint
- Increased use of rectus femoris joint
- Can harm your knee if too much weight is used
- Can cause leg fatigue fast
Leg Curl Pros
- Strengthen the hamstrings and calf muscles
- Simple exercise
- Does not hurt your knees
- Improve mobility
- Make your calf muscles bigger
- Improve flexibility in the legs
Leg Curl Cons
- Can cause fatigue in the calf muscles
- Can be harmful to your back if done incorrectly
- Some people say leg curls are a waste of time
- Some say you can get the same results from less stressful exercise like running
Types of Leg Extension & Curl Machines
Leg extension and curl machines come in a couple of different types. Many are part of an all-in-one home gym setup, while some are designed specifically for these exercises.
All in One Machines
Some of these machines are add-ons with multipurpose home gyms. These are the most common type since there are so many brands and styles of home gyms available. You can find many different leg workout options on almost all the most popular home gyms.
These all-in-one type machines are great if you need a machine that will provide leg workouts as well as full-body workouts. However, these all-in-one machines may not be necessary if you are solely focused on leg workouts. If you fall into this category, a specialized machine is going to be a better option for you.
Specialized machines are designed to do one or two very specific jobs. This type of leg workout machine is best for fitness enthusiasts who already have a full-body machine or are not interested in doing full-body workouts.
Usually, specialized machines will be better at their job, due to being designed to fit only one or two special needs. When a machine is designed to do everything, the functionality of each job tends to be only adequate, seldom excellent. For this reason, I tend to recommend specialized machines to people who are beginners or people that are serious about focusing on their legs primarily.
What to Look for In a Leg Curl Machine
No exercise equipment is going to help you if it is not good at its job. While researching which machine to get, it is important to consider how well it is going to do the job. You can usually discern if it is good at its job by reading the customer reviews and looking at the design. In the case of leg workout machines like extension or curl machines, the key factors to look at are the design of the hinged area and the pads used to protect your legs.
Ask yourself some of these questions while determining if a machine does its job well:
- Is the leg curl section of the machine free of extra things that may block it from moving (additional sections or unnecessary add-ons)?
- Are the pads soft enough to make using it comfortable and enjoyable?
This may or not be relevant to your situation. If you need to have access to multiple exercises on one machine, versatility is going to need to be a factor in your purchase decision. It is a nice benefit to have a leg exercise machine attached to an upper-body workout bench, for sure. However, having a versatile workout machine usually comes with a larger size, heavier weight, more complicated setup, and a higher price tag. If you need an all-around home gym and not just a leg workout machine, consider how versatile the machine is when you are making your decision on which to buy.
If you need only a leg workout bench or machine, versatility does not need to be part of your purchase decision.
Ease of Use
Nobody likes difficult to use gear. Some exercise equipment can be complex to use and hard to set up. The more it can do, usually the harder it is going to be to assemble and use.
While you are looking at different machines, ask yourself these questions to help determine the ease of use:
- How many pieces does it come with?
- How many moving parts are involved to do the exercise I am interested in?
- Do I need to do any special setup to prepare for leg curls or can I just do them any time?
- How long will it take to assemble the machine?
- How many steps are involved in preparing the machine for leg extensions?
After asking those questions, you should start to get a good idea of how easy it is to set up and use any of these quality machines on the list. All of them are reasonably easy to use or they would not be included here, but some are easier than others!
Longevity is usually mentioned in the same sentence as quality. They are kind of the same thing. If something is well made, it will last longer, which is what longevity is. This attribute is closely tied with the price since you are probably willing to spend a little more on something if it is made to last longer and cause less stress.
If you are a budget shopper primarily focused on price, you are not going to be very interested in how long a machine will last. However, if you are willing to spend more on something that will last longer, you can consider the following things to determine the quality of the machine, and therefore the longevity:
- Does it have a warranty?
- Is it steel construction?
- If it is steel construction, how many layers does it have? (measured in gauges like 5 gauge, 7 gauge, etc. higher gauge is thicker steel)
- Does it have a scratch-resistant coating?
- Do the pads have moisture-resistant coatings to fight exposure to salty sweat?
Size & design
Everyone has space constraints and specific requirements. Most of these machines are close to the same size and take up a similar amount of space on the floor. However, they are not all the exact same, and in the case of floor space, the details matter.
Ask yourself a few questions when considering size and design?
- What are the measurements of the machine? (72 inches equal six feet / 36 inches equal 3 feet)
- How much space do I have in the room where I plan to put the machine?
- Is this machine tall? Will it be close to the ceiling?
- Will the design work with where the door is in my room?
Determining if it will work in your space is critical since these can take some time to assemble, you do not want to buy one that will not fit and waste your time.
How much it costs is always part of the purchase decision-making process. Price alone should not be the reason you decide to buy or not buy a leg workout machine. Consider what features and benefits you will get for the price you are paying.
Value is important to consider as well as price, they are closely linked. If something seems expensive, ask yourself what you are getting for that money? Is it worth the extra money to get this benefit?
Oftentimes, a cheap price will get you a poorly made or badly designed product. In the case of these leg curl and leg extension machines featured here, they are all high-quality machines worth purchasing, however, you still need to figure out which benefits, and features are important and what you are willing to pay for them. When it comes to fitness equipment, I try to avoid the cheapest option because they are mostly not good products. On this list, every product is good, but how much are you willing to spend?
Who Should Buy a Leg Extension and Curl Machine?
A machine like this would benefit anyone who is trying to improve their overall health, but it will especially be useful for fitness enthusiasts who are focusing on their lower body strength and muscle health.
Why Buy a Machine if You can Just Run?
Of course, the argument can be made that you can get plenty of leg exercise by running or cycling or swimming, and buying an expensive machine is not necessary and is just a waste of money.
While this argument is partially true, it is not telling the whole story. Running, cycling, and swimming are incredible activities that I highly recommend everyone do. The more you run or cycle or swim, the more toned and flexible, and healthy your legs are going to be, this is not something that is debatable.
However, leg curls and leg extensions give you targeted, specialized workouts that laser focus on specific muscle groups in a way that those other activities simply can not do. When you work your legs on a leg curl machine, you are focusing hard on your quadriceps. Doing reps with a reasonable amount of weight will focus the quads and add muscle mass and tone to those muscles.
Running engages your quads significantly, but only for the time that it takes for your foot to strike the ground and your knee to begin bending forward. There is no doubt that doing leg curls will give your quads a targeted workout that is an excellent supplement to the activities you are already doing like cycling, swimming, or running.
Hamstrings & Calves
Leg extensions are especially good at working your hamstrings and calves. These muscles are also engaged when running, cycling, or swimming. The big difference with a leg extension machine vs those other activities is that when doing leg extensions, you are adding a measured amount of resistance to the movement and doing it repetitively. This adds layers to your calf muscles and hamstrings.
In addition to adding muscle mass to your calves and hamstring muscles, doing leg extensions also trains your muscles and helps your flexibility and mobility. While it is true that you increase your flexibility and mobility by swimming and cycling, when you add leg extensions on a machine you are increasing the benefits you gain from the other activities.
The truth is that to have a strong and flexible lower body, you should run, cycle, and swim as well as work out on a leg machine like the ones featured here. These machines are also especially useful for pro athletes who need to optimize the specific muscle groups these machines target, the calves, quads, and hamstrings, and to a lesser extent, the lower back.