What to look for in your first weight bench
Go to Amazon right now and search for "weight bench" and you'll get over 600 different results.
That's... too many!
To narrow that list down to a reasonable number of choices, there are a few factors you should consider right away to weed out the benches that aren't right for you.
If you're new to buying a weight bench and relatively new to lifting weights or dumbbells, here's what you need to know.
Flat or fixed to adjustable
There are several important differences between a stationary flat bench and a bench that can be tilted and/or tilted.
The first is the bench's range of motion for different exercises. An adjustable bench is far more versatile and allows you to perform a greater variety of lifts (incline bench press, chest fly, seated shoulder press, etc.).
However, adjustable benches are usually much more expensive. Costs rise as more machines and moving parts are involved. In most cases, you can get a high-end flat bench for the same or lesser price than an inexpensive adjustable bench.
Keep in mind that flat benches are much easier to move, set up, and transport by yourself, as adjustable benches are often about twice as heavy as flat benches.
How much weight can a bench actually support?
This is a really important question to answer before making a purchase.
You can find affordable weight benches with a capacity of 300 lbs and high-end benches that can hold 1,500 lbs or more.
If you're a big dude who's going to be lifting a lot of weight, a low-capacity bench might not be for you. Worse, it would be terribly unsafe.
Consider your body weight and the weight of the dumbbells (or barbells and free weights) you will be using, and make sure that whichever bench you buy can handle the load.
The safest, most sturdy benches with the largest weight capacity usually cost more.
In other words, you get what you pay for.
But that's not to say you can't get great value from cheaper weight benches. In fact, weight benches are a pretty reasonable investment, and even fairly high-end ones cost less than $300.