Benches are incredibly useful training tools. They should form a cornerstone of any home gym if you’re looking to build one. They can be used for classic bench and chest presses, including incline and decline variations if the bench is adjustable, can be used for lower body movements such as step ups and split squats, and can be a handy platform from which to complete core work like crunches and lying leg raises.
However, they are not exactly unobtrusive. Some exercise equipment, such as resistance bands and ab wheels, can simply be thrown in a spare drawer when not in use. What do you do with a whopping great bench if you don’t have dedicated gym space?
Folding weight benches are the answer. Use them, sweat, break your muscles’ tissue down, then simply fold your bench up and slip it in a cupboard or under your bed when you’re done.
It couldn’t be simpler.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Folding Weight Bench
There are plenty of benefits to be gained from investing in a folding weight bench.
For starters, you get a weight bench. As above, this opens up a lot of possibilities for your resistance training.
You will be able to perform key upper body compound strength and hypertrophy exercises such as chest presses, seated military presses (if it’s adjustable) and single arm rows. You will also be able to perform key lower body hypertrophy and endurance exercises, like the step ups and split squats mentioned above. Then there is the stable platform it gives you for core exercises.
A good quality bench will also make everything more comfortable and well-supported. Firm, yet comfortable cushioning will keep your torso steady and give you something to push against through, for example, chest presses. It will also absorb enough of your weight that it won’t hurt your back, specifically your spine.
Basically, your training will be better for having a bench.
Then you have the fact that folding benches are far easier to live with than regular benches. As above, once you’re done with them, they simply fold down, making them easy to store. They will also generally have wheels on them, and will often be a lot more lightly built than their static brethren, making them easy to move.
There are some downsides, of course. Generally, this will come down to whatever is sacrificed in any given model to make it foldable.
Sometimes this will be price. A folding bench will generally be more expensive than an equivalent quality static bench. You will get the same level of workout comfort and support, the same stability, longevity and robustness, but will pay a lot more for the privilege.
Sometimes it will be quality. A lighter frame will often mean less stability and a less robust model, for instance. To keep prices down, whilst still bringing a folding component into the mix, sometimes corners might be cut. If you pay the same for a folding bench as you would for a static bench, you will likely be buying a bench that isn’t quite as good as it could otherwise be.
Sometimes it will be load bearing potential. Heavier lifts may be harder to come by. For example, let’s look at Mirafit’s Folding Weight Bench, with a maximum load capacity of 200kg. This may sound like a lot – and, indeed, is pretty standard for this kind of product – but it’s a bit of a let-down.
As an example, I weigh around 90kg, with a little fluctuation as my training schedule requires. On a good day, strapped, wrapped and belted, I can get a couple of reps out of a 150kg bench press with good form. On any other day, I can push more than 110kg for reps without much of an issue. This means that I’m going far beyond the Folding Weight Bench’s upper weight limit with pretty much any bench session I run through – and I’m not even that big or strong.
Now, this likely won’t matter for most people. The average lifter will be around 70-80kg, lifting around 100kg at the most, so will be within the limit – especially if they are lifting for reps, which will put them down to more like bodyweight or below. It doesn’t give too much scope for growth, and it’s something to bear in mind on any bench for any well-built athletes or heavy pressers out there, but it isn’t disastrous.
If you have the space to leave your home gym set up all the time, and if you are bigger, looking to lift heavy weights, go with a static, non-folding bench. However, if you need to tidy up after yourself but still want a really useful training tool that doesn’t need to bear much of a load, a folding bench will see you right.
Our 8 Best Folding Benches
Let’s take a look at our the best folding weight benches available in the UK right now.
Mirafit M3 Folding Bench
Mirafit features heavily on this list, for very good reason. They have a range of benches to suit most budgets, all of them good quality, all of them perfect for at-home use through a wide range of heavy, compound exercises.
We’ll kick things off with their M3 Folding Bench.
It is a good quality, well-built bench with a very nice amount of versatility. You get seven backrest positions, giving you a range of five incline angles as well as dead flat and a decline position. You can also choose between five different seat positions, giving you a lot of freedom. Because of this, the M3 is particularly good for performing seated work getting into the deltoids, like military presses and lateral raises, and for getting into your lower pectorals with decline presses.
It’s comfortable and attractive, with thick yet firm padded cushions and a very attractive matt black finish to the solid steel metalwork.
The M3 is also easy to move around and live with. It has built-in handles and solid wheels to allow for ease of movement. It’s heavy, at a pretty substantial 40kg, so you’ll probably need a hand lifting it, but it can be wheeled around easily enough. This heft also allows for a tremendous top weight of 450kg, which allows for elite level lifting (350kg bench press, anyone?).
