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5 Best Calf Raise Machines of 2021 + Complete Buying Guide to Help You Choose!

5 Best Calf Raise Machines of 2021 + Complete Buying Guide to Help You Choose!

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You’ve skipped leg day long enough and now it’s time to make those gains. But it’s so hard to add mass on the calves, am I right?

You’ll find building your calves so much easier when you have the right tools. Whether you love or hate training your calves, add a calf raise machine to your home gym and you’ll have no excuses.

5 Best Calf Raise Machines

We looked at dozens of models before picking our top 5 calf raise machines of 2021. Once we’d done all the heavy lifting, we chose the Body-Solid GSCR349 Seated Calf Raise Machine as the best calf raise machine of 2021.

Whether you want to round out that physique for your next bodybuilding competition, improve your running speed and stamina, or finally land that box jump you’ve been working on for weeks, the right calf machine for you is on this list. What’s more, we’ve provided a useful buying guide to help you purchase the perfect calf machine for you.

1. Body-Solid GSCR349 Seated Calf Raise Machine – Best Overall Seated Calf Raise Machine

Body-Solid GSCR349

The Body-Solid GSCR349 takes our top spot as the best calf machine because it’s functional, sturdy, and comes in at a great price point. It’s easy to assemble at home and  being made from robust 11-gauge steel, it feels durable and solid, even when loaded with weight.

It apparently has a load capacity of 300lbs which was fine for us, but that might be a little light for others. It’s useful that it takes both standard and Olympic plates, but we were disappointed that an adapter sleeve for our Olympic weight needed to be purchased separately.

The machine has a 3:1 weighted ratio, meaning any loaded weight will feel three times heavier. We found, even with intense calf workouts the machine moved smoothly without friction thanks to pillow block bearings.

The thigh pads are height adjustable and, along with the seat, are thickly padded for comfort and support. Long calf workouts were doable without feeling too much pressure in the thighs and lower back.

We found the curved foot support provides good support by taking the pressure off the balls of the feet. Plus, the non-slip surface allows for a full range of motion for deep muscle penetration. However, the fixed design of the foot platform might not work for everyone, who may find they don’t suit their body position.

What I Liked

  • Allows for a greater range of motion resulting in greater contraction
  • The rounded footrest provides comfort and plenty of grip
  • Takes both Olympic and standard plates
  • Durable steel frame that’s easy to construct
  • Lifetime warranty against defects

What I Didn’t Like

  • Olympic plate holders need to be purchased separately
  • No load capacity is listed – 300lb was found in the Q&A section

2. XMark XM-7613 Seated Calf Raise Machine – Best Seated Calf Raise Machine for Beginners

XMark 11-Gauge Seated Calf Raise

Thanks to a smart design and simple method for training calves effectively, the XMark XMark XM-7613 calf raise machine is a good choice for beginners and seasoned weight lifters alike.

We loved that the calf machine is already compatible with Olympic weights meaning that you don’t need to pay an extra expense for adaptors. If we have a criticism, the Olympic bars are a bit long, but that does mean you can add quite a lot of weight. Plus, we found that our spring clamps wouldn’t clamp onto the bars, but that shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re lifting super heavy loads.

The 3-inch thick padding gives a decent level of comfort unless you’re lifting very heavy weights, where you might feel a little discomfort like we did. The thigh pads are height-adjustable and swivel, so they rotate as you exercise, giving a good range of motion.

The foot supports don’t provide the same level of comfort as those of the Body-Solid machine – after a long workout there was pressure on the soles of our feet – but they’re rubber-coated, for maximum grip.

What I Liked

  • Compatible with Olympic weights
  • Offers good value-for-money
  • Height adjustable thigh pads
  • Quick and simple installation

What I Didn’t Like

  • Pads provide limited support when lifting large loads
  • Spring clamps struggle to ‘clamp’ on to the Olympic bar adaptors

3. TDS Leverage Calf and Squat Machine – Best Standing Calf Raise Machine

XMark 11-Gauge Seated Calf Raise

Compared to some of the other machines on this list the TDS Leverage Calf and Squat Machine was the hardest to assemble thanks to poor instructions. However, it feels sturdy and durable, with the frame and platform made of heavy-duty steel.

We appreciated that the machine is compatible with both standard and Olympic plates, and adapters are included at no extra cost. Plus, the pads are height adjustable, meaning the standing calf machine can accommodate users up to 6’6” tall. 

You’re not limited to just calf raise exercises with this machine, it can also be used for shoulders shrugs, squats, single-leg squats, and more for a full-body workout. 

It’s claimed the TDS Leverage and Squat Machine can handle loads of up to 1000 lbs, but some users have complained that the weight horns are too short for that much weight. A complaint we had was that the plates tended to slip a little on the bar, even with locks tightly in place. It wasn’t too big of an issue, but it may be with lots of weight on the bar.

