More popular than ever, working out at home is a convenient and affordable alternative when you can’t make it to the gym.
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To avoid paying a monthly membership fee, consider creating a workout space in your home. With little cost after the initial investment in equipment, you’ll be able to eliminate that monthly expenditure from your list of bills.
Home gyms not only save money, but they can save you time too. The convenience of waking up and walking downstairs to exercise is a major perk. The only drawback is you won’t be able to find an excuse to skip a workout.
Deciding what equipment to include in your home gym can be confusing. Think of your space, workout goals, and safety when sifting through the many options available. Keep reading to learn about what to consider when selecting some of the best home gym equipment, how to set it up properly, and to learn more about our top recommendations:
- BEST OVERALL: Bowflex Home Gym Series (Xceed)
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Synergee Dual Sided Use Core Sliders
- BEST TREADMILL: NordicTrack T Series Treadmill (6.5S)
- BEST STATIONARY BIKE: Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
- BEST DUMBELLS: ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbell 27.5 lbs. Weights
- BEST RESISTANCE BANDS: Fitness Insanity Resistance Bands Set
- BEST TRAINING STRAPS: TRX GO Suspension Training Kit
- BEST JUMP ROPE: Sonic Boom M2 High Speed Jump Rope
- BEST PULL UP BAR: Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Gym Equipment
One way to create a home gym is to start small and build it out over time. Fitness enthusiasts can still get a great workout with very little equipment. If you’re not ready to invest in a multi-use or cardio machine, consider streaming online exercises and using free weights, training straps, or resistance bands. From big to small and splurges to steals, you’ll want to keep in mind the following factors when shopping for and using the best home gym equipment:
The first thing to consider before purchasing workout gear is how you plan to use it. If when trying to supplement days at the gym, you may just need a few key items to achieve your workout goals.
- If your goal is to get a daily cardio workout, think of machines like a treadmill or an exercise bike. If you really like to push the limits, make sure those machines come with a variety of programs and resistance or uphill options.
- If you don’t have the budget or the space for large equipment, pair a jump rope with a mat for squats and lunges to get your heart pumping.
- For strength training, focus on weights and resistance bands to use solo or follow along with an online program.
The one requirement of a home gym is that you have somewhere to put it. Get creative when thinking about where it might fit; consider giving a second life to an unused garage or an unfinished basement. If your only space is the corner of your bedroom, you still have options—you may just have to get a little more inventive.
There are equipment choices for mostly every size space, but plan accordingly. According to the American Council on Exercise, a multi-station gym needs 50 to 200 square feet, treadmills necessitate about 30 square feet, and free weights require 20 to 50 square feet of space for proper use.
In a more compact area, focus on smaller equipment like weights and bands, and choose machines that will fold up or tuck away easily. For larger spaces, consider multi-use or cardio machines that will offer a real gym experience. See below for more on how to properly set up your home gym.
When shopping for equipment, take note of each item’s safety features. For instance, treadmills will usually include an emergency shut-off key that you can clip to your clothing. This way, if you should fall, it automatically turns off the machine.
For weights and other handheld equipment, a textured safety grip will help prevent slipping. With doorway equipment, the mounting hardware should be heavy-duty and able to hold plenty of weight. When anchoring straps, look for ones that lock when looped to prevent them from slipping off, and make sure those bands and straps are sturdy enough to avoid snapping or tearing.
Intense routines will make you sweat, so it’s important to have proper ventilation, ideally with air conditioning. A ceiling fan can help with air circulation.
There are endless workout accessories available, so consider your needs and desires when shopping for smaller items. Here, think again about your local gym where you may find towels to wipe sweat as your workout heats up, a good water bottle to help you stay hydrated, and mats to offer padding for stretching and other floor activities.
As you grow your home gym, there are some accessories that will amp up your workout. These include resistance bands, stability balls, medicine balls, kettlebells, jump ropes, and foam rollers. These items are also worth considering if you have limited space, as they can easily be stored away.
And don’t forget your technology, like music players and other items for entertainment while working out, as well as pedometers and heart rate monitors to track your stats.
Our Top Picks
Whether shopping for larger exercise machines or key workout accessories, this guide showcases some of the best home gym equipment for most budgets and setup.
Unique to Bowflex, the company’s Power Rod system features a resistance of up to 210 pounds, with the option to upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds. Top and chest level pulleys and a lat bar provide tools for an upper-body workout. A seated leg press featuring detachable upholstered roller cushions and a squat bar accommodate leg and lower-body exercises. The quick-release seat is adjustable with a thick polyurethane high-density foam cushion and the handles feature rubberized grips for comfort and safety.
With a fairly compact footprint, the Xceed measures 53 inches long by 49 inches wide and 82 inches high. Though this home gym is an investment, it still comes in lower than many competitors.
Sliders are a compact gym accessory used to amp up exercises like lunges, planks, and bridges by adding balance and stability challenges that force you to engage your core muscles. Each disc is 7 inches in diameter and is accompanied by a manual featuring five different exercises to try with them.
The sliders include two sides for different surfaces—a foam side for hard, smooth surfaces like hardwood floors and a plastic side for softer surfaces, like carpet or turf. For safety, start slow as you get used to the feel of your sliders underfoot.
Well-suited for those looking for a cardio challenge, this NordicTrack treadmill comes with a one month trial period with the iFit app, which includes thousands of at-home workouts that can be streamed to your device and synced with your machine. If you choose the app’s personal coaching option, a trainer can control your treadmill to match the duration, speed, and incline of your workout. A safety key allows for a quick shut off in case of a fall or other emergency.