The M3 is 125cm x 69cm x 65cm and will be perfectly sufficient for all but the tallest of users (I know someone who is six five who can use it with no bother).
Assembly is required and you’ll need a range of spanners that aren’t included – 19mm, 17mm and 14mm.back to menu ↑
Mirafit Folding Weight Bench
If you want good quality without paying through the nose for it, Mirafit’s Folding Weight Bench is their entry-level model. You get decent change from a hundred whilst still being able to enjoy the quality and craftsmanship that go into Mirafit’s products.
It is simple, which is how a good bench should be, with an adjustable backrest allowing for both flat and incline work. You get four positions in total, which isn’t spectacular, but is the trade-off for going with a very well-priced entry level bench. It should also more than suffice to hit everything from your mid to upper pecs and your anterior and medial deltoids through a chest/overhead press.
It is compact, at 114cm x 42cm x 42cm, and folds down to 112cm x 42cm x 22cm, so is incredibly easy to live with and store away. In fact, it’s one of the easiest models to fold up that I’ve come across. The cushions are good quality – padded, tough, and easily wiped down after use (if, like me, you’re a sweater, this is a must!).
The Mirafit Folding Weight Bench also uses a ladder rail system for adjusting the bench’s incline, which I particularly like. It keeps everything very secure and gives you a fantastic sense of stability, which is needed in some of those heavier lifts. This adds nicely to the durable steel frame (once more finished in a nice matt black powder) and plastic foot caps to really keep you steady.
The Mirafit Folding Weight Bench will also need assembling, and it doesn’t come with the necessary spanners. You’ll need to buy yourself a set – Mirafit sell their own, which is a bit cheeky.back to menu ↑
Mirafit M2 Folding Bench
The M2 has six backrest positions and four angled seat positions, so you should be able to get it exactly where you need it.
It also has built in castors and handles for ease of movement and features very thick, comfortable black padded cushions. The frame is heavy duty steel, which makes it good and sturdy. It certainly feels so, with an upper weight limit of 260kg.
It measures in at 125cm x 55cm x 117cm at its tallest, or 125cm x 55cm x 43 when flat, with 5cm thick cushions. Assembly is required – again, you’ll need your own spanners.
There isn’t too much else to say. If you want quality on a budget, go for the Mirafit Folding Weight Bench. If you want to push the boat out a bit more, go for the M3. If you want to aim for the middle, the M2 is a very good option.back to menu ↑
DTX Folding Weight Bench
First up, we’re let down again by the top weight, at just 200kg. As mentioned above, this will be sufficient for most people, but not for everybody. It will also put a cap on your strength training.
However, you do still get a decent amount of versatility from the DTX Folding Weight Bench. It gives you four backrest positions, which is far from amazing but nevertheless suffices. It folds flat for ease of storage, and has a very firm and sturdy steel frame which is incredibly well made. The cushions are well padded at 4.5cm thick and the frame itself stands at 107cm x 42cm x 110cm (42cm folded).
Despite being robust, the whole thing feels pretty light. This, with its folding nature, made it particularly easy to put away after use.
Assembly is required, though the instructions were particularly clear and it was very easy to put together. Again, you’ll need your own spanners – 10mm, 14mm and 17mm.back to menu ↑
Yoleo Adjustable Weight Bench
Yoleo’s Adjustable Weight Bench is one of the more versatile models on this list, with 13 changeable levels all told. This is made up of six levels for the backrest, four levels for the seat, and three for the footrest.
If you’re a funny shape and struggle to find benches that suit you (I do, with stubby little legs!) then you may really benefit from investing in Yoleo’s model. Though I’m not a fan of using footrests (I like to keep my feet planted firmly in the ground for a proper brace), they do have their place. Being able to adjust your foot height to this degree can be very helpful, especially if you’re looking at hypertrophy or any kind of isolation work.
It folds down simply and without fuss, which is of course one of the main selling points of everything in this list, and can easily slip under your bed. Folded, it’s only 31cm x 75cm, and it comes with a handy lifting rope for carrying.
The design is ergonomic, too, which carries over to practical use incredibly well. I found Yoleo’s Adjustable Weight Bench to be one of the more comfortable benches I’ve used in a long time. It translated to a smoother bench and overhead press, with all downward pressure through my body nicely accounted for and absorbed. Parts of the frame are made from high quality carbon fibre, which is perhaps excessive, but feels quite cool, and the PU leather and high-density sponge keep you stable and snug.
It’s probably the most comfortable bench I tried out when making this list.