What I Liked

  • Can accommodate heights up to 6’6”
  • Compatible with Olympic and standard weights
  • It can also be used for squats and shoulder shrugs
  • Sturdy construction

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not the easiest machine to assemble
  • Plates can slip on the bar


4. Soozier Adjustable Seated Calf Raise Machine – Best Budget Calf Raise Machine

Soozier Adjustable Steel Seated Raise Exercise Strength Training Gym Equipment

The Soozier Seated Calf Raise Machine is a good choice if you have a more limited budget for your home gym. But, for the budget price, you do sacrifice the weight it can hold, with a capacity of just 440 lbs. 

We used it comfortably with 80 lb on each bar, but some other users have found the machine struggles closer to the maximum load. It was an added bonus that spring clips were included, and they worked well in holding our weights on the bar with minimal sliding.

It’s easy to use with the foot brace designed to eliminate stress compression on the ball of the foot. Even after several sets, we felt minimal tension through the arch and ball of our feet. 

Thick and durable padding makes the seat comfortable but we felt the padding on the adjustable thigh pads could have been better. After a few sets, we found ourselves shifting around quite a bit to get into a more comfortable position. If the seat was adjustable too, this would have been easier, plus it would have accommodated my shorter height a bit better.

What I Liked

  • Supports Olympic weights
  • Adjustable knee pad height
  • Smart foot platform design
  • Easy to assemble


What I Didn’t Like

  • Doesn’t support as much weight as some other machines
  • More robust machines are available


5. Power Systems Premium Slant Board – Best Calf Machine for Strength and Flexibility

power systems adjustable premium slant board


While not technically a calf raise machine, we included the Power Systems Adjustable Slant Board as it’s good for adding strength and flexibility to your calves. Plus, you can use it to stretch and exercise your calves if you’re recovering from an injury or suffering from sore, tight muscles.

If you’re less about building mass and more about training your calves for endurance and speed – such as for football, running, basketball, and more – a slant board is a good choice. 

We liked that you can adjust the angles to suit your own ability and increase it as your flexibility and strength improve. The stretching aspect of the board felt particularly good after using some of the other calf raise machines on this list. So, even if you don’t use the board for calf exercises, it will be a great aid to your recovery.

The steel construction felt durable and supportive, and we experienced no issues with the grip, although some users needed to add grip tape to feel stable.

What I Liked

  • Useful if you don’t have room for a calf machine
  • Good for improving flexibility
  • Builds strength in the calves and shins

What I Didn’t Like

  • You may need some extra grip
  • The angle can be extreme if your flexibility is poor

What We Looked For in the Best Calf Raise Machines

As fitness junkies and regular visitors to our own home gyms, we know that adding to your home equipment usually involves a significant expense, so you want to get it right. Plus, as building calf muscle is so difficult, you don’t want to end up with a machine that doesn’t deliver those gains.

For our reviews, we wanted to make sure we went with calf machines that are functional and durable, including models that suited a wide range of budgets. We also looked for models that would suit a wide range of abilities from the novice lifters to your Arnold Schwarzenegger types.

Each calf raise machine had to meet the following criteria:

  • Safe and easy to use
  • Robust constriction
  • Good range of motion for optimum results
  • Suitable for all abilities and body types
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good value in terms of construction and function

What To Look For in a Good Calf Raise Machine

The Body-Solid GSCR349 Calf Raise Machine took our top spot as it met our criteria and scored highly in several key categories. Here are the factors to look out for when choosing a calf raise machine.

Seated or Standing Calf Raise Machine

Seated calf raise machines are probably better for calf training beginners. They are easy to use and reduce the amount of strain put on your core and back. While, you won’t have as much control over your range of movement, seated machines do tend to be cheaper and take up less space.

Standing calf raise machines are usually larger and more expensive than the seated version, but they do tend to provide longer ranges of motion. This allows for more optimal training since longer movements produce better muscle growth. They are probably better for the more experienced as they do put much more strain on the back.

Range of Motion

A long range of motion that includes stretching and engagement of the tendons is key for maximizing strength and muscle growth. Steer clear of machines that inhibit your range of motion, as your results will be minimized and they may cause unnecessary strain on your knees and ankles.

Weight Capacity

If you’re looking to make gains, the amount of weight you need to lift is usually more than you can squat. Manufacturers will let you know what their machines can safely hold. Anything over 300 lbs is good for a seated machine and anything over 500 lbs is about right for a standing calf raise machine.


Poor padding that causes excess stress on the knees can not only make calf raises painful but also can lead to injury. You don’t want a machine that causes excessive knee bending or jarring of the knees, as this will cause wear on the joints.

Bad pad design can also be a problem with standing machines, resulting in heavy metal supports resting across the shoulders, which will quickly become painful when repping with a lot of weight.

Insufficient padding was an issue we came across during the testing process, and in some cases, it made calf raises with even the smallest amount of weight unbearable. 

Wrapping Up

With a quality calf raise machine, you can build the strength and mass of your calves at home. Look for machines with range of motion, decent weight capacity, and a good level of comfort. You’ll find them all in our top calf raise machine, the Body-Solid GSCR349 Seated Calf Raise Machine.