I’ve always been a big fan of affordable home gym equipment of decent quality, more so now that prices have jumped up a bunch.
My latest product-testing adventure — inexpensive weight benches — took me to the Big City, where I tried out the popular Fitness Gear Pro utility bench at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Bottom line…Is this bench worth it? The Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench is a good choice for someone who doesn’t need the build quality & sturdiness level of more expensive models, and is just looking for a decent, low-priced, adjustable weight bench.
But if you intend to lift heavier weights (especially dumbbells), I believe there may be better options available that are still in the budget-friendly price range.
In this blog post I’ll provide a detailed review of the Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench, go over all of its key features, weigh its pros & cons, & give you my unfiltered opinion of it.
I’ll also look at alternative options to see how this Fitness Gear Pro bench compares to its competitors in the inexpensive adjustable bench category.
Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench Review
Is Fitness Gear a good brand?
The Fitness Gear brand makes a wide variety of sports equipment products, & all the ones I handled shared these traits:
- reasonably priced, given their level of quality;
- not top-of-the-line;
- leaned more towards no-frills economy models.
Currently I see 108 different products spread across over 35 categories. Everything from weight benches, free weights, power racks & dumbbells to exercise flooring, treadmill mats, protein shake bottles & “a whole lot more”.
One important thing that this diverse group of products have in common is this: Dick’s Sporting Goods is the only authorized retailer of Fitness Gear sports equipment.
You may see a Fitness Gear product or two for sale on Amazon from time to time, including this Pro utility bench.
Look closely at the listing & you’ll see that it was put there by a third-party reseller.
And if you compare prices between Dick’s Sporting Goods & whoever’s selling it on Amazon, the Amazon price will be higher.
About the Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench
Typical lightweight adjustable bench: At 45 lb., this model fits the profile of an inexpensive FID (Flat-Incline-Decline) utility bench, quite suitable for performing all of the typical exercises an adjustable weight bench is designed for.
In case you didn’t know, utility is generally used to describe a weight bench that’s movable since it isn’t welded to other steel parts, like an Olympic bench designed for heavy bench presses.
Assembly: The Fitness Gear bench I played around with was a floor model in the store, so I didn’t assemble it myself.
But the assembly instructions I saw told me that this is real easy to put together. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver, a 14-17mm box wrench, & about 5-10 minutes.
Max weight capacity: Dick’s/Fitness Gear list the bench’s total weight capacity of 600 lb. as “300 lb. User Weight / 300 lb. Additional Loaded Weight“.
I’ll get into this more in a sec, but for now I’ll say that I think this bench would perform best for someone who is not going near that 600 lb. capacity limit.
Summary: An affordable & portable adjustable utility bench that’s easy for anyone to assemble & use, making it a good option for someone doing light to moderate weightlifting at home.
Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench: Features & Benefits
Here are the main features & benefits of the Fitness Gear Pro:
- Easy Adjustability
- Easy To Move
- Modest Footprint
- Plenty Of Capacity
Not all adjustable benches are easy to adjust, believe it or not. But this Fitness Gear bench has well-designed adjustment features that are smooth & simple to use.
And not all adjustment benches offer you the same variety of adjustment angles.
Despite being a low-priced bench, the Fitness Gear Pro does a pretty good job & provides most of the adjustment angles preferred by recreational weightlifters.
Effective weightlifting workouts require focus, and so farting around with wonky equipment is not an acceptable option. Here’s an example:
In one of the 5×5 workout routines I cooked up for myself I’ll perform dumbbell supersets, where 2 different exercises done back-to-back without rest in between equals 1 superset.
These two exercises are almost always working different muscle groups: chest paired with back, triceps with biceps, etc.
This approach involves me switching the angles on my adjustable bench quickly without hassle, & good benches provide that without fail.
The Fitness Gear Pro utility bench tested very well in this regard.
It uses spring-loaded pins with their locking mechanisms, and when I tested them out they didn’t stick at all. And they sat fully engaged quickly without any monkeying around needed.
This bench provides 8 backrest angles (7 pinned & the no-pin decline) & 3 angles for the seat (flat & 2 inclined).
Here’s a closeup look at the Fitness Gear bench adjustment setup:
Easy To Move
The Fitness Gear Pro utility bench is easy to move, & portability is an important feature for many of us when it comes to fitness equipment.
For some people, a workout bench needs to be moved during the workout or off somewhere once the workout is over, without issue.
At 45 lb., this Fitness Gear bench is light enough for most people to lift one end of it off the ground.
And that’s easy enough, since there’s a handle attached to one end of the frame:
Another helpful portability feature is that the bench has a couple of wheels down at the other end of the frame.
Once you raise the handle a few feet off the ground, these wheels will engage the floor & you are ready to roll.
Adjustable utility benches like this Fitness Gear Pro require much less floor space than Olympic & Westside-style benches.
The listed dimensions for this model are 53″ long x 24″ wide x 18″ high, meaning that the bench itself needs a 4 1/2 feet x 2 feet area, & stands a foot and a half tall.
Compare that space requirement to an equally inexpensive Olympic bench, the well-regarded Marcy MD-857 whose dimensions are 80″ x 47″ x 61″.
4.5 feet x 2 feet vs. 6.5 feet x 4 feet (& 5 feet tall). That’s 9 square feet of space used by the Fitness Gear bench vs. 26 needed for Marcy’s Olympic bench.
Plenty Of Capacity
At 600 lb., the max capacity offered by this Fitness Gear bench should be more than enough for most people.
The majority of people who work out at home would find that this bench is plenty strong to support them & the weight they intend to lift.
Fitness Gear splits up this 600 lb. into “300 lb. user weight, 300 lb. additional loaded weight”.
This capacity breakdown tells me that this bench is an option for most beginners too, as long as they’re well under** the user weight limit & not strong enough to bench 300 lb.
well under** – To insure safety when lifting weights, it’s a very good idea to stay below the bench’s capacity limits by as many pounds as you can. After all, most manufacturers are just guessing…
This Pro Utility model works well for someone into casual weightlifting a few times a week who’s looking for an easy-to-use adjustable bench that they can perform a variety of dumbbell exercises with.
It’s also a good choice if you’re using a barbell along with a rack or squat stand and you intend to bench press light to moderate weight.
It provides above-average value considering how cheap it is. The Fitness Gear Pro utility bench currently costs in the neighborhood of $200.
This price tag definitely puts it in the cheap adjustable bench category, and near the edge of where decent quality & long-term durability no longer exist.
Amazon, Walmart, & other mass retailers have dozens & dozens of cheap, poorly-made knockoff adjustable benches for sale.
But a model from around $150 on down has poorly-designed features & tends to break down much sooner than you’d want it to (though the cheap-but-durable Flybird FB149 is a notable exception).
Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench: Pros & Cons
I think this cheap adjustable bench has more positives than negatives, & the fact that its owners as a whole rate it as a good product affirms that.
However, it has had a few problems crop up with a small number of purchasers, & I have an issue or two myself. I’ll give it a “Good for some, but not great for all” rating.
A helpful positive is the fact that this bench is lightweight, has a nice wheels + handle setup, & isn’t bulky.
All this lends itself to a very portable utility bench which would be a benefit in many living situations.
What makes the Fitness Gear Pro adjustable bench good in my mind is that even though it’s a budget-friendly product, it still has thoughtful design. As mentioned before, the adjustment mechanisms work very smoothly & the backrest & seat angles provided are more than adequate for most people.
Earlier I discouraged real strong lifters & real heavy people from considering this bench.
That’s because while trying this bench out at the store I got the impression that a heavy uneven load to one side of the bench might have the potential to tip it over.
I’m talking about a 250+ pound person leaning over to set down or pick up a heavy dumbbell, like a 75.
Using this bench with a barbell in a rack there wasn’t any lean or wobble at all for me (I weigh 180).
A very small percentage of buyers opened the box to discover a defective part that flaws the usefulness of the bench.
Sure they can take it back/ship it back to the store in order to get a replacement, but that’s still inconvenience piling on top of disappointment.
Another thing to point out is that the Fitness Gear Pro bench doesn’t fold down like many benches in its price range do, mine included. (I’ll talk about mine down in the Alternatives section.)
So while it’s easy to move around, the Fitness Gear bench can’t be folded up & stashed against a wall.
I noticed one last minor quibble I want to mention, even though it wouldn’t bug me if I bought the bench.
It’s that the decline setting on the Fitness Gear utility bench isn’t as low of a decline as you’ll find on most other similarly-priced adjustable benches.
Bottom Line: I consider this a good bench option for some people (among the other choices I discuss down in the Alternatives section): light lifters, beginners, & people weighing less than 250 lb. or so.
- Inexpensive but still has good functional features
- Lightweight & portable
- Easy & smooth angle adjustability
- Heavy uneven load may cause balance issues
- Small percentage of buyers received defective parts
- Doesn’t fold up like other models in its price range
What do customers have to say about the Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench?
The majority of owner feedback at Dick’s has been good to very good — I see that 86% of the Fitness Gear Pro bench’s verified buyers gave it 5 or 4 stars.
The star ratings for Overall / Value / Quality are 4.3, 4.3, & 4.2, respectively.
So there are many more positive comments about this bench than negative ones, with happy owners praising its sturdiness, easiness to adjust bench angles, & value for its price.
Not too many complaints to pass along. But if there was one theme mentioned more than others it had to do with a factory quality control issue of some kind:
- a screw machined poorly;
- a bench pad with torn leather;
- a bent frame right out of the box.
My thoughts: A handful of complaints out of hundreds of units sold is not a surprise. Most of the fitness products sold here in the US are made in China, Rogue Fitness gear being the obvious exception. Years of combing over & trying out home gym equipment have taught me that quality control varies widely with imported low-priced workout products.
Best Alternatives to the Fitness Gear Pro Bench
Here are three competing adjustable utility benches for you to consider if you’re not sold on the Fitness Gear bench. I’ve sat in them all & even own one of them.
All of these benches are considered well above average for their respective price points in this inexpensive adjustable weight bench category (under $400).