Yoleo have used a nifty triangular design to the structure, building with a hefty steel body underpinning that carbon fibre that is reinforced with a support tube.
This all sounds fantastic. However, all of this engineering only gives the bench a top weight of about 150kg, which is pretty low. I didn’t test it out with heavy weights, and it may well be that Yoleo are playing it safe, and the bench can actually take a lot more (I got this impression) … but it’s not amazing. I got some good chest press sets in with a set of 26kg dumbbells for reps, but a bench should be able to take far more.
I like Yoleo’s Adjustable Weight Bench. There is a lot going for it, and it is a genuine pleasure to use. It just falls down a little for those looking to go heavy.back to menu ↑
JX Fitness Weight Bench
Their adjustable weight bench is true to form – it’s decent. You get five adjustable positions, putting it somewhere in the middle of this list for variability. You can attach it to squat and power racks for a bit of extra utility, though I didn’t try this feature out. It also comes with an extra set of resistance bands so that you can bring some accommodating resistance into your training.
The construction feels pretty formidable, too. It is heavy duty, with the body being made from solid, long-lasting tubes for stability and longevity. The bench itself is well padded with high-density foam.
It folds down well and has built-in wheels, ticking that box – it very definitely deserves its place in this list!
The top weight is about average for this list, too, at around 200kg (they list it in old money, at 440lb). As ever, I have my own gripe about this, but it’s good for most people, for most purposes, and is perfectly acceptable given we are looking at folding benches.
I like the padding. It’s high density foam, much like you get with many of the other items on this list. After Yoleo’s offering, in fact, this has got to be the most comfortable, most supported I’ve felt when trying out folding weight benches. The feet are also completely static, with no slip going on at all, meaning you can really get some work in without worrying or feeling uncomfortable.back to menu ↑
Summit Bench Press
Summit’s bench comes with six adjustable positions, putting it on par with many gym benches and hitting the higher end of this list. These also go down to a decent decline, which has been slightly lacking in the products I have been looking at – this makes it perfect for decline chest presses and certain core exercises.
The sponge padded seats are good-quality leather, making you feel like you just lay down on a fancy pair of brogues, and the steel Summit they have used for the main structure is quite obviously high-quality. There is no wiggle room, here – no faults at all. Everything feels well cared for.
The adjustment ladders are enclosed within the structure itself, as is common enough. Summit make a point of this, telling us that it’s for safety. This is probably true – there will be fewer chances to pinch your fingers with it. However, as above, I always prefer a ladder. They feel firmer (and somehow butcher, which doesn’t matter… but sort of does).
The matt black finish is also high-quality, slightly better than some of the others on this list. I don’t particularly care about this – I like my living room furniture to look nice, my gym gear to be functional and little more. However, given it will mostly be used at home, Summit have done a really good job here.
It features in-built wheels and a fairly standard set of dimensions at 137cm x 42cm x 18cm upright (150cm x 45cm x 18cm packed away). The whole thing weighs 28kg and can take a maximum load of 200kg.
This is all fantastic. I personally don’t know that it’s worth the price, as you can get the same kind of utility from far more reasonable models, but this is mainly because I don’t place too much value on the areas at which Summit’s offering excels. It is luxury, well-made, well-executed, and it makes you feel cared for.
If this is your cup of tea, then this is the bench for you.back to menu ↑
VitalGym Bench Press 2.0
Let’s carry on with the pricey options and round out this list with a bit of high-end goodness. This time, it comes in the form of the VitalGym Bench Press 2.0, an adjustable bench with six different incline positions.
It’s easily adjusted and features a bit of a decline, which is an automatic thumbs up from me. As ever, this brings you a few more training options than a flat or incline position, letting you hit different muscles from different angles.
The bench itself is also super light, at only 13.7kg – the same weight as a medium sized dog! This means that you can fold it down, tuck it under your arm and put it away with absolutely no fuss!
It nevertheless delivers a 150kg upper weight limit, which is standard and fine, but which I’ve made my thoughts clear on, and makes you feel safe and secure when you’re using it.
The soft PU leather is comfortable and smooth, with decent padding. In fact, everything here seems to have been designed with comfort in mind. If you like a little luxury as you sweat, benches like this will be perfect for you.
It’s expensive for what it is, and there is no getting around it. Again, it may be because the extra money is spent on things I don’t really care about, so if you want a well-made, lovely feeling bench, then don’t be dissuaded. You will love the VitalGym Bench Press 2.0 and will get a lot of utility from it. And it really is good – six levels, including a decline, and an all-in weight of 13kg is impressive.