These flat utility benches are meant for use either with dumbbells or with a separate rack/cage. The advantage of such a bench over a weight bench with an attached rack is the ability to move the bench out to do dumbbell work or to get the bench out of the way to do squats and other exercises with the rack.
All of our flat utility benches have NO weight limit provided by the manufacturers. We asked and were told each time that basically there is no limit as far as what load a human could put on it. XMark chooses to rate their bench at 1,500 lbs, which like the rest means it will take anything you could throw at it. Flat benches made with 14 gauge steel, which we don’t sell, tend to have weight limits of 500 lbs or so. Even then, the limits are more for liability reasons and are understated, so they won’t fail at 500 lbs, so consider how much weight a 12 gauge bench can really take. If you want the strongest bench, we recommend something with an 11 gauge frame, as described further below.
|Model||Height||Steel Gauge||Pad Size||Padding||Price|
|Rogue||18″||11 gauge||12″ x 48″||2.25″||$179.50|
|Fringe||18.75″||11 gauge||12″ x 48″||2″||$169|
|Valor DA-6||16″||11 gauge||11″ x 43″||2.75″|
|Valor DA-7||16″||12 gauge||10″ x 44″||2″||$112.23|
|York FTS 48002||19″||11 gauge||10″ x 48″||2.4″||$146.00|
|York STS 55026||19″||11 gauge||10″ x 40″||2.4″||$169.00|
|American Barbell||18″||11 gauge||12″ x 48″||2.5″||$ 175|
For more charts, see our article compiling the best info and links on weight benches.
Height – Shorter people will definitely want a shorter bench, 16-18″, so that their feet remain solidly planted on the floor for stability. But taller people often appreciate a short bench too, for the added stability and not having to arch their back as much. Part of this comes down to your foot placement and how much you want to arch your back. IPF regulation size is about 16.5″ to 17.7″.
Steel Gauge – The gauge (thickness) of steel used in the frame. The smaller the number, the thicker the steel, and the more heavy duty and stable the bench is. 12 gauge will work fine even for heavy lifts, but 11 gauge is great for lifters who want the strongest bench available.
Pad Size – Very tall users with a long torso may want a longer bench. For most people it doesn’t matter. The pad width is a compromise between stability and not interfering with your shoulders’ range of motion during presses. So people with wide shoulders can make good use of a wider bench. IPF regulation size is at least 48″ long and between 10″ and 11″ wide.
Padding – Some lower end benches made for home use are made with soft foam padding, because it’s cheap. All of our flat benches are made with EVA or high density foam, for a firm but comfortable pad that feels like any good bench you will find in a commercial gym. A 2″ pad should never bottom out on most people, but a 2.5″ or thicker pad will help you can feel more confident that heavy weight will never be an issue and the padding will feel solid even under your max lifts.
Construction – All-welded benches don’t use any bolts to keep the frame together, so there’s no danger of a bolt loosening over time and causing it to become unstable. Still, a properly engineered bolted design should never be a problem if the bolts are tightened properly. And a welded bench is more expenisve for us to ship because it can’t be broken down, so that’s reflected in the product price.
If you liked this article, check out our article compiling the best weight bench roundups and guides.