One-touch controls eliminate scrolling by, allowing you to tap a number for easy adjustment of speed and incline. If space is of concern, an easy lift assist allows you to fold the base upright when not in use. When lifted, the machine measures 38 inches long by 36 inches wide and 54 inches high.
Featuring a semi-recumbent, or slightly reclined design, this option includes comfort and safety features such as a large seat cushion and backrest, and an easy mount and dismount experience. A precision-balanced flywheel—the weighted metal disk in place of a wheel—also facilitates a smooth and safe ride. If you’re focused on improving heart health, hand-pulse sensors on the handlebars can help target your heart rate zone.
Find your desired difficulty with an 8-level magnetic tension control system and track distance ridden, calories burned, time, speed, and pulse on an LCD (liquid crystal display). The Exerpeutic 400 XL has a 300-pound weight capacity.
Instead of a set of dumbbells, this option allows the user to change weights by using a push and slide mechanism. For safety, the company warns not to adjust the dumbbell weight unless it is securely housed in the tray provided. For comfort, while lifting, the handle is contoured with a soft textured grip.
If you like to work out with a weight in each hand, order two of these. This adjustable dumbbell sells at a higher price point than others, but its compact design will save plenty of storage space when compared to other weight sets.
These five bands have increasing resistance levels and can offer a full-body workout at an affordable cost. You can use them with a variety of exercises, 45 of which are featured on an included workout poster. For a safe routine, make sure to practice proper form and slowly graduate to a band with greater resistance. Large metal ring clips allow you to switch between the two foam handles easily, and strong rubber bands offer additional safety by preventing snapping.
You don’t need to drill into your wall to mount the bands. A door anchor holds them up during your workout, and they can also be easily stored away in the included carrying bag or gym storage containers.
Unlike resistance bands, suspension training will help you exercise large muscle groups while resistance training targets more specific areas. These bands can be anchored to a door, a rafter, a beam, a tree, a pole, or a post at a single anchor point with one of the two anchoring solutions (included). A locking loop provides an added safety feature to prevent slipping after you secure the strap around your anchor point.
Integrated handles and foot cradles aim at providing a comfortable workout for both standing and floor-based exercises. For those new to suspension training, the set includes a 35-page workout guide, a poster with posture suggestions, and six months free to the TRX app that offers over 1,000 workouts. Weighing only 1 pound, you can take it with you or easily store it away after your exercises.
Another option for small spaces, this jump rope can be used for a great warm-up or a full workout. The ball bearing system offers a 360-degree rotation, while the polymer-coated cables provide speed and durability. The price is higher than some, but this version includes features made for fitness enthusiasts (not the neighborhood kids).
A patent-pending, self-locking, screw-free design allows you to adjust the cable’s length to suit your needs, with any excess stored inside the handles. No-slip silicone grips aim at providing comfort and slip-free safety.
For an upper-body workout without weights, this pull-up bar is an affordable, compact alternative. The bar has nonslip extra-long foam grips that are aimed at comfort while carrying out exercises.
The bar can be installed with the included hardware, which consists of three sets of screw-in door mounts that can be used at different places or heights. The adjustable bar can fit stable wood doorways from 26 to 39 inches wide. Always secure your bar to the doorframe with the provided bracket set and screws for a safe installation. After mounting, make sure to pull on it to ensure it’s fully tightened before doing your exercises.
Tips for Setting Up and Using Your Home Gym Equipment
Whether you have a basement to fill or a bedroom corner, you’ll want to set up your gym to maximize space and safety. Proper storage, such as bins and boxes, will help keep smaller items like straps and bands out of the way and avoid tripping hazards. Other safety considerations include ample lighting, the right cleaning supplies, and proper spacing between equipment (as outlined above). Also, choose a sturdy spot to hang straps and bands if you plan to use those in your workout. Other considerations are proper flooring that can hold up to heavy equipment or sweat and a place for entertainment items such as televisions, tablets, and music players.
For safety purposes, make sure to talk to a health care professional before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have preexisting health conditions. It’s also important to take precautions at home, as you would at the gym, such as wearing the proper shoes and avoiding loose clothing that could become stuck in equipment.
Don’t forget to clean up your space after a workout by wiping down equipment to prevent bacteria growth, as well as putting away loose gear to avoid tripping hazards. Also, keep kids away from heavy weights and machinery, especially unsupervised.
For at-home strength training and to challenge yourself with heavy weights, it’s crucial to have a spotter to support you if you tire out. Start slowly as you get to know your equipment to avoid strains and injuries.
- Clear clutter from your workout space.
- Use storage solutions for loose gear and other accessories.
- Make sure you space your equipment out correctly.
- Ensure proper ventilation and temperature control.
- Have disinfectant wipes on hand.
- Consider mats or foam tiles to protect the floors.
- Create a media station for your tech items.
- Use a spotter or skip the super heavy weights.
- Talk to your doctor about your exercise routine before beginning.
FAQs About Home Gym Equipment
If you’re wondering if home workouts will live up to your hopes or how to keep your equipment safe and clean, read on to find out the answers.
Q. Are home workouts effective?
Home workouts can be just as effective as exercising at the gym, as long as you have the right equipment and a commitment to using it.
Q. How can I be sure my home gym equipment is safe?
Ensure your equipment is safe by following the user guidelines and taking your own safety precautions while working out.
Q. How can you keep home gym equipment clean?
Make sure to unplug machines before cleaning, then wipe down each item’s entire surface with disinfectant wipes.