Currently the Flybird model is 25% cheaper than the Dick’s model, the Marcy bench has the same price, & the Rep AB-3100 is around 100 bucks more.
Very inexpensive adjustable bench from Flybird that lists a 700 lb. capacity, though I wouldn’t test that if I were you.
This a great choice if you don’t lift real heavy and just want a lightweight bench that folds down quickly & is light enough to easily stash it somewhere.
This FB149 has over 25,000 online buyer reviews at a 4.7/5 rating.
Comparing it to the Fitness Gear bench:
- the Flybird FB149 costs less & weighs less, but its sturdiness feels about the same when I had a pair of 50 lb. dumbbells in hand.
- Nice & stable doing presses with a barbell.
- Folds almost flat, while the Fitness Gear doesn’t fold.
- Both this & the Fitness Gear bench are light enough to wobble or lean if there’s an uneven heavy load to one side, like when working with dumbbells above 65 lb. or so.
- But when working with lighter dumbbells or with a barbell in a Smith machine or rack there weren’t any balance issues with this Flybird.
- has higher buyer ratings 4.7 vs. 4.3, & a lot more of them.
It lists for $240 but I’ve seen it offered for $90-$100 less than that. You might want to take a peek at the price on the Flybird Fitness website if you’re interested in buying this. They run sales often where their prices are cheaper than Amazon’s, like the one in the coupon below.
I’ve owned this Marcy SB-670 bench for several years, using it multiple times per week, and it performs flawlessly to this day.
No rips in the bench’s upholstery after hundreds of workouts on it either…lookin’ good:
The backrest has 5 slot settings from flat to 85-90 degrees, & a nice deep decline position when you release the brace & lower the backrest to the frame.
The seat has 3 positions and its highest incline setting is really good at keeping your butt in the chair during heavy presses.
Currently this Marcy bench is priced the same as the Fitness Gear Pro bench on Dick’s website, & is $20 more on Amazon.
Check its price on Dick’s — if you’re new to visiting them they may offer you a 1st time buyer discount coupon to lower the price even more.
Comparing it to the Fitness Gear bench, the Marcy SB-670:
- is more stable under heavier, uneven loads (e.g., lifting up or setting down a heavy dumbbell on one side while seated).
- is sturdier, thanks to heavier steel (55 lb. vs. 45 lb.) and a wider foot base (25″ vs. 17″).
- folds flat (well, almost flat…about 9-10″ high), while the Fitness Gear bench doesn’t fold.
- has a better (lower) decline position.
- has higher buyer ratings online, 4.5 vs. 4.3.
- has the same 600 lb. max capacity.
- costs about the same, less if the timing’s right.
This is the cheapest adjustable bench made by Rep Fitness, & it runs $70-$120 more than the Fitness Gear Pro bench.
To get a price this low Rep obviously cut a few corners compared to their powerlifting competition-ready benches.
But they incorporated a good amount of heavy-duty into this AB-3100. (BTW, it comes in a few colors if red’s not your thing.)
Comparing it to the Fitness Gear bench, the higher price tag buys you:
- 100 lb. more capacity (700 lb. vs. 600)
- a heavier, sturdier frame (75 lb. vs. 45)
- a better warranty (10Y vs. 2)
- higher buyer ratings (4.8 vs. 4.3)
NOTE: This model’s big brother — the Rep Fitness AB-3000 — provides even higher capacity (1000 lb.) if you want it. Only costs $30-$40 more too…
An Adjustable Utility Bench Buyer’s Guide
Summary: This section will highlight a few important factors you ought to consider when shopping for an adjustable bench.
An adjustable weightlifting bench is a great addition to a home workout area, since it offers a greater variety of upper body strength & weightlifting exercises compared to what we can do with a flat bench.
Two easy benefits we get from this are improved muscle definition & a long-term workout routine that never gets too repetitive & stale.
Obviously, adjustable benches are not all the same: price-wise, quality-wise, feature-wise.
Dialing in the factors in your specific situation makes choosing the right bench for you easier. Here’s a list of things to consider:
- How much weight capacity do you need
- How much are you willing to spend
- How much space your weightlifting area has
- What’s the floor footprint of any bench you’re looking at
- How portable do you need the bench to be
Other Home Gym Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to a few of the most common questions regarding an adjustable weight bench.
Is it worth getting an adjustable bench?
An adjustable bench is a worthwhile purchase if you work out at home & are looking to enhance your weightlifting program beyond the basic upper body exercises a flat bench provides.
What is a good brand of adjustable bench?
A top quality brand of home gym equipment, Rogue Fitness makes excellent heavy-duty adjustable utility benches. Flybird Fitness has lightweight yet sturdy benches if you’re looking for a cheap option.
How do you use an adjustable bench?
The versatility of an adjustable bench allows you to perform more exercises per muscle group than a flat bench offers. You can do multiple types of bench presses, biceps curls, triceps exercises, etc.
The Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench is an above-average product in the low-priced adjustable bench category.
It is lightweight & portable with all of the required features found in a true adjustable bench, making it a decent option for someone doing light to moderate weightlifting.
However, it does face stiff competition from a few other utility benches that offer either the same qualities for less money, or provide higher quality while staying affordable.