Single station strength equipment falls into two basic categories, selectorized and plate loaded. Equivalent strength machines will function almost exactly the same in terms of the exercise being performed and how effective it is. For example, a selectorized leg press and a plate loaded leg press will both offer you the same benefits and effectiveness. There are differences between both types of strength machines in terms of set-up and maintenance, and they each have their pros and cons.
Selectorized strength equipment are units that have one or more weight stacks, which are rectangular weight plates that are attached to the frame and utilizes a system of pulleys. Users can choose how much weight they wish to lift by inserting a key into the desired weight stack. All the weights above the inserted key will also be lifted and are secured by two rods that run through each of the weights. Adjusting weights on a selectorized machine is extremely simple and only takes a matter of seconds. This also makes it simple to find out your maximum strength on the fly. Many selectorized strength machines are designed so you can adjust the weights without even getting up and interrupting your workout. The major drawback of selectorized equipment is the weight limit. Most weight stacks tied to the machines cannot be upgraded so if a user has reached the maximum weight on this machine and can use it without much difficulty, they will have outgrown the machine.
Plate loaded strength machines require the use of conventional round plates, the same plates you find on barbells. These plates are hung on the machine and while they generally have limits, plate loaded machine maximum weights generally far exceed those of selectorized equipment. On the other end of the spectrum, plate loaded machines can also use far lighter weights than the minimum weights on selectorized machines. The downside of plate loaded strength machines is the effort it requires to change weights. Users have to get off the machines to change weights which may disrupt their routine. Even more so, users who wish to lift large amounts of weights may have to make multiple trips to carry all the weights to the machine. Also users tend to stay longer on each machine due to this, which may be an issue for a commercial gym. A positive aspect is that plate loaded strength equipment is usually much more cost effective than selectorized machines. Gym owners do not need to buy a set of weight plates for every single machine as opposed to selectorized machines where the owner has to pay for each weight stack on every machine.
In conclusion, both types of strength machines have their merits and downsides. In general, selectorized equipments should be favored for commercial gyms. They are far easier to use than plate loaded machines and will get users off the machine quicker which is vital for a successful gym. There is also less weights lying around as a hazard which will prevent injuries. For a home gym, a plate loaded machine is a good investment because it is cheaper. Also users can reuse the same weights they have on their barbells and further save more money by not having to buy more weights. Plate loaded and selectorized machines are both viable options depending on your situation, luckily Primo Fitness carries